How this clever couple renovated their kitchen for just $1500

A crafty couple freshened up the kitchen of their art deco home using a little bit of paint and vinyl – and lot of ingenuity

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Kitchen renovation budget:


Total spend:


Time frame:

1 month

Kitchen renovation $1500

What was wrong with your original kitchen?

Maiko Nagao: The benchtop was brown Formica and the space was too dark and enclosed. There also wasn’t enough storage.

What were your priorities for your new kitchen?

A more open layout, and a lighter, brighter feel.

Kitchen renovation $1500

How did you solve these problems?

We covered the bench in sticky-back white vinyl and removed the kitchen island, replacing it with a mobile butcher’s block. We also added open shelves, a shelf above the window and new pendant lights.

What materials/finishes did you choose and why?

Our kitchen had a hideous brown Formica benchtop with beige cabinets. Then we came across a company called Vinyl Home based in Auckland. We used their ‘sticky-back plastic’ range to cover our benchtop in white. It cost us just $90 and it changed everything! We also used their self-adhesive ‘tiles’ to cover the existing splashback. Then we replaced the cabinet handles with new ones found on Trade Me.

Kitchen renovation $1500

What do you like best about your new kitchen?

I must say I’m in love with our open shelves. I’m not the tidiest person so the fact that everything is on display forces me to keep it tidy. I also love seeing my package-free pantry and indoor plant collection.

What’s your top tip for kitchen renovators?

If you hate the look of your kitchen but you’re not in the position to redo it entirely, there are so many tricks to updating it on a budget. My top one would be to cover your benchtop and cabinets with sticky-back plastic to instantly give your kitchen a facelift.

Key suppliers

Vinyl Home, Trade Me, Lighting Direct.

See more of the Birkdale home renovation here. 

Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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