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Painting laminate kitchen units... And can I do anything with this worktop?

(43 Posts)
JustBeingJuliet Tue 28-Jul-15 21:25:51

I'm slowly but surely sorting out my new house, but I have zero budget. Zilch. Totally skint! Bathroom has been done for less than £500; tiled and lay the flooring myself, just need someone to connect up the shower now and thank god it will be finished! My biggest bugbear now is the kitchen.

It's an ex LA house complete with council fitted kitchen that has been in about 15 years. It's bloody awful! I have beech effect units, and a beige coloured worktop that has marks from every single thing the previous owners ever chopped on it, plus a huge burn mark next to the cooker, where I can only presume they plonked an on fire chip pan or something! I will not be able to afford to replace it for about 10 years at the rate I'm going, so looking for some cheap and cheerful ideas to brighten it up until I can gut it.

I've bought new handles for the units, I have a tin of kitchen paint to do the walls, I got some cracking new lights in the B&Q sale for grand total of £7 and the tiles aren't bad (dark grey and cream). So, can I paint crappy laminate cupboard doors? It can't look any worse than it does already! And the worktop? Really cannot afford to replace it, plus it looks like it's been glued extensively to the units, so I feel taking it off will rip chunks out of them. Can I paint? cover with Fablon? Tile? I absolutely hate how it looks at present, so can't possibly make it any worse!

Any tips? I would ideally like the units either cream or grey, worktop either wood effect or a dark grey/black. Can I do this?

JustBeingJuliet Tue 28-Jul-15 21:29:22

This is what I'm dealing with!

blessedenough Tue 28-Jul-15 21:45:07

Try freecycle for worktops, someone be might be doing up their kitchen but have nice worktops?? I am surprised at what people throw out! Look for skips, builders vans in local posh areas??? All the units in my garage came from neighbours btl property they were a bit manky but cleaned up a great and were nice!

We painted our kitchen units but they were orangey pine (they were professionally spray painted £1800 so out of your budget??) , again I would try freecycle if your carcasses are a standard size. You can get paint and do it yourself but I think the paint is quite pricey, I have not had any experience myself.

Any friend of friends in the trade?? Someone might let you have old units and worktops if you dismantle them - saving them a job or expense prior to a new kitchen being installed???

Good luck with your project

blueteapot Tue 28-Jul-15 21:56:14

Whats the budget? We have a similar kitchen situation, have extensively researched makeovers but now looking at new ones (ikea very reasonable).

Your laminate doors might not take the paint brilliantly, although with a decent primer you could maybe give it a go? There are local companies here who take the laminate off and paint the underlying MDF stuff too. To be honest if it were me I'd stick with your units as is (maybe new handles) and go for new worktop (ikea do some very reasonable laminate eg 40 quid a length). Definitely check gumtree and freecycle too. Good luck and post us a pic when you are done smile

JustBeingJuliet Tue 28-Jul-15 22:04:36

The thing I'm worried about with the work tops os the amount of glue that is squished between them and the units, so I feel removing the work tops will rip chunks out of the units. I've actually just managed to get a laminate door off freegle so I can have a go at painting it before I tackle my units!

Budget is about £100 max at the minute.

blessedenough Tue 28-Jul-15 22:11:29

Just a thought, the worktops and wall colour make the biggest difference in our revamped kitchen. We removed horrific peachy tiles with raised veg motifs - remember them?? We skimmed and painted walls, looks much more modern.

Your units are pretty in offensive (like ours prior to painting) can you take doors off of upper units and paint / wall paper back bit to make an eye catching feature - sort of open shelves??? You need to be tidy minded however - would be no good for me! Or even take them down and have open shelves? Depending on size of kitchen amount of units and how much stuff you have?

blueteapot Tue 28-Jul-15 22:13:10

Where is the glue?? Between the top of the cupboards and bottom of worktop? Ours is screwed on. Good idea with the practice door. We find zinsser BIN primer very good (painted laminate wood panelling on our stairs and landing and believe it or not it looks fab and has been very hard wearing). If there was any way you could get some freecycled worktop youd be landed - Otherwise i think it'd be a stretch. They do kits to redo laminate - rustoleum - but it needs to be intact (ditto for fablon). you can also get worktop overlays but these are pricey. How much do you need?

blessedenough Tue 28-Jul-15 22:13:49

Hair dryer and a flexible scraper should remove the glue without taking out chunks

JustBeingJuliet Tue 28-Jul-15 22:14:59

The workrooms are knackered! There's barely a square inch that hasn't got a knife mark on it somewhere!

Hadn't thought about removing doors but, yes, that would be possible if I swapped stuff around and put tinned/packets in the bottom cupboards. That's would look quite nice actually smile

JustBeingJuliet Tue 28-Jul-15 22:18:27

Glue is between the worktops and the units and is all the way round the kitchen. There's about 10m of worktop in total as its a pretty big kitchen/diner. I'm just worried about ripping worktops out and it turning into a bigger job that I just can't afford!

blueteapot Tue 28-Jul-15 22:19:18

Nice baskets would work well on the open shelves if you did that too. I think if you could overcome the glue as above changing those worktops would make a huge difference and you might not mind the cupboards too much? X

wowfudge Tue 28-Jul-15 23:57:32

Hmm - definitely glue and not silicone sealant?

