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Affordable Interiors: Chapter 4: Sprucing Up a Corner

by - Thursday, August 22, 2013

All I can say is woopsie... I've done it again.
The other weekend I was doing my usual chores and decided to give the kitchen a proper, pull-everything-out kind of clean. So I cleared one half of the room then thought, 'I'm sick of looking at that bloomin' cement smeared over the yellow paint. In fact, I'm sick of looking at the yellow paint, too.' And then I decided to do something about it...

I stood for about 5 minutes assessing the space, and deciding if I really had the energy to get the paint stuff out on a Saturday afternoon. But the weather was pretty grey outside and I had got some determination from somewhere, so I grabbed the pot of Gentle Fawn and a big brush and attacked the wall with a menacing grin on my face.

The reason there is cement smeared over the yellow paint is because our landlord got an electrician in about a year ago to rewire the sockets. Then didn't worry about the aesthetics when the work was done. This has been a really big deal to me as the kitchen needs way too much work for us to want to spend the money doing it as it is. (I.e. stripping back and starting again). But I realised that the way I feel when I'm in here is not 'let's cook some inspiring food,' like it should be, but more 'let's cook it and get the hell out!' So, I devised a way that I can provoke the former feeling when I'm in here, without spending a fortune (any money at all, in fact) and without doing loads of work.

Once again, my before shot is just before I started work, because I only decided to do it once I'd already pulled everything out for the big clean. But you get the ugly jist...

I didn't take any 'during' shots as I was on a mission. I knew if I didn't get on with it I wouldn't feel like doing it so I grabbed the paint and started slapping it on.

It really was that straight forward.

I didn't bother with rollers, paint trays, nothing. Just a tin of spare paint and a brush we used for the Living Room Makeover last year. I guess you're starting to see a pattern in my use of Dulux's Gentle Fawn matt paint, and that's because I bought a big tin for our Chest of Drawers and barely used any at all. I've got a lot of it left so it's lucky that I love the colour!

I decided that rather than starting the big (and expensive) job of painting the whole room, faffing around on top of the cupboards and corners I couldn't reach, I would create a two-tone wall that had the new colour at eye level. Therefore, completely transforming the immediate space that you see while preparing food. And that's what this little 'Inspiration' chapter is all about.

I know that not everyone has half a tin of paint in a shade they love and brushes lying around, but this really was a budget makeover and it has made a world of difference. It literally used about an inch off the top of the paint can, so I know that a job like this could be done only needing a minimal amount of paint.

The other thing I haven't mentioned yet is that I only did one wall. I didn't fancy tackling the other side that day, which is painted a completely different shade of yellow anyway, so it didn't matter that it wouldn't match. I plan to do the other side sometime, but for quickly changing a space in the middle of my chores, this wall was more than enough.

So I suppose you'd love to see some after shots?

I used all of my strength trying to get that green corner shelf off the wall. Although it looked really nice (after I'd painted it!), the microwave was where the kettle is now and it made the whole corner a bit inaccessible. I think that shelf had been up for decades because I had to find the manly strength from somewhere to get the screws out. I was way too impatient to wait for P to get home from work to do it, but I finally managed it and was very pleased with myself! The microwave now fits in the corner perfectly and we've now got a breakfast / lunch station which is so much more practical.

I love these mug hooks. They save valuable cupboard space and brighten up a drab kitchen. You might have noticed that the left hand side holds the 'boy mug' section, and the right hand side holds my nice girly ones!

Anyway... I got two coats of paint done in about an hour or so, and it's made even more of a difference than I imagined. It finally feels tidy and clean and welcoming in this area. Just from a bit of paint! This house needs a lot of work everywhere, but painting a space makes me forget about the scruffy bits.

As you can see, I marked a dividing line where I would paint up to. This is in line with the bottom of the boiler, so covers the main 'eye line' area.

I did no cutting in, no spirit levelling (that's why the divide line in the paint is wonky!) and no filling in of holes. I knew there was no way I could make it look worse so I just slapped everything together and got it done quickly.

I'm still smiling about the result.

I now have a tea area. My very own tea area! This vintage tray sits on the microwave and makes a feature of the corner now. I love the green Hydrangea with the pink tea set too!

I then picked my first flowers from the garden and bought them into the brighter space. Buddleia, Sweet Peas & Dahlias.

And more Hydrangea heads.

This is the Easter Cactus that my sister & brother in law bought P and I. I repotted it into this old terracotta pot and it looks lovely on the windowsill now.

It seems I got a bit carried away when I was taking photos! I love rearranging this window sill, I look at it every day so it's nice to change it every now and then. It makes it feel completely different just by moving things around.

I guess the moral of this mini-makeover story is that it's simple to turn a big job into a little one if you do it bit by bit. It's good to have this colour strip almost as a tester, and I now know that I love Gentle Fawn in the kitchen. The tones change as the light changes; it's soft and warm in the daylight, sort of an earthy cream colour. When night comes and we switch over to lamps, the colour brings out a slightly lilac tint which feels equally as cosy.

If you have a space that needs a spruce up, but you feel it's a big job, see if you can simply clean up a corner to change the feel of the whole room. Sometimes, even just moving furniture and accessories is all it takes to create a fresh new perspective on your home.

I wish you luck in your home sprucing,

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