Before and after: self-made cabinets kept costs down in this kitchen makeover

With a kitchen needing a complete overhaul and only a small budget to play with, the owners decided to get creative…

kitchen room with white wall and cabinet
(Image credit: TBC)

When the owners bought their house in 2014, the kitchen hadn't been updated for years, which suited them perfectly, as they wanted to start from scratch. "We needed to keep costs down, so we decided to do as much of our kitchen makeover as we could ourselves,' they say. 'We designed the layout and spent a week stripping the room, moving pipes and replastering.'

The couple wanted to build the units themselves, which was something they had never done before. 'We figured it was worth gambling the cost of the materials to build the first unit,' they say. 'And, luckily, it was a success.' The same was true for the concrete worktops - the owners learnt how to make them by watching videos on YouTube.


kitchen room with white wall and cabinets with shelf

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Wanting the kitchen to feel rustic, rather than polished, the couple chose a simple, classic look. Geometric floor tiles add a hit of pattern. The kitchen carcasses and doors were made from sheet MDF and oak. The pair then painted them in a deep grey and finished them off with antique brass door furniture that they found online.

kitchen room with white wall tiles and cooker with chimney

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

The worktops were made by pouring concrete into templates and coating it in a wax sealant once dry.

kitchen area with worktop and white wall tiles with cleaning cloth

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

The old shelving, made from old scaffold planks, provides an industrial touch.

kitchen area with white wall and shelves with fruits

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

There wasn't space for a dishwasher, so a double sink is a good idea for easy washing up.

kitchen area with white wall and sink with cabinets

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Grey grout on the white metro tiles creates a colour contrast and adds to the industrial-style feel.

kitchen area with white wall tiles and vegetable with bowls

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Iron rods around the edge give the brick tiling a neat finish.

kitchen area with white wall tiles and cabinets

(Image credit: future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

The project took five months, as the owners both work full-time. 'Cooking Christmas dinner in the microwave was a low point,' say the DIY duo, 'but overall we had fun doing the project together.' And they're thrilled with the results: 'It feels so much bigger,' they say. 'We love everything about it, especially as we did all the work ourselves.'

Shopping list

Cabinet paint, £55 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

Floor tiles, £44.95 per sq m, Walls and Floors

Worktop cement, £14.40 for 25kg, Travis Perkins

Shelves, £25 per m, Etsy

Cup handles, £6.85 each, Door Handle Company

Oven, £149, Indesit at

This kitchen originally appeared in Ideal Home, February 2017