Kitchen & dining

RL Makeovers: A Colorful Upgrade for a Compact Kitchen

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila opted for uplifting colors, new furniture picks, and clever home improvement tweaks to transform the space

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Tala Singson Interior Designer: Vera Villarosa-Orila

It’s common for many families to hang out in the kitchen to bond over food and a few well-loved recipes. After all, nothing spells a good weekend other than time spent with loved ones. But what if you don’t have enough space to be able to do the things you love?

In this home owned by foodies, the kitchen and dining areas needed a boost. Aside from the plain and open cupboard, a big dining table takes up floor space, too. To help improve the kitchen and dining areas, RL worked with interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila. Vera immediately took note of the problems that needed to be addressed. From working on the measurements to adding small details, the designer made sure that the family would have a special place where they can indulge in cooking and food tasting.


When working on any home improvement project, it's important to prioritize the problematic areas before spending on accessories and decor. In this kitchen, the counter's height was below the average measurement—making it difficult to work and prepare meals. Vera opted to raise the kitchen counter by adding four inches to meet the standard height of 33 inches.

The task isn't as simple as just adding a few inches—marine plywood was used for the tile substrate and support. Plywood was also added on both sides of the counter to align and fix its proportion. This improvement framed the bottom of the cabinet to create an illusion that it's one whole unit. Proportion was also taken into consideration to make the look seamless.

Kitchen and Dining Areas

Instead of just repainting the open cupboard, Vera decided to add doors first to create overhead cabinets. Doing so helped conceal the essentials of the homeowners, resulting in a clean and streamlined look. Aside from having aquamarine as the dominant color, the designer also painted the other doors in a distressed ombre finish for an interesting retro appeal.

The rest of the space was painted in off-white, with orange serving as accent color. Pops of lively hues were also added as seen in the new furniture pieces and accessories. To create an open and airy feel, the bulky dining table was replaced with a colorful round table from Design Armoire. Completing the look are Terracotta-colored chairs from and a lovely wire droplight from Handyman.

Since the space is tight, the old console table separating the kitchen and dining areas from the living area was replaced with a slim rustic piece from Design Armoire. Additional shelves from Handyman were also installed above the refrigerator to hold more belongings and knickknacks.

After working on the major areas, one must not neglect the little details, too. To complete the new look of the kitchen, Vera replaced tiled backsplash with subway tiles from AllHome. Look closely and see that she used a tinted grout that matches the color of the overhead cabinets. Meanwhile, granite-looking tiles were chosen for the counter.

RL Tip: Aside from highlighting your chosen tiles, tinted grout also conceals dirt. Make sure you clean your backsplash regularly to avoid dirt buildup. Click here to learn more.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila at veravillarosa[at]

Read the original article ("What's For Dinner?") in the November 2016 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

*Ed's note: Final cost does not include designer's fee.

How Much It Costs:

Design Armoire
Dining table and console table - P 41,000
Paints and other construction materials - P 40,000
Labor and assorted construction materials - P 25,000
Grand Total:

More on

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An Improved Apartment for Five Housemates

A Bright and Refreshing Makeover for a 22sqm Unit


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