Monday, August 15, 2011

Budget Kitchen Makeover

Starting any home makeover or remodel is a daunting task – and a kitchen is no different. In some ways, I think it’s the worst, because if anything goes wrong, of all the rooms in the house – you CAN’T make do without your kitchen!! You NEED it!! In our house, the kitchen is the hub of the home – the very center of activity and these very valid reasons that make it difficult to start this makeover are the very reasons why it should be done! BECAUSE it is the center of the home and activity it should be a place that is inviting, welcoming, bright and a place that makes me HAPPY to be in! {In my small house especially, the kitchen/dining/living room are all one long room and no matter where you look, the kitchen is in your view.} So, even though it took the BIGGEST deep breath to start, I am SO HAPPY with the result!!!

First – this is what my kitchen looked like before the remodeling fun:

Not too shabby, I guess. I had solid oak cabinets to work with. I absolutely DO NOT LIKE those white countertops, but I didn’t have the money to replace them, so I had to work with them. To do so, I originally painted the walls a deep red, which was initially very warm {and did you know red is often used in restaurants because it induces hunger?} It WAS warm, but it was also cave-like in my small kitchen with hardly any light. {See that sad little window? It opens up to a courtyard and not too much light.} So, thus began the idea of the kitchen makeover:

  • Paint the cabinets
  • Paint the walls
  • Change the hardware & hinges
  • Install a backsplash
  • Keep it under $500
  • Do it all within a space of 10 days…

1. CLEAN the cabinets with an industrial cleaner to remove any grease & grime. {Available at your local hardware store; find the cleaner that works best for your type of cabinets. I used concentrated liquid TSP}
If you’re like me – your cabinets may not have been that hard-core cleaned in a while…


2. If you plan on changing or installing hardware, then while the cabinets are still hanging, MEASURE where you would like to drill in the holes for the knobs or handles. {Measure twice – drill once!} Or in my case, measure 4 times and drill twice… But boy did I ENJOY using my drill!!!


In fact, since looking at paint dry is no fun, I kept looking for things in my house that needed drilling! {Aaand along came my mason jar soap dispenser project!} BTW, you can skip this drilling step if you have existing hardware holes you are able to use; OR this step could also be used for removing any existing hardware then or drilling new holes.

3. {IF NEEDED}: LABEL YOUR CABINET DOORS so you don’t get mixed up once you take them all off.
I started labeling mine before I realized every single door in my kitchen was a different size. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Odd – except that it made it easy to take them off and put them back on.

4. Finally, REMOVE the cabinet doors. {When you do, your kitchen may look like this – try not to freak out.}
{You may also notice that I painted the cabinet frames before I realized I didn’t take a picture of all the cabinets off their hinges!! Oh well – sneak peek!}

5. REMOVE ALL final existing HARDWARE – knobs/hinges/etc. from your cabinet doors. {Yay! I get to use my drill again!}

6. LIGHTLY SAND the doors & cabinet frames to prepare them for paint. {If you don’t have solid wood cabinets, or depending on the varnish your original cabinets have, you may need to sand them down all the way. Let’s hope not though.}

7. Use a tacky LINT FREE DUST CLOTH to remove any sanding dust or residue and paint on your first coat! Don’t skip this easy step!

8. PAINT!!! Paint your first coat of paint on your cabinet doors in your color of choice. {I used Alabaster White on the top cabinets and Cathedral Stone Grey on the bottom! – The grey ended up being my FAVORITE!!!} To make it easier to paint your cabinets, you will need a ventilated area to lay them all out and something to raise them off the ground so they can dry evenly. Here is what my garage looked like after one coat of paint:


TIP: An inexpensive alternative to painting sawhorses is BANKERS BOXES. I purchased a 10 pack at Target and used the boxes and lids to hold up my cabinet doors!

9. While the paint is drying on the cabinet doors, go inside and paint the cabinet frames. {I used paint that included primer to save me a step!}


Painting is even more fun when you have a friend to help!


{If he didn’t help, I probably wouldn’t have painted behind my refrigerator.} lol

I used a PAINT BRUSH to get in the grooves of the molding, a ROLLER to quickly paint the faces of the cabinets and a FOAM BRUSH to touch up and smooth out some of the creases.