JustBeingJuliet Wed 29-Jul-15 00:35:19

Yep definitely glue. Doesn't surprise me after seeing some of the horrors in the rest of the house!

Quodlibet Wed 29-Jul-15 00:58:33

I'm on a similar journey with my horrible kitchen so watching with interest. After doing some research on just swapping the doors (thought about buying a load of solid wood doors second-hand on eBay) frustratingly I've realised that there's too much slight variation in sizes (e.g. drawer depths) to do it. I'm likewise fairly sure that our kitchen is held together with glue and blind optimism, and that taking one bit out will just turn into a monster job. And it's all so horrid that I resent spending money on improving it a bit when it'll still essentially look knackered!!
Saying that, a couple of cheap things have worked in ours. I've painted one of the walls using leftover paint and tester pots all mixed together (a surprisingly nice shade) and used a rug to disguise the horrid floor (bumpy ceramic tiles sprayed black - who does that???). Am trying to muster up the energy to remove some more of the high cupboards and replace with shelving to open the space a bit.

I wonder about spraying your cupboards? That and new handles might make a huge difference. At least with a buggered kitchen you can be free to take a few risks without it being a disaster if it goes a bit wrong!

patchesofhappiness Wed 29-Jul-15 01:22:02

I have recently discovered chalk paint (have been using the rustoleum from B&Q). It will cover virtually anything. I painted some revolting and very chipped melamine shelving, and it looked quite smart when I had finished.

I agree with you about your kitchen cupboard doors, but the shape of them is not terrible, it's just the beech effect that is so revolting. If you painted them in a colour you liked, and gave them a couple of coats of easy to clean tough varnish (clear floor varnish?) they look like they would last a good few years yet, and you might even grow to like them.

Not sure what you can do about your work tops though... Maybe you could paint them too? What have you got to lose?

Lelivre Wed 29-Jul-15 07:54:03

I'm wondering if it might be possible to fill in the grooves on the doors or put some board over glue and then thin MDF seal fill and paint edges and paint that. I haven't done this! But have clad end panels with thin mdf and painted to match kitchen and you would not know it wasn't original.

Also I would be tempted to find white penny tiles for cheap and tile the worktop. It would mean using chopping boards and bleaching the grout regularly but could look quite good.

Lelivre Wed 29-Jul-15 07:56:16


caker Wed 29-Jul-15 08:02:11

Whatever you do don't steam clean the doors - we have the same ones in our ex LA house and now they are all bubbly, oops! We're just living with the awfulness (including peach tiles with veg on, like a pp!) until we can afford new. Which may take some time.

orangina01 Wed 29-Jul-15 08:42:06

I think tiling the worktop with penny tiles or similar would be good , especially as you just learned how to tile. When I visited California loafs of the homes had tiles on the worktops. The site has lots of very cheap tiles. Good luck.

PolterGoose Wed 29-Jul-15 09:02:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lelivre Wed 29-Jul-15 09:02:41

Yeah one of my first flats we tiles the nasty worktop with the cheapest white tiles and it was fine (well, much better than before).

SophiesDog Wed 29-Jul-15 09:03:37

I feel your pain OP. We lived in a rented house for about 7 years and the kitchen was so awful, so damp and falling apart and most of all, impossible to clean, that after about 2 years I literally ripped the whole thing out, I mean it was gutted - floor to ceiling tiles, all off with a chisel - floor tiles the same. It was so painful and such hard work but I was determined as I couldn't live with the ingrained filth any more.

The landlord agreed to pay for a plasterer to skim the whole room, and I built myself a very basic new kitchen from an ebay worktop, ebay sink, ebay tap and some old Victorian cupboard doors which I built a frame around.

It did cost more than £100, true, but you might be able to manage with free standing furniture rather than building in? The only thing you need a worktop structure for technically is the sink and you may find a second hand free standing one on ebay (Ikea did a nice one). Then a table for preparing food on, cooker (or is that built in at the moment?) and maybe an old cupboard or two.

I am a bit impatient but tbh my first rule in most projects is to chuck out the stuff you don't want, and see what you are left with to work from.

Before pictures!

Lelivre Wed 29-Jul-15 09:04:17

I've seen what poltergoose suggests and it looked good (old dressers with drawers and cupboards under cut down fitted as cabinets) but it was a period property.

SophiesDog Wed 29-Jul-15 09:04:50

Ooh x posts with Poltergoose!! smile She's right you know wink

Lelivre Wed 29-Jul-15 09:10:56

Another suggestion would be to build up a bit of £ and look out for a used kitchen. They can go really cheap. People often throw out newly installed kitchens when they move into a property.

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