Before and after: from dark and dated space to bright family friendly kitchen

Adding bursts of colour and removing a partition wall have created a fresh kitchen scheme that's perfect for a family of six

kitchen makeover from dark to bright designed
(Image credit: TBC)

'Previously, we lived in a four-bedroom Victorian house, but with the surprise addition of twins to our family, we realised that we would soon need more space,' says one of the owners. 'My husband and our two daughters saw the house the week I was in hospital, so my first viewing was via photos and video. We loved the beautiful garden and that it was large enough to give us the potential to extend.'

The house had been lived in and loved for many years by one elderly man, so it needed lots of work, including rewiring, renewing the plumbing and heating and replastering. The family moved in when the twins were six months and the downstairs was still a building site without a functioning kitchen. 'We decided to do this room on a budget because our plans to extend the house in future will eventually mean a new one,' say the owners. 'We were also mindful that we have a young family, so for the next four years, everything is quite likely to be ruined or damaged anyway.'

The existing kitchen space was very dark, so the couple removed the partition wall that separated it from the dining room and decided that a breakfast bar would work well to divide the two areas.

kitchen with white wall red cabinets and designed floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

Given the size of the kitchen, there weren't a huge number of design options, but the owners started by placing the sink so it overlooks the garden and it all slotted in around that. The kitchen was designed and bought at Ikea, but the couple splashed out on certain items, such as a Franke sinks and a Carron Phoenix tap, as they are used frequently and will probably move to a new kitchen in future.

kitchen with white window red and white counter and wash basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

The pair also spent extra money on hidden storage systems in the cupboards that allow easier access to items at the back. 'Our tall cupboard was inspired by one we saw in a holiday let,' they say. 'It's been one of our best buys, as it holds a huge amount of items in a really accessible way.'

kitchen cabinets with white sections red door and cups books glasses in it

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

The couple confess to having quite traditional tastes, but they saw the American diner-style red-gloss units in Ikea and thought they would suit their 1950s house.

kitchen with white tiles wall white and red cabinets and kitchen stove

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

'The striped floor was a brave move for us,' they admit, 'but once the units were in, we felt the room could take it and we've had many compliments. The stripes were useful to give us inspiration for other colours in the room like the bright blue chairs and touches of green.

dinning area with white wall white and red counter designed floor white table and blue chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

Now that the work is finished, the owners are really pleased with the kitchen, which is so much better than they expected, both in terms of practicality and looks. It took about 10 weeks from start to finish, which was quite an achievement considering the couple did most of the work themselves, while working full-time. 'We spent weeks with a microwave and a sink in the garage,' they say. 'When it was all done, we remember thinking how amazing it was simply to have a sink inside and somewhere clean to feed the kids.'

Get the look

Buy now: Ringhult doors, £45 each, Metod base cabinet with shelves, £54 each, Blankett cupboard handles, £3-12 each, Saljan worktops, £40 per m; and Utdrag extractor hood, £110, all Ikea

Buy now: Savona tap in brushed nickel, £230, Carron

Buy now: Mythos MTK 651 sink, £656, Franke

Buy now: Stripes flooring, £17 per sq m, Avenue Flooring

Buy now: Shard solar blinds, from £21.41, Lifestyle Blinds

Buy now: Ellie oval extending table, £459, and Senn chairs, £36 each, both Danetti

Buy now: Robin Day Polo bar stools, £106 each, Fusion Living

Buy now: Lascelles radio-controlled clock, £60, John Lewis

This kitchen originally appeared in Style at Home, March 2017