So you may remember that earlier this month, I shared my very own ugly kitchen with you! I’m seeing it as temporary for now as we are planning on quite a bit of building work in the coming months so trying to do much more with the space is kind of a waste of energy, time and money! However, I have done my best to make it feel like it’s still a ME space, despite not being able to rip out the ugly flooring, paint the walls or change out the tiles.
I had so many lovely comments and reactions over on social media around it that I thought I’d pull together a few ways you can dress up an ugly kitchen if you are in a similar position – whether you are in a rental that you simply can’t change or you’re working on other projects and so the kitchen is a bit lower down on the priority list. I didn’t want to talk about DIY specifically – for instance, painting the cupboards (which is a great budget option by the way) or re-tiling (which can actually be done on a budget too if you are willing to do the work yourself!) – but more those things that dress up the space and make it look a bit cuter!
Everything I’ve chosen is under £100 too (with many items far less than that) because you’re probably saving for that big kitchen remodel in the future so there’s no need to make huge splurges on this space to dress it up a bit!
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Of course, I’m going to start by making a recommendation of something I added to my own kitchen: creating areas which you can use for displaying your favourite crockery, glassware and accessories – whether that’s a collection of gorgeous vintage glasses or the cute pink mugs you picked up at Anthropologie.
In my own home, I have these brass hook rails from Rowen & Wren. I’m sure it’s one of my most asked about items in my home and I really love how well made they are. I had three of them in my previous kitchen and here, I’ve used two of them but even one under a cupboard is a really sweet look for displaying mugs or pretty utensils.
I’d also recommend something you can use for a bit of an ‘open shelving’ effect for display. In my own kitchen, I have an IKEA VITTSJÖ shelving unit for everyday glasses, plates and bowls but I also spied this cute little number – also from IKEA…
It’s the LÄCKÖ shelving unit which they’ve shown for use outside but I think it’d be super adorable in a kitchen situation too. The curves are a little more feminine and it’d be just as easy to spray paint in gold (of course I’d say that) or even a fun bright colour (pink, anyone?)!
If you are struggling on floor space, then why not choose something that can be wall hung? I quite liked this little Kensie wall shelf from Urban Outfitters in gold and natural wood and as it’s only £24, you could easily hang more than one.
Baskets are great for pretty much everything, right? Well, your kitchen is no different. I tuck mind on top of the tall unit I have in here as well as on top of the fridge to provide some additional places to store things that I don’t necessarily want to hand – things like table linens and old tea towels. If you have space above your upper cupboards, then it’s a good way to utilise an area that’s probably going to waste right now and dress it up a bit.
I came across these ones over on Wayfair that are made with leather and you get a set of two in this gorgeous textural fabric for less than £60 (they are currently on sale as ‘end of line’ – marked down from over £100 so get in there quick!). I really love the soft greige colour and I adore the boho vibe it has.
Trays and Platters
Trays and platters are another great way to give your worktops a bit of life. Gather together mugs, a sugar pot and milk jug with your tea and coffee canisters together in one area for a little ‘hot drinks station’. Whenever you have small, disparate items a tray will make it seem more purposeful and less like clutter.
West Elm have a huge selection of various trays but I quite like this particular one (and it’s quite similar to what I’ve used) but this has a touch of wood for extra interest. I quite like the round shape too. A kitchen has so many hard, straight lines so using items with curves balances that out and softens the look a bit. This one is currently on sale for less than £30 which is a great price for something this good looking.
One thing that really brought my own ugly kitchen to life is all the plants in here. I have them on the windowsills, on top of upper cupboards as well as hanging up and I think they do well to distract from just how bad the tiles and flooring really are, drawing your eye immediately when you walk into the room.
I have my eye on this little pink one from Anthropologie but the blue is equally as lovely. Look out for pots which are small enough to sit comfortably on sills or on your worktops without taking up too much space but which have interesting details – an organic natural shape, a touch of gold, interesting ceramic effects – and then fill them with fresh herbs to bring your cooking game to the next level whilst looking beautiful.
This is one that has been suggested to me and I would seriously be considering this gorgeous number from Urban Outfitters if we had to live with our ugly linoleum floor tiles for much longer. While I love the look of a beautiful vintage rug in a kitchen on Pinterest, the practical side of me thinks of how many spills and stains it’s going to be subjected to. So my suggestion would be to choose an outdoor rug for inside. These are normally made from recycled plastics and while they aren’t anywhere near as comfy on the feet, they are completely stain-resistant and easy to clean. Plus, they’ll add some much-needed texture, colour and/or pattern to your space.
The walls in my kitchen desperately need repainting, full of holes and chipped paint, marks and stains. So I’ve done my best to distract from the ugliness with some cute art.
All of these are from Society6 which I thought would be lovely in a kitchen. From top to bottom, Sunday Poster by 83oranges, Lady Flowers III and Lady Flowers by linco7n and all the prints are very reasonably priced starting at just $17 and yes, they ship worldwide.
I’ve had gold utensils in my own kitchen for quite some time but they are so pretty, I don’t want to hide them away. Choose a cute vase or pot and stash them next to the cooker or hang them from a utensil rail for a lovely dash of glam. These ones are from Anthropologie.
And finally, while I didn’t really want to specifically talk about DIY, these were just so cute that I couldn’t not share them. If you’ve got some really awful tiles, then you might want to consider covering them with simple decals. I think this particular Terrazzo tile sticker from BOUBOUKIshop on Etsy had the most beautiful colours. They are sold in packs of 4 starting at £5.48 and come in a selection of sizes too for the perfect fit.
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Now it’s your turn: How do you dress up a less-than-ideal kitchen? Leave me your best tips or buys in the comments below!