Before and after: A galley kitchen gets a major update for just £6,000

This kitchen makeover is a masterclass in money-saving home renovations

Galley kitchen with dark Shaker units, dark slate floor tiles and ceiling-to-floor picture window
(Image credit: David Woolley)

If you've inherited a galley kitchen, chances are you're looking for a way to extend it to create your dream open-plan space. But if money is short, take a leaf out of retail designer Jason Traves and his husband Kevin Petre's book and make the most of what you have with a creative, and absolutely stunning, makeover.

Faced with a full-house renovation, the couple's budget was running dry by the time they reached the kitchen – so, shelving their plans for an extension, they set about creating a space for just £6,000. Read on to find out how they did it.

The before

Before picture of kitchen with yellow walls and pattern lino floor

(Image credit: Jason Traves)

The kitchen was dark and dingy, with unattractive lino flooring and unloved, outdated units. ‘The whole house was so run down when we bought it,' says Jason. 'Not much had been done to it for a long time and it needed a lot of work – plastering, rewiring, replacing windows and doors, knocking walls down – but the moment I stepped inside, I fell in love with it. I remember saying to Kevin, “Let’s do it!”'

The process

Galley kitchen

(Image credit: David Woolley)

The couple were coming to the end of their budget when they got to the kitchen, having tackled a loft conversion and renovated the rest of the house – so they had to be savvy with their money. 

Using stocked items from budget-friendly retailers proved key to their kitchen remodeling strategy. 

‘We opted for Ikea units with doors from Howdens, which we sprayed black,’ Jason says. They replaced the lino with black tiles from B&Q, and fitted a window from Shaws of Brighton to create a connection to the garden.

The after

Galley kitchen with dark Shaker units, dark slate floor tiles and ceiling-to-floor picture window

(Image credit: David Woolley)

The resulting space is much lighter and brighter, and decidedly more present day. It features a classic Shaker style that's modernised with sleek, contemporary windows and a smart monochrome scheme. Jason made the most of the budget they had by being selective in where they spent it, and the project cost just £6,000 in total. 'We spent money on the finishing touches like art and the little things that get used day-to-day, like beautiful brass handles and light switches, and saved on things like kitchen units,' he says.

The kitchen works well for now, but Jason has big plans for the future. 'We’d like to extend the kitchen eventually, but at the moment, it’s just the two of us and the dogs,' he says. 'It works for us.’

Ellen Finch
Ellen Finch

After a stint writing for true life titles, Ellen made her venture into the world of interiors in 2017 on Real Homes magazine. Now deputy editor, she's always taking inspiration from Real Homes' clever tips and tricks for renters, and has a special interest in sustainability in the home.