The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchenWhen I set about my kitchen redesign I thought long and hard about how I wanted it to be. I knew that I wanted it to be bright, white and light filled which was the complete opposite from what we had when we bought the house. You can see the full kitchen tour here with before pictures.

I also knew that I wanted to live in it – it wasn’t going to be a show kitchen. Kitchens are often the most used area of the home these days and as we were lucky enough to be building a kitchen/dining/living space I knew it would be the hub of our home. I didn’t want to have to tip toe around, scared to use it in case I ruined it or marked it.

I cook every day and if I am honest, I am not tidy! If I bake, we can find flour and icing for weeks after, smeared on cupboards, walls and floors! I drop things, spill things and really I don’t know how it happens but food gets everywhere!

I needed my kitchen to be able to stand up to everyday life, the test of time and still look great.

So I did a bit of research and I feel that after four years of full-on use my kitchen has born the brunt of my cooking and (more than) a couple of parties really well.

There are three things that have been instrumental in ensuring my kitchen is durable, hardwearing and has stood the test of time. And just so you know, this post is not an ad or collaboration with any of these brand/products – I just think they are great and want to share them with you.

The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

The 3 best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

Quartz worktop

I was originally torn between an oak worktop or marble…but after a bit of research I realised that despite both looking all sorts of beautiful, I would have to tread very carefully with them.

Enter quartz.

Quartz worktops are made from natural quartz, which is one of the hardest minerals out there. There are a couple of brands available, but we went for Silestone as they had the look we wanted.

It is stain resistant and after four years of hard testing I can confidently say that I have spilled red wine, coffee, beetroot, turmeric and a whole host of other baddies on it (and left some of them to unintentionally soak in for long periods of time) and nothing stays put.

Also because it is such a hard material, I can chop stuff right on it. I put hot pans out the oven straight on to the work top. No searching for worktop savers, no fighting for hob space. Straight on to the worktop.   That to me is the dream!

We chose the colour Lagoon which I still love, but if I was doing my kitchen now there would be no doubt about it that I would chose Calacatta Gold. All of the beauty of marble, none of the stress!

I do realise this does sound like an advert but I just genuinely love it!

The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

Little Greene paint

One of the things I knew I wanted straight away when in the planning stage was a painted kitchen. My husband Will was a little unsure to begin with, preferring a more modern gloss-look cabinet. His hesitance with painted was mainly because he thought it would wear badly, chip and not be able to be wiped clean.

I managed to bring him round to my way of thinking but to be fair to him he did a lot of research to see what was going to work for us. Hilariously he spent a lot of time on Mumsnet (!!) reading the kitchen threads and he got a really great recommendation.

Little Greene, a very lovely British paint and wallpaper company has a paint finish called Flat Oil Eggshell (Interior). They say it is “A hard yet flexible, durable and water resistant oil based paint designed for interior application to suitably prepared surfaces.”

I say it is pretty damn tough, washable and very suited to a busy kitchen.

We painted our cabinets very pale colours (Dash of Soot on the island and Tusk on all other cupboards if you are interested) and have never had to touch up yet. As you already know, they have been splattered with all manner of cooking goods and foodstuffs and taken a battering from pets and visiting kids. Oh – and drunken humans.

It is brilliant and I would never paint a surface that was going to get a good amount of traffic with anything else.

The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

A mottled floor

This one is less specific but no less important if you want a kitchen that is going to let you actually live in it and still look good. I have seen beautiful tiles that are all one solid colour or shiny gloss and ooh-ed at their prettiness. But so much look at them and you will see every footprint, speck of dust or bad mop-job. Even if your home was barely touched, I can guarantee you that there would be marks on the floor that would shout and scream at you LOOK AT ME!

Now if you have one of these floors, please do not take offence. I fully agree that they look great – but I simply would never be able to keep them looking clean.

I am not suggesting I drop a load of rubbish on my floor and just leave it there, I am talking about every day living. I don’t have time to sweep, hoover or mop my floor every day.

I need something that has a variety of colour on it to disguise any little particles that invariable find their way there.

In the end, we went with the Botticino tumbled marble from Floors of Stone  – it is pale and neutral, but has a slight variety in its colour. There are veins, mineral clumps and subtle patches of different colours and hues. All of this means it hides the day-to-day dust and footprints, helping it look fine between its weekly mops.

It is especially perfect if you have pets, children or are a little prone to spills like me!

The three best decisions I made when planning my kitchen

So there you have it. Without a doubt our three best decisions in keeping this kitchen looking great and wearing well.

What’s your thoughts? Do you have any recommendations for a durable, hard-wearing kitchen?



  1. Kimberly
    July 30, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    We currently live in an apartment, but I’m happy to learn what you’ve found to work. Thank u for passing this knowledge on!

    • greeneyed
      July 30, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      You are welcome – hope it comes in useful one day x

  2. Ann Jones
    July 31, 2017 / 1:17 pm

    Fab kitchen! I’m considering stone flooring from the same company as you, but an alternative supplier has advised that it needs sealing every year, which seems a bit of a chore for the large area I’m having. How have you found the surface? Thanks

    • greeneyed
      July 31, 2017 / 10:53 pm

      Hi Ann, we sealed it once when first laid and not again and it seems fine. No doubt we probably should have done it again but it doesn’t seem to have caused us any issues so far (4 years in).We have had to scrub the grout at the sink area once though but I think that’s to be expected! Claire x

  3. July 31, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    Your home is absolutely stunning! Love this post, we will move to a new apartment next spring, and since it’s brand new, we will have to design and build the kitchen from scratch as well. I’m very much drawn towards white and very light colors, but I had some doubts whether that’s a wise decision for a kitchen. So your experience is that iit’s durable and not easily stained/yellowed, right?


    • greeneyed
      July 31, 2017 / 10:56 pm

      Hiya Viktoria! Thank you so much Oooh how exciting on your new apartment! I love paler kitchens and I honestly believe the three things in this post are what have made it durable. It is not stained or yellow at all.
      Good luck with your new place! Claire x

  4. Ryan
    August 2, 2017 / 7:05 am

    Hi there, kitchen looks great! When painting the units did you apply the paint with a brush and did you undercoat first assuming they are solid wood?

    Best wishes!

    • greeneyed
      August 2, 2017 / 8:08 am

      Hi Ryan, thank you so much!
      The company that made the cabinets painted them- as far as I am aware they were undercoated first, and then they were painted by hand once they were in place in my home. You can get them sprayed but it gives a more sleek and polished look and I wanted it to look like a painted kitchen!

      • Ryan
        August 2, 2017 / 3:20 pm

        Thank you for the reply, I’m taking on a similar project in our barn that needs resurrecting, so this is very interesting to see and I’m hoping that ours turns out as well!

  5. Lauren
    August 17, 2017 / 12:19 am

    I think your kitchen is absolutely beautiful. I’m just wondering about the marble floor – have you installed any tile warmers or underfloor heating? If not how does it feel under barefoot?

    • greeneyed
      August 17, 2017 / 7:27 am

      Hi Lauren! Thank you so much, and such a good question! Yes, we have underfloor heating and it is delicious!! It is the water kind so it is very efficient and heats the room (and the floor) beautifully! Claire x

    February 15, 2020 / 4:11 am

    Hello! I love your kitchen! Can you tell me which tiles you used beneath your floating shelves? They look like subway tiles but not sure if they’re a specific kind. Thank you!

    • greeneyed
      March 2, 2020 / 9:12 pm

      They are just regular subway tiles – I’m afraidm I’m not sure where from exactly as we did it quite a number of years ago now and there wasn’t as much choice as there is now x