The people who lived in our flat before us really liked purple. In whatever shade they could obtain. On everything. Soooo that was how we came to have a kitchen with aubergine purple doors, a Ribena purple bin, plum-coloured bar stools and the ugliest Ribena wall you've ever seen. It took us an astoundingly long time to paint said wall (they had also painted the skirting board, and it seemed like it might be a big job - in reality, we decided to paint at 5pm and were done by midnight, including a trip to B&Q to buy paint). The bar stools and the bin were hastily dispatched as soon as moved in, but I decided to tolerate the doors when I found out that replacements from B&Q would cost upwards of £80 each.
I also wasted no time in getting rid of the tiny, waste-of-space cupboard on the large wall section by the door - it was a very narrow cupboard that couldn't fit much more than spices and jars of hot sauce in it, so down it came.
I can't actually rationalise why it took so long to paint this wall - look how much light it sucks out of the room. The table and chairs were left behind, so we stuck them on Gumtree too. I knew I wanted a light grey for the walls, but it took a wee while to find one cool enough for me to like, but with enough warmth to complement the aubergine. Blackened by Farrow and Ball was our choice, and I think it makes the room look a lot cosier. Just a PSA on paint here - I am a great advocate of Farrow and Ball shades (it comes of interning at Bluebellgray), but I don't think the quality of their paint is actually all that. What you can, and should, do is get one of their colour cards (or a fandex, if like me you paint a lot) and then get their colours matched by Valspar in B&Q. You really can't go wrong with their colours, the selection is great, but this is great way to get the benefit of a curated selection without going bankrupt. James' mum bought me their book on choosing colours for my birthday, and I'm loving it so far - I've already picked out a palette of five colours for the new place.
Some more tips for testing paint colours - never paint them directly on the wall. Paint them on the back of some thick wallpaper so that you can move it around the room and see it in different lights (and - bonus! - you won't have to paint over a load of patches later). If you do paint it on wallpaper, trim off the edges so you can get a true impression of it. If you are planning to buy loads of tester pots from Farrow and Ball - don't bother. The fandex is painted, not printed (as are their free colour cards), so the colours are a true impression of what they will look like, and you get 132 colours for £15, whereas a tester pot costs about a fiver.
My mum is generally against black furniture, but I think with large doses of white and grey it can add a really graphic element to your decor and wee hint of Scandi noir, so I'm defending it for now.
We replaced that measly little cabinet with a white Ikea Fjalkinge shelf which was a damn near perfect fit. It gave us loads more storage and we used it to store lots of bulky kitchen equipment. I was quite determined that I wanted to put all of my pantry supplies in glass jars, and I made them labels with a Dymo embosser (a tenner from Ryman's, bonus that the labels look quite old-school cool). Let me tell you, that while these do look cool, there are certain disadvantages to them - i) they make moving house a complete pain in the ass, ii) when you want to bake and you need flour, two kinds of sugar and nuts, you'll be going back and forth several times for things you used to be able to pick up with one hand, and iii) nor are they very good for accurate measuring/scooping when you're baking. Professional kitchens may not be glam but they have got things right with their big bins of scoopable flour and sugar (or on a smaller scale, large ice-cream tubs). If I were to re-do it, I'd maybe keep nuts, rice and pasta in jars - otherwise I'd go for this arrangement.
One of my favourite (and very cheap) upgrades was this wall bar for hanging utensils on. It seriously cost about £1.50 and made wiping the worktop a lot less annoying. A+ investment I'd say. My favourite part, though, was the previously much-maligned nook. Look how much nicer it was afterwards! We ended up preferring it to the living room since it was so much cosier. The furniture is a mix of John Lewis, Ikea and TK Maxx finds that we had already, and we polished it up with a plant or two and a nice new print from Desenio (shout out to my brother's girlfriend Caitlin for that recommendation! Also I think I am going to need one of Ikea's new artificial Monstera leaves for the new place). We should definitely have attempted this one sooner, because I'm pretty sure the new colour improved my life by no longer offending my eyes every morning.