Before & after: A $600 cosmetic reno revived this retro kitchen

Everything old is new again.
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When you want a flash new kitchen but you’re restricted by a lean budget, you have to get creative with a cosmetic renovation.

WATCH: Tara demonstrates how to create a Scandi-style kitchen on a budget

Choose to spend your cash on the areas that are going to achieve the biggest and best impact – think walls, cabinets and benchtops. Here are the 6 steps that took this retro kitchen from woe to wow.

1. Paint kitchen cabinets

If your cabinet laminate is still in good nick and just out of date, renew it with a splash of crisp white paint. First, rub doors down with fine-grit sandpaper, then wipe away any dust.

Use a mini roller and a small brush to apply a shellac-based stain blocker and let dry before painting with two coats of hard-wearing enamel, allowing to dry between coats. To finish, lightly sand any timber trims, then apply two coats of clear varnish. 

For more in-depth instructions, check out our step-by-step guide to painting kitchen cupboards.

Before (Credit: Chris Jones)

2. Embrace period features 

The 70s splashback was a fond reminder of hours spent in the kitchen with generations past. If you can’t bear to rip it out, roll with it!

The tiles were inspiration for the bright light fitting and were accentuated, rather than hidden. 

The 70s splashback brings back fond memories for the homeowners, so rather than removing them, they were transformed into a defining feature. (Credit: Chris Jones)

3.  Refinish the benchtops

For stone-look benchtops at a fraction of the price, try a Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit.

Here, in Diamond White, the topcoat has a hint of sparkle to brighten up any dull space.

The original benchtops were refinished in a stone-look paint by Rustoleum. (Credit: Chris Jones)

4. Add fun and functional accessories

Craft a utensil hang-it-all from a rolling pin – an ideal spot for spoons, whisks and more!

To re-create this idea, drive two large cup hooks into the underside of your cabinet, spaced out to suit your chosen rolling pin. Screw a roll of small cup hooks  to one side of the rolling pin, then slot it in position on the large cup hooks. 

This rolling-pin utensil holder is easy to recreate. (Credit: Chris Jones)

5. All the trimmings

Tired, chipped and a little tatty – the bottom edge of the under-bench cupboard doors often fall victim to kicks and bangs.

After doors have been given a makeover (holes filled if necessary, sanded and painted), cover up rough edges with timber moulding. Trim lengths of 20x 80mm moulding to the width of each door, sand cut edges and apply two coats of clear varnish. Fix timber in position with contact adhesive.

Don’t forget to refresh cabinet trimmings, which often fall victim to kicks and bangs. (Credit: Chris Jones)

6. Complete with a statement light fixture

Transform a standard batten fix light into a pendant in a few easy steps with a pendant suspension-cord kit and shade of your choice. With the power off, simply clip in the bayonet fitting as you would when changing a regular light bulb.

Slide over the cover, here in a chrome finish, then secure with the screw fitting attached. At the other end, add a shade and new light bulb, then flick on the light!

After. (Credit: Chris Jones)

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