My cabinet frames needed two coats of paint. The doors used THREE. Remember to wait, and wait and WAIT a couple hours between coats. Watching paint dry is about as fun as waiting for a pot of water to boil, so at least you will have time to paint the walls and frames inside in between coats. You may even have time for a snack or to check your Facebook account…


10. Once you are done with ALL coats of paint needed for your cabinets, coat with a layer of Polyurethane. {Clear, non yellowing}

11. When the paint is completely dry {you may even need to wait 12-24 hours for the paint layers and poly to “set”} you can drill in {yay!} the hinges and hardware.

12. Hang the doors! {This takes longer than you think since you don’t want any crooked doors & you don’t want to mess up your pretty awesome paint job – so be careful!}

14. If you didn’t get started on it while you were painting, now would be a good time to INSTALL THE BACKSPLASH! We started measuring the tile sheets while we were painting so that when the paint was dry we would be ready to hang it up! {Actually tape it up!} We used Home Depots adhesive stainless steel look tile sheets. At $20 a sheet it was still cheaper than tile & grout, and you know what? I really like it! It goes on with either adhesive glue OR double sided industrial tape. {Which is what I used.}



  • MEASURE each tile in the space it needs to go
  • CUT the tile to fit its assigned spot
  • ADHERE with glue or tape ONTO THE WALL!!
I give Chad all the credit for his awesome measuring and cutting skills! I would much rather paint and drill than measure or cut that backsplash!

He was also very meticulous about measuring exactly around the electrical fixtures:


My job was taping:


Am I doing this right??


And FINALLY!!! Voila! The backsplash was done!!


The final FINAL addition to the kitchen redo was installing a shelf above the sink! Easy compared to everything else! I found scrap lumber at Home Depot for $1.00 They cut it to size for me – for FREE, I bought “L” brackets to hang it and – DONE! {Last time I got to use the drill!!!} I actually measured TOO well! It was such an exact  fit that Chad had to hammer the shelf into place with his fist!





The new shelf above my sink:


Top of my cabinets…


Some before and after shots!

Kitchen remodel

Kitchen remodel1

I also painted chalkboard paint inside the doors of one of my cabinets:


I STILL can’t believe this kitchen is in MY house!

  • Cabinets were painted {Alabaster White & Cathedral Stone Grey from LOWES}
  • Walls were painted {Alabaster White}
  • Hardware & hinges were changed {Hinges & drawer pulls from Lowes; knobs & handles from IKEA.}
  • Total DAYS to complete: 6!!! {The days added up this way: 1 day of prepping the cabinets/kitchen, 2 days for painting, 1 day for touching up & backsplash plus 1 day dedicated just for the backsplash, 1 day to put all the cabinets back on, remove tape, place decorations, etc. And my favorite…
  • TOTAL COST: $490!!!
Here is the breakdown of the cost:
    $110 - paint
    $140 – backsplash
    $140 – hinges
    $50 – hardware {knobs, drawer pulls, handles}
    $50 – baskets & décor
    TOTAL COST: $490!
    We made it!! Thank you so much for looking at all the details of this makeover! I am by no means a professional. In fact – this was my FIRST major home remodeling project! It turned out better than I could have hoped, and has me thinking how many first time remodelers are out there? What was YOUR first home remodel project?? Worried about starting your own project? Don’t! I’m here to tell you – YOU CAN DO IT!!! Thanks for reading! God Bless!


    Part of the DIY Showoff Roomspiration Blog Hop:

    And "My favorite post of 2011" Link Party at Home Stories AtoZ and TATERTOTS and JELLO BEST OF 2011
    This kitchen is partying over at:
    Tip Junkie; Today's Creative Blog; Sugar Bee Crafts; Laugh, Love, and Craft;
    Eisy Morgan: Inspired by YOU Wednesday; Ginger Snap Crafts; Blue Cricket Designs; Nothing But Country-Creative Creations Tuesday; Delightful Order; Somewhat Simple; Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage; Domestically Speaking; The Shabby Nest; Chic on a Shoestring ; Fingerprints on the Fridge; Tidy Mom; Little Lucy Lu; French Country Cottage; At the Picket Fence; Tatortots and Jello; Be Different, Act Normal; C.R.A.F.T.; CraftOManiac Mondays; The Gunny Sack ; Home Savvy A to Z; Homemaker in Heels; The Gunny Sack


    Gallamore West said...

    Gorgeous!! I love your kitchen makeover!

    Delightful Order said...

    Great Makeover!

    Cindy@Cinsarah said...

    Love the transformation!! Your kitchen look fabulous!! :)

    Ruth said...

