How I Did a Kitchen Makeover on a Budget
Goal: Low Budget Kitchen Makeover
The first step in planning a budget-friendly kitchen makeover is deciding how much you are willing to spend. It's up to you to evaluate your kitchen’s pros and cons and decide where your money would be best spent.
When we purchased a foreclosure house a few years ago, the kitchen was a total decorating disaster. Because some other major repairs took priority, our goal was to do the kitchen makeover on a low budget. I wanted the room to be bright, cheerful, and inviting without overspending our budget.
Here's an account of what we did to makeover our kitchen:
Setting a Budget for the Makeover
You can see from the photographs that there was major damage to parts of the kitchen floor, which had to be repaired by a contractor. Once the sub-floors were repaired, we set a budget of $500 for painting and windows and another $1,500 for replacing the flooring. We would be doing the remaining work ourselves, so the major cost would be time and materials.
Before: Kitchen Windows and Cabinets Before Makeover
Evaluate Existing Kitchen Pros and Cons
While our kitchen needed some major repairs to the floor, the rest of the room had a lot going for it. Here are the pros and cons:
Existing Kitchen Pros:
- Large room with an island separating the work area from the dining area
- Four widows made the room bright and sunny.
- Woodwork and windows were solid.
- The stove, range hood and dishwasher were not new, but in good working condition.
- The cabinets and counter tops were solid and not damaged.
Existing Kitchen Cons:
- The wall color, taupe, was depressing and needed freshening up.
- The cabinets, for whatever reason, were two different colors. Some were natural wood and others had been painted green – not my favorite color!
- There were two different styles of knobs on the cabinets and some of it was missing.The range hood was a discolored copper color.
- The seals between the double glass of the windows were broken causing the moisture to collect between the glass pains and fogging the windows.
Before Makeover: Photos of Kitchen Floor
Planning a Color Scheme
My husband and I both like blue, and wanted it to be part of the color scheme. However, blue is a cool color that can be depressing if overdone, so I planned to use it for accents only. The largest walls and walls around the windows would be light yellow. Cabinets and woodwork would be bright white. Blue was reserved for the back splash areas and the cornice over the cabinets. At the end of the project, I decided to paint the island blue, too, as I thought the white would get scuffed up too easily.
Inexpensive Window Treatment
Our kitchen faces our back yard. We enjoy watching bluebirds and humming birds from our kitchen, so I did not want curtains blocking the view. Window treatments would be simple: White pull down shades that could be rolled all the way up and curtain valences on the tops of the windows to hide the rollers and add a little color interest.
AFTER: Pictures of Kitchen Makeover
While we felt that we could use inexpensive primer paint, we wanted to get a high-quality paint for the cabinets and walls—something that would hold up to repeated washing and wear and tear. We went with the Behr Kitchen and Bath Premium paint. Switch plate and outlet covers were inexpensive plastic, but the bright white complemented the woodwork and cabinets. Black cabinet door knobs and painting the range hood black accented of the existing smoked glass oven and dishwasher doors as well as the wrought iron pot hanger that was already there.
- White primer paint.
- Behr Kitchen and Bath Premium Satin finish enamel in white, blue and light yellow.
- Roller pans, rollers and brushes we had on hand.
- Black glossy Rustoleum spray paint for the range hood.
- New black wrought iron knobs for the cabinet doors and drawers to replace miss matched and missing pieces.
- New white switch plate covers.
- Fabric for window valences and place mats.
- Window screening we already had on hand.
The Work Process
Before starting, we wiped down the surfaces with a water and vinegar solution to remove dust and grime. Cabinet doors were removed and laid flat for