Mum quoted £18,000 for new kitchen transforms the space herself for £155

New kitchens can be incredibly costly.

Often they are one of the biggest expenses when it comes to home renovations. 

So when a mum-of-two was quoted £18,000 for a new shake-style kitchen, she decided to carry out the transformation herself – to save some cash.

Jill Oliver sourced MDF, paint and handles then got stuck in – spending just £155 in total.

As a result, the mum from Durham saved thousands on the DIY project.

‘I painted my kitchen in the first lockdown with a dark grey paint as I had seen other people do this but I loved the shaker style kitchens,’ Jill tells money-saving Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK.

‘I just followed lots of home accounts and saw different people doing similar things. 

‘We had quotes a while back and it varied but it would have been something like £12,000 to replace the kitchen and I couldn’t justify that kind of money when I knew I could update the plain doors to a shaker style myself.

‘The £12,000 price was from a joiner we have used for years but the bigger companies were much more, some as much as £18,000.’


Jill decided to do the kitchen cupboard panelling herself after successfully achieving a similar look in her bedroom and hallway – simply by following tutorials.

She then contacted a local timber merchant and asked them to cut a sheet of MDF into 70mm strips (at 4mm deep), to cover all the old holes where the handles previously were. When she received these, Jill cut each to fit with a miter saw 

After, she got to work sanding the cupboards down and cleaning them with sugar soap, before sticking the MDF to them. 



The 50-year-old explains: ‘On each door I glued the sides of the MDF first, using a spirit level to make sure they were straight. 

‘When I added the tops and bottom of the MDF I kept them a little bit short to create a very small gap, as I knew I was going to fill these with caulk to create the shaker style. 

‘Once all the MDF was on I then had to caulk all the little gaps. 

‘After this, I primed, then used an eggshell paint. I did three light coats with a sponge roller. The sponge roller gave it a nice finish.’


The mum-of-two used Valspar v700 eggshell paint for the wood – a colour match to Farrow and Ball’s Purbeck Stone.

Following this, she drilled holes for the handles.

Overall, Jill is thrilled with the results – not to mention the saving – and is happy she’s done her bit for the environment, too.


‘My kitchen cupboard doors are 18 years old,’ she continues.

‘What I think is really important is that the way the economy is going, everything is going up in price and our wages aren’t. This is a great way of not spending a fortune and updating your home to a beautiful finish. 

‘The other thing is we talk about the environment and recycling: well, what a great way to not waste furniture, doors, vases and so on, so it’s better for the environment.  

‘I have always wanted a big kitchen with bifold doors and an island but actually now I have done this to my kitchen it has made me realise that actually I just wanted a nice welcoming homely kitchen and I absolutely love my kitchen now. 

‘It’s the best thing I have done to my house.’

For anyone thinking of giving it a go, Jill suggests practicing on smaller pieces first.

She adds: ‘People are frightened to try so my advice would be to try painting a little piece of furniture first to get used to painting or, if you have a spare kitchen cupboard stuck in the loft, then have a little practice on that.’

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