    I love it. Looks beautiful. Great job.


    the cape on the corner said...

    that is fantastic! i'm totally impressed you did all of this yourself, and that rocks your friend helped with the backsplash. it looks like a totally different space!

    i wish i could get on board with these white kitchens, but my boyfriend tells me our cherry cabinets are not going anywhere. boo. maybe i can do some open shelving, at least.

    Leslie said...

    Gorgeous remodel! I’m thinking about using grey in my craft room reno (which was originally an old kitchen), and these are fantastic tips...thanks!

    Heather said...

    I love your kitchen! I'm sure it is fun to cook in.:) You guys did a great job. Love the back splash!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren said...

    This looks awesome! You've done such a great job. The gray looks perfect on the bottom and I like the touch of chalkboard on the inside of one. Way to stay under your budget!!

    Anonymous said...

    That looks great, you did a great job with it! It opens up your kitchen SO much!!

    Emily said...

    love your kitchen! it turned out amazing!!!

    Hi, I'm Suz!! said...

    Reannah -

    I love your kitchen! You did a fantastic job!! Love the backsplash and the color of the bottom cabinets! It sets off the lighter color and makes the room so much brighter!!

    Hugs ~~ Suz

    Kathryn Griffin said...

    Love your white kitchen! Makes it so much brighter. Found you via Little Lucy Lu. Pop on over for a visit and check out my white kitchen. Tootles, Kathryn

    Marianne said...

    YOu did a beautiful job on your kitchen . It is so much lighter and brighter and makes the entire kitchen look bigger. You should be very proud of yourself. You did a fantastic job on your first big home remodeling project.
    Marianne :)

    Anonymous said...

    My hubby and I did a very similar change in the kitchen of our first house. First we cut beadboard panels and used construction adhesive to adhere them to the inset of the cabinet doors, then we painted them. We also added puck lights to the under side of the uppers. Added molding to tops of cabinets as well. Your kitchen looks great!:)

    SJ @ Homemaker On A Dime said...

    What a great makeover! Turned out classy.

    Btw, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog. Hope you can swing by again to join my Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop this Sunday at 5 pm :)

    time worn interiors said...

    What an amazing makeover! Looks great! I love it! Love how you painted lower cabinet a different color and I love the back splash! Great job!

    Michelle said...

    Absolutely stunning!

    Lina - Fancy Frugal Life said...

    I love the result! beautiful! This is a great post :)

    At The Picket Fence said...

    What an absolutely amazing transformation!! You did such a terrific job and everything looks gorgeous. :-) I love the backsplash especially and you should be so proud of yourself. We are thrilled that you shared this with us at Inspiration Friday this week and we hope to see lots more of you in the future!

    notyet100 said...

    Wow this looks so good

    Jamie said...

    So gorgeous! Great job!!!! We had almost the exact same finishes in out kitchen when we moved into our house (red backsplash, oaky looking cabinets and an off white countertop). It had to be neutralized! :) I love yours even more than out kitchen update.

    katie@tulsadetails said...

    What a huge difference! I can tell it is so much lighter in there. Looks great!

    Anke said...

    You did a great job!!! I love how it turned out!

    TidyMom said...

    I'm in AWE!! LOVE what you did!!

    Thanks so much for linking up! I featured your post in my wrap up Have a great weekend!

    Jensamom23 said...

    Am here from TT&J and am so happy I am! What a beautiful job you did. I have been wanting to paint my oak, kitchen cabinets since the day we move in 8 years ago...Hubby not so sure. Showing this to him might just be thepush I need. I especially like that you painted the upper and lower cabints different colors. It is all lovely!

    Margie said...

    This is so awesome!! Love it-pinning for future use in my own kitchen remodel!

    Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia said...

    That looks amazing, I dream of white cabinets :)

    Sandy said...

    This is incredible! What a difference, I HAVE to think about getting this done this cabinets are so ugly!!!! Thank you for this wonderful tutorial, the photos re great! What's next????? LOL Sandy @ 521 Lake Street

    Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

    This kitchen re-do is phenomenal. I love the tutorial and the great pix! pinned, tweeted and stumbled this!

    Victoria ObSEUSSed said...

    Saw this featured on Tatertots & Jello. This is a fabulous updated kitchen! I adore your back-splash. (I'll be pinning it). I've been wanting something like that in my kitchen Diner (we just put in diamond plate under our bar for the kids to kick) and we want something silver as a backsplash. You make it look so easy. I'll have to check HD for their metal sheets. Here is my diner:

    Sunla Designs said...

    I found you on C.R.A.F.T., and I just LOVE what you did. I have been wanting to redo my kitchen since we finished it 5 years ago!

