Kitchen Confidential: Transform Your Home This DIY July With These Savvy Insider Tips

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Builder Nikki Kettle shares simple tricks to transform your kitchen.

When it comes to DIY, Nikki Kettle knows her stuff — the Wellington-based builder, self-taught interior designer and popular Instagrammer has been passionate about renovating since she bought her first home in her early 20s.

“Good design should be accessible to everyone, not just the rich and famous,” says Nikki, who has just completed a laundry renovation with the help of Bunnings. “Everyone should be able to have their home looking a bit special.”

Nikki’s latest project demonstrates the process of modernising cabinetry by adding textured details and fresh colour from Bunnings wide range of interior paint. It’s a simple and savvy way to freshen up a space and doesn’t require a high level of skill or experience, or a long list of tools and materials. Just by changing cabinetry handles and replacing the old stainless steel ones with brass options, adding an accent wall beneath the kitchen island using V Groove Plywood and building a basic kitchen shelving unit, Nicki gave her kitchen a new look and feel.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

“There are lots of simple things you can do that can make a world of difference,” she says. “People put everything they have into buying a house, and quite often they’re left with something they’re not entirely happy with. They might look at projects as something they’ll get around to in the future. But you can often just spend a few hundred dollars to give your home a refresh. It doesn’t have to cost the earth.”

Along with saving money by doing things yourself, it’s also hugely satisfying learning new skills, she adds. Although Nikki was trained as a builder, not a painter, she watched a few YouTube videos, gave it a crack, and now considers herself a dab hand with a roller and paintbrush.

As for making decorating decisions, the best place to start is by researching and discovering what you really like, she says, whether it’s collecting images on Pinterest or creating a physical mood board.

When choosing paint colours, she suggests getting hold of no more than three samples and applying them to A4 sheets of paper that can be hung in situ, to avoid decision fatigue setting in. If the initial three don’t take your fancy, go back and get three more. “Don’t overwhelm yourself with heaps of decisions. Just try three and build from there.”

Nikki grew up with DIY in her blood — her parents let her choose her own room colour as a child (both she and her brother chose silvery walls, she laughs). After leaving school she did a building apprenticeship and bought her first house at 21, launching into her first renovation, something she’s repeated over the years, along with launching her Instagram page, Honey I Pulled A Wall Down, where she documents her room transformations.

It’s a career that has led to a lifetime of discovery. In the early days, she learnt to tile after asking her tiler brother to show her how, and even today she routinely asks fellow professionals for advice. During a recent trip to Bunnings, she spoke to the Bunnings team as well as a painter who happened to be shopping in store, to get tips on painting her metal garage. “People are really willing to share what they know with you so don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says.

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

This is where Bunnings is invaluable, she adds, as it’s a one-stop shop where you can access all the timber, paint, bathroom and kitchen fittings and plants your DIY project requires, along with expert advice. “It’s just so convenient,” says Nikki. “They’re always priced very competitively and there’s the ease of going to one place, knowing they’re going to have the most options because it’s a huge store.”

Keeping things simple and streamlined as much as possible is vital to approaching DIY, she adds, as it allows you to focus on being creative. It’s equally important to create spaces that bring you joy.

“The thing is, it’s your home,” she says. “So you’ve got to do what makes you happy. If you love white, by all means, paint your home white. I like to walk into a room and think, ‘wow, this is interesting and uplifting’. It comes back to personal style.”

For more ideas on how you can transform your space this DIY July, visit

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