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How do you open up your kitchen and create more family space? Here, six women reveal how they've done it on a budget. (Warning: these pictures might make you green with envy!)
Add lots of colour
"My top style tip is colour and lots of it!" explains mum-of-three Claudia. "It's perfect for making a simple white space come alive and doesn’t have to cost the earth." For around £400, Claudia scoured the web and high street stores for new chairs, stools, lighting and even a toaster in a kaleidoscope of colours to avoid the otherwise white space having a stark, clinical aesthetic. Another affordable design idea is the vibrant turquoise splash back made from a simple sheet of coloured glass. "With the tangerine seats, ocean-blue chairs, vivid accessories and rainbow-bright childrens' toys it gives the room so much personality," adds Claudia. She's not wrong there.
Make the most of rubbish
With a toddler and new baby, Sylvie and her partner don't have plenty of extra cash, which is why their shabby chic style works brilliantly. "It's any old rubbish," laughs Sylvie. "We like stuff that has a story to it." For a similar feel for less than £200 she suggests keeping an eye out for other people’s unwanted items, like they did with their mismatched junk wall cabinets. "If it's not bolted down, like in a skip for example, it can be salvaged and adds that all important personal style to a room." Team with a deep brown stained floor (for less than a tenner) and some Cool Britannia Union Jack cushions from Baileys for an affordable and kid-friendly style statement.
Lisa commissioned a local carpenter to fit new doors to old carcasses, and added some vintage finds for a makeover totalling less than £1,000. "Check out antique fairs for any individual pieces then get inventive to transform them," says Lisa. "A sheet of sandpaper and a lick of paint rejuvenated some of my tatty old pine chairs for next to nothing, not forgetting a bit of old fashioned elbow grease!" Lisa then added a chandelier from high street store Laura Ashley plus some pretty pink accessories to add a dash of grown-up feminine chic. "They're a huge hit with my two pink-obsessed young daughters!" she laughs.
Keep it simple
"Most of the living goes on in our open plan kitchen," says Tessa, a mum of two under 10. "Rustic style is a relaxed and easy look to achieve, and very purse and child friendly too!" In Tessa's case, easy to wipe plain white walls and basic units were accessorised with warm tones of wicker and wood, and the practical (and inexpensive) terracotta tiled floor means the total cost was less than £500. Her reclaimed refectory style table and benches from Retrouvious are robust and not too precious for family life, while china, crockery and silverware are safely out of reach of slippery fingers in a lockable glass cabinet.
Use eco paints
"We all love the intensity of colour, particularly in such a large room which really is the heart of our home – everything goes on here!" says Nikki of her 25ft kitchen/dining room. For about £1,500, two rooms were knocked into one and custom-built units added. Other than that, the impact comes from the environmentally friendly (and child friendly) eco paints in rainbow colours from Earthborn Paints inspired by family holidays to Tuscany, Provence and Mexico. A high shelf is used to display family souvenirs such as the kids' sailing boat, "and to keep my favourite pieces of pottery out of reach of little hands!" adds Tessa.
Mix in personal touches
"Keep it bright, light and cheery and it will be the perfect space for toddlers and grown-ups alike," says Sarah. "Opt for off-white walls to maximise the benefits of natural daylight and go for a mix of one-off freestanding pieces of furniture for an eclectic look that can be easily altered as the needs of your family change." Sarah created a relaxed and laidback space and kept to a budget of £1,000 with junk shop finds, retro pieces, homemade cushions from remnants of Cath Kidston floral material and a wall montage of family photos.
It shouldn't take too long to save up for your dream changes. For all your savings options, check out Barclays Savings accounts.
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© Baileys 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
© IACF International Antique & Collectors Fairs 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
© Laura Ashley 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
© Retrouvious 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
© Earthborn Paints 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
© Cath Kidston 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source
Photos © Narratives/Brent Darby, Jan Baldwin, Polly Eltes, Holly Joliffe
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