    By the way, I am hosting a giveaway right now & would love to have you check it out!

    Your newest follower!

    Mariaelena said...

    Great job...getting ready to do mine too....I love the backsplash you both did a wonderful job...wishing you many years of happiness in that kitchen!!....going back to follow...come on over for a visit too....Mariaelena

    Courtney ~ French Country Cottage said...

    Your kitchen looks wonderful- love the tin tile backsplash too~well done!! Thanks for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

    Tonia @ said...

    Wow this is amazing, Reannah!! You did such a fabulous job and I LOVE that backsplash!!

    Thanks so much for linking up to my new party! I feel like the new kid at school...worried no one would play with me so thanks for playing!

    Karie @ The HoB said...

    What a great re-do! Looks amazing! And only $490 that is just awesome!!

    The DIY Show Off said...

    What an unbelievable transformation on an awesome budget! It looks like an entirely different home - so light and fresh and pretty! Great job!

    Thanks so much for joining the Roomspiration party and linking your inspiring kitchen! ;)

    shany said...

    I love this blog very creative
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    Linda @ It All Started with Paint said...

    Stopping by from your feature at Tatertots & Jello top 25 of 2011 part 2. This transformation is amazing ...

    I had to laugh that you hate the white counter tops because when I diy'd my kitchen, the solid white Silestone (quartz) counter tops were my big splurge! To each his own ...

    Jamie @ the Backless Shirt Blog said...

    Great job! I also love the gray color on your lower cabinets! I can relate to being nervous before starting a big project. My husband and I have made over about 85% of our house but most of it was before I started blogging so I don't have the great 'journal' of our transformation.
    I'm your newest follower! And came over from TT&J.

    Nat and Holly said...

    Just found this on Remodelaholic... I love the transformation! I also adore that Kitchen measurements print... where did you get it? Thanks so much!

    Six Sisters said...

    Love the new kitchen! We would love to have you come share your great ideas at our weekly link party every Saturday! -The Sisters

    Tina said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tina said...

    awesome remodel~ it always feels good to accomplish something like this! it is hard work, but when you are done you can stand back and look at it and say " I did that!"

    Mrs. Banks said...

    I love the bachsplash! I really might have to copy that idea! Now that you've had it in the kitchen for a bit, do you still love it? Is it easy to keep clean? I definitely need something low mantainence.

    Reannah @ {Shaped by Grace} said...

    Thanks for your question Mrs. Banks! I still love it! :)It wipes clean very easily and I even have it behind the top of my stove so I know it does well with heat too! I am all about low maintenance too and this back splash works great! :)

    rateovater said...


    Great work! I have a whole house to do on a small budget so your work here is encouraging. Please check out my progress in the future. Your pennies are definitely worth more than two cents!

    Dianne Grover said...

    Your kitchen looks chic! I really appreciate seeing a nice looking kitchen more if I know that the owners took the time and effort to come up with their own designs or work closely with their home builders Missouri to be able to achieve the dream look that they want for the space. This shows that they are dedicated in improving the look of their kitchen and they would accomplish this in minimal time even if they are on a budget. Thanks for sharing!

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you so much for letting us know this one. I'm glad to see your kitchen cabinet. Very attractive design I like it. I will visit your blog everyday to look if there is an update. Anyway if you want to remodel your Kitchen Cabinets just Click here.

    Kristopher said...

    AWESOME! It looks totally different! I think white is the favorite color for the kitchen nowadays. I also like the backsplash that you chose! It's very unusual to see something like these inside the kitchen, but it works! I'm so amazed with the whole transformation! This is a true budget-friendly makeover! :)

    Kristopher Diss

    Sally Frenette said...

    Awesome job. I love it. I think I will use that backsplash instead of the radiator sheet metal, its waaaayyyy easier and cuter. :)

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    osvaldo anderson said...

    As a mother and queen of my house, I want my home to be comfortable that is why I cannot help to remodel my home.
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    NorthEast FactoryDirect said...

    Truly beautiful! Love everything – from your new kitchen,You did an amazing job. 

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    Home Stars said...

    I am so happy to have found your blog! Your kitchen makeover looks beautiful! The information you have shared is very informative. thanks

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    Caezar poulin said...

     you really did a beautiful job! I love how bright & fresh everything looks. What an improvement. 

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    mike stathos said...

    Thanks for sharing about kitchen remodel austin before and after Pictures.
    I absolutely love your kitchen.

    Smith Pitter47 said...

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