I’m finally getting around to sharing our super budget-friendly kitchen makeover, which I am very excited about. I know what you’re thinking: $1000 is still a lot of money! (Or maybe you’re not…in which case EXCUUUUSE ME KIM KARDASHIAN).
Seriously though, in terms of kitchens, $1k is a drop in the bucket, especially when you get into new cupboards, counter tops, back splashes, appliances, flooring (and on and on). I would love to completely gut this kitchen one day, but that isn’t in the cards for quite some time (unless someone has an extra $25k they want to send my way?) Rather than live in misery with a kitchen I hated, I decided to make some cost effective improvements that would help tide me over until the money fairy makes an appearance. I spend a lot of time in our kitchen, and wanted to make the space feel a little more cohesive with the rest of the house.
One of the very first things we ever did to the kitchen a few years before this makeover even started, was to cut an opening into the wall that separated the kitchen from our living room.
We added a little breakfast bar and it is a TOTAL game-changer. I love it. You can see how we did it here.
So the major fuggo factor in the kitchen were the cupboards. Golden oak, with that horrible cathedral detail in the uppers. WHY. I actually LOVE wood cupboards (which seems to be a very unpopular choice) but the finish and style of the ones in my kitchen was bad. So bad. I decided to spray paint them black and update the hardware, which I personally think made a huge impact. You can see how I did that in my blog post here.
Next up: changing out the counter tops.
I went with these IKEA laminate EKBACKEN faux-marble beauties. They are crazy low maintenance and super easy to install. We just popped our old counters off, cut the pieces of new counter to length, and attached them back on to the cupboards.
They are so durable, and impossible to stain (believe me Matt has tried) plus I think they look pretty fresh. If I’m being totally honest I would probably go with the same thing again even if I had a million dollar budget.
Also, credit where credit is due. Usually I do about 95% of the work on any given project that I share on the blog, but Matt really did the brunt of it this time. I was pretty pregnant so I cashed that chip in a LOT.
After we installed the new counters, we ended up swapping out our old stainless steel sink for a new granite one. The new sink and faucet were what ate up over half of our budget, but it was totally worth it. I couldn’t bear to put our scummy old stainless steel back, so this felt like a worthwhile splurge. The granite is amazing: there are never any water stains and it’s a breeze to keep clean. I also loooove having one giant basin rather than two. (Comes in handy for soaking large dishware, and baby baths, too!)
Because the disgusting old counter tops we removed had the infamous nineties back splash lip (and I knew we weren’t replacing the back splash) I had to trim it out to fill in the gap (shown below).
I used 1×3 pre-primed MDF and it luckily fit the space perfectly. I nailed the trim in place and filled in all the holes/cut lines before painting and caulking.
Replacing the back splash actually wouldn’t have been that expensive (subway tile is cheap and trendy) but in the end we decided that going through all the trouble to rip the old tiles down and re-tile, only to (hopefully) properly renovate the kitchen in 3 or 4 years time seemed a little nuts. Leaving it as is was absolutely out of the question, since whoever built the house decided to pop a floral tile into the mix every so often. There was no rhyme or reason to it: you’d be minding your own business, making some toast and BAM! Floral tile.
So after cleaning it really well, I primed the back splash with a heavy duty primer (it was a Zinsser brand) and then painted the entire back splash using tile paint (also by Zinsser). I was honestly very skeptical at first because it was not going on well and the coverage was poor.
However, after the first coat, things were marginally better, and by the third coat it was looking like a brand new back splash. It’s been over a year and I have no complaints: it cleans up like a dream and I’ve had no issues with the paint coming off or scratching at all.
A few smaller things we did were to replace the trim around the window with pine (to match the breakfast bar) and switch out the overhead kitchen light with a simple hanging globe.
I also did a little shiplap-esque paneling in the microwave hole to warm up all the black. It always makes me feel so happy to see how the smallest changes can make big impacts.
Now for the fun part! Some before and afters! Please don’t judge me too harshly on the photography: this space is very difficult to photograph due to the lighting and layout. I DID MY BEST!
I love how painting the cupboards has made it look less dated than before.
I took the doors off the top cupboards to give a little bit of open shelving and used pine shiplap to warm up all the black.
Plants are obviously another one of my go-to tricks for making a black and white space feel warm and inviting!
Ugh these pictures are trash but here you can see how the squared edges of the new counters have really updated the entire look.
This is the view from our living room through the wall opening. Adding that breakfast bar was a great decision and we use it all the time.
I love the new sink and haven’t regretted going with one large basin versus two smaller ones even a little. The granite is also much easier to keep clean than stainless steel.
I think getting rid of the fussy trim with those terrible corner squares was a good choice. It mirrors the trim around the breakfast bar now.
I hide all our junk on the other side of the fridge and refused to move it for this photo. Those takeout menus magnet-ed to the fridge are some of my most prized possessions. (I’m looking at you, Richie’s Pizza.)
And one more after for good measure:
So there it is! In case you’re interested, here is a rough estimate of our cost break down:
- Cupboards (paint, prep supplies, new hardware): $200
- Counter tops: $293
- Backsplash trim (I already had the paint): $30
- Sink and faucet: $425
- Window trim and microwave-hole paneling: $35
- Light fixture: $5 (Value Village find!)
Total cost: $988 big ones. Again, I know that’s not chump change. But for a new(ish) kitchen in under 4 weeks, I’d say it’s pretty deece!
Still on my list are new floors (something DIY’d, stay tuned) and replacing the spotlight above the kitchen sink. I’d love to hear what you guys think about the makeover, and if it was worth it. Would have just left it as is until you were able to build your dream kitchen? Let me know in the comments!