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How I Personalised My Used Kitchen on a Budget.

My wish list for a new kitchen definitely outstripped my budget.

We were in the process of developing our new home and basically ran out of money, this is a really common story when you take on your dream house that needs ‘some work’. I wanted a kitchen which suited our Edwardian house, so we sourced a Traditional Clive Christian kitchen for a bargain price, here’s  Our story.

My Vision

I have always been a fan of the more traditional look, so after sourcing my used designer kitchen and remodelling it to my space and lifestyle needs (Yes, you can adjust the layout of kitchens and I promise it is easier than you think!) the key was now to personalise it with accessories, but as ever, on a budget.

I wanted the kitchen to feel warm, welcoming and homely – The Clive Christian we had chosen was very grand, but did lend itself to a more ‘classic contemporary’ feel. To soften the look, I decided to give the kitchen a more eclectic feel with a mixture of accessories and a strong colour palette.

I find that some of the best places to find one off, unique items are antique dealers, auctions, charity/recycling shops and online sites such as Preloved and Ebay.

You can snap up some amazing bargains and it’s great fun to spend time searching these places in the hope of discovering some beautiful one-of-a kind items such as the chandeliers I bought for £100 and the assortment of vintage china that cost just a few pounds.


Below I have listed some of the key items I have bought that I feel really add to the vibe I was craving: a kitchen that works well for  family time, but also has drama and atmosphere for parties and cosy evenings in.

  • The China: most of the pieces I have used on the cooker Mantle have been bought from charity shops. I worked on blue and white colour scheme which is very traditional, but mixed a variety of pieces with different shapes and ages to give a more contemporary feel. A great tip is to focus on shape and if the piece is perfect but chipped, it really doesn’t matter, you are buying for the ‘look’ of the piece not its intrinsic value
  • The Chandeliers: These were sourced from ebay. They were listed as a vintage item, and this is where you can add authenticity to your styling. They also tend to be much cheaper than their new equivalents. Please note, that electrical items bought online second hand will need to be PAT tested by a qualified electrician before re-fitting
  • Paint Colour: This was my most challenging decision and I spent of good while to ensure the colour was right. The kitchen had been painted in Farrow and Ball Cream, which is a traditional, heavy cream with a high yellow content. The colour choice had to compliment and enhance this colour. A top tip here is to use a paint centre, such as Dulux as they have a full range of colour charts and will mix the colours for you.
  • The Clock: Now the clock really is my pride and joy and a once in a lifetime bargain! I bought it from ebay, not knowing very much about it. I just liked it! The shape and size of the clock was perfect for my high ceilings and it also has the George V crest on it, which I loved. When it arrived, I took it to a clock renovator who told me that it was a really rare GPO slave clock and was worth around £3,000!! As I only paid £210 for it I was over the moon.


  • Stained glass Window: When we started to prepare the room for our kitchen, we found an old window that had been blocked off. We decided this was a great opportunity to add another feature to room and take advantage of the shafts of light in the morning that would stream through. To further enhance this I searched for a piece of stained glass to fit and found one on ebay. I loved the abstract flower detail and the colours and I bought it for only £20, it looks beautiful and gives a lovely feature with great authenticity. Top tip is to maximise on the original features of your property, use on-line sales sites and reclamation yards to search out items. Keep your measurements on you at all times and a list of things you are looking for as you never know when or where the perfect item might present itself. Be prepared to wait, as it will be worth it!


My main advice is to have fun with your accessories. Don’t stick to the norm or feel you have to follow the current fashion. Go for items you fall in love with, that suit your home’s personality. Don’t worry if things aren’t perfect, this really doesn’t matter and their ‘issues’ can be part of their charm. Sometimes you have to stretch your budget to get a perfect piece, I did this when I bought my clock, but most of the time you only need to spend a few pounds to get your hands on a piece that becomes a stand out feature.


Helen Lord

Founder/Director of Used Kitchen Exchange Ltd.

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