Kitchen makeover

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I LOVE a room makeover (and it seems you do, too, as they are always my most popular posts) and you will have probably caught on that I hate my kitchen, which is why it rarely features here or over on Instagram except for a few carefully captured frames in my most recent Urban Jungle Bloggers post, but that really is a rarity. Can you see where this is heading? Yes, I am beginning plans for a kitchen makeover, but my knack of transforming a space with very little money is going to be truly tested – in fact, I have no idea what sort of budget I will need for the changes I want to make.

I live in a new build flat so my problem isn’t that my kitchen is crumbling, tatty or functions poorly. It’s none of those things. In fact, I’m sure many people would love a brand new white kitchen and would think me very ungrateful indeed. However, I just can’t cope with how ‘un-me’ my kitchen is and how it lacks any character, which I have been able to add to the other rooms in my flat with furniture, textiles, art work etc. I loathe the door handles, which stick out like a sore thumb and the worktop is horrible laminate, which makes anything I put on the surfaces look miserable.

Ideally, I would want to change everything but for now I think smaller changes like new cupboard doors and worktop could drastically change the whole feel of the room. However, whenever I have these thoughts I am stopped in my tracks by not understanding how much changes like these will cost. I log onto kitchen websites and it all seems very unclear and the whole process seems to be shrouded in mystery unless you go to the showroom or invite a design consultant to your home for a quote, which never seems like an appropriate first step. For me, I want to know how much things cost and what I can and can not afford before I speak with anyone as I always worry I will get bullied into making decisions I don’t want to make and spending money I don’t want to spend – does that make sense?

So, when I saw that Wren Kitchens have a new Kitchen Cost Estimator that helps you estimate the cost of a new kitchen easily at home, by myself, without a design consultant breathing down my neck, I felt that I could actually jump the first obstacle of figuring out how much changes were going to cost me. That way, I can much more easily plan what is and isn’t feasible, instead of having no idea and therefore taking no action at all (sound familiar?).

When I first moved into the flat,  I made the error of chucking nice things into the kitchen without much thought as to how they worked together and against the very ‘new’ but not particularly nice backdrop.  The unfortunate result was a big confused mess and I just focused my energies on improving the rest of the flat and ignoring the kitchen, after all, there is no space to eat in the kitchen, so I don’t have to look at it that much! I cringe showing you these iPhone snaps (I have never tried to photograph it properly!) but here is my kitchen ‘before’ I made any changes at all (this, to me, is like doing a terrifying full frontal!)…

Kitchen makeover before | Apartment Apothecary

I am literally cringing at these snaps of my kitchen ‘before’. I’m sure lots of you can identify with throwing stuff into a room when you first move in, then life takes over and before you realise it you are oblivious to your surroundings and you no longer can see how unpleasant it is. Yes, there are lots of nice things in my kitchen but nothing works together and the generic cupboards, horrible long handles and cheap worktop make everything look even worse!

Since these photos were taken about a year ago, I have made improvements to the kitchen by styling it differently, which has now made me want to take it a step further and make some more permanent changes to get it to a point where I might even take Instagram photos in the kitchen 😉

I’ve been getting a bit of inspiration from the Wren Kitchens range. I really want cupboard doors that are either very modern with sharp edges and no handles – a true blank canvas – or something with a bit more character. I would love either a real wooden worktop or a white one that would allow some of the lovely things I have in my kitchen to shine. I also really like the idea of removing the top cupboards and replacing them with open shelving, although the idea of cleaning them doesn’t fill me with excitement!

I will be back soon with some shots of how I have styled the kitchen differently to make it more cohesive and I will definitely keep you updated as to what progress I make with more drastic changes!

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Wren Kitchens but all opinions and views are my own.



  1. Louise Abbott-Little
    4th March 2015 / 9:59 am

    Good luck with the changes (more than just a makeover!). The Pale Sky gloss kitchen at the end there looks lovely. I am not too keen on my kitchen either, but we won’t be able to replace anything for a few years yet, so will be curious to see how yours works out!

    • Katy
      4th March 2015 / 4:10 pm

      I will definitely keep you updated, Louise! It may take a while to convince Jules though 😉

  2. 4th March 2015 / 12:01 pm

    Ooo, good luck! Our kitchen is a great space but I really don’t like the units or surface. We live in a new-build too but we chose everything for its rental capability rather than what we liked. At the time, we had no plans for moving back to the UK so now we’re living with our choices. It’s hard to justify any major changes when everything is still so new and functioning. Ideally, I don’t want to live here for more than a few years either. What to do? 🙂

    • Katy
      4th March 2015 / 4:12 pm

      That’s my problem, too, Rachel. My kitchen functions really well and the cupboards and worktops were obviously chosen by the developers to be super practical, which they are. It’s such a tricky one x

  3. Grace
    4th March 2015 / 2:10 pm

    How exciting! The changes you want to make will definitely make a big difference. I love that handleless white gloss kitchen with the wooden worktops – Lovely handmade ceramics and vintagey pieces would look great combined with that. Can not wait to see your progress and this might have even inspired me to make a few changes. I’ve been eyeing up a modern gloss kitchen for a while, I hate the fact my kitchen isn’t modern and sleek enough, a bit like you have said, so it isn’t a blank canvas. Mmmm. I’ve got my thinking cap on now x

    • Katy
      4th March 2015 / 4:14 pm

      Good luck with any changes you make, Grace x

  4. Jane Stewrt
    4th March 2015 / 3:15 pm

    I really like the white kitchens. You can’t go wrong with white, every colour blends in with it. I can totally see why you don’t like your Worksop, it doesn’t match. Why not try and replace them with rope? Looking forward to see what changes you make.

    • Katy
      4th March 2015 / 4:09 pm

      I would love to just replace the handles as the cupboards themselves are totally fin but because they are long handles, the holes that they would leave in the doors would be really obvious – the doors are covered in some sort of laminate so I wouldn’t be able to fill the holes in and paint over, for example. I totally agree that the worktop is the main issue so i might focus on that for the time being xx

  5. Jane Stewrt
    4th March 2015 / 3:17 pm

    I meant to add the handles obviously might look good with rope.

  6. Nichola Baker
    4th March 2015 / 7:40 pm

    New work top can be cheaper than you think- with wood it’s all about the thickness and a good fitter! Do you have any tiles, again they cost less than you think and can totally change the look.

    • Katy
      4th March 2015 / 8:34 pm

      Yes! Those are my priorities, Nichola, and as you say it will be the fitting that will be the issue. Definitely don’t want to go from perfectly fitted kitchen to a bodged job. Xx

  7. 5th March 2015 / 2:28 am

    OOoo fun! We’re planning ours at the mo too – a joint pin board has been an interesting experience! Try & also these guys Both massively helped with our budget in the old house & I’ll be looking at them again. Hoping for herringbone wood flooring if I can do it in budget – eeep! x

    • Katy
      7th March 2015 / 11:19 am

      Are you?! Herringbone floor – SWOON!!! Thanks for the links, super helpful xx P.S> Are you mad setting up a joint Pinterest? Jules has no say around here otherwise I’d live in a gadget, wired up, high functioning but ugly mess ;))

  8. 5th March 2015 / 11:00 am

    I love a white kitchen, although having moved from a rental with a white kitchen to one with a blue kitchen I do really appreciate how much cleaner it looks most of the time! I love wooden worktops though, I think my idea kitchen would be white farm style cupboards like in your first picture with wooden worksurfaces and bright blue or aqua tiles (and a double oven)… one day.

    Can’t wait to see the changes you make 🙂

    • Katy
      7th March 2015 / 11:20 am

      Oooooh, your ideal kitchen sounds gorgeous xx

  9. Rachel
    10th March 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Looking forward to seeing how you have re-styled it Katy, but have to say that I actually really like the ‘before’ photos! You are obviously very good at just chucking stuff in, as you call it! I think it has real personality, but am sure your improvements will be even better xx

    • Katy
      13th March 2015 / 11:45 am

      Ha! I used to like it too I just can’t bear the lack of cohesion set against such a new kitchen. It doesn’t feel good to be in the space, which is always the most important thing. I have such a strong sense of needing calmer colours and more unity (probably because it’s spring and it’s another form of spring cleaning). Thanks for the lovely comment x

  10. 10th March 2015 / 6:49 pm

    I thought the same thing as Rachel above! Your “before” photos look great to me, you’ve added some nice personal touches to the builder’s blank slate. It’s tidy and pleasing to look at.

    Though I, too, am very curious to see the results of your “restyling!”

    • Katy
      13th March 2015 / 11:46 am

      I hope it doesn’t disappoint! I’ll probably want to add loads of personal knick knacks back before long – I am constantly changing things around x

  11. 20th July 2015 / 12:47 pm

    I hated my laminate kitchen but had bought my georgion house with cash so no money left to rip it all out and start again so I tiled my worktops painted the kitchen in annie Sloan and chand the handles ripped the Lino up painted the wooden floors and whipped some of the units out to fit a dinner table in a it is completely diffrent the cost was under £300.

  12. Sue Skinner
    4th September 2015 / 2:14 pm

    I got half my kitchen in Linda Barker units in Gull Wing and the oven/microwave housings in white from Wren.Looks fab and had no probs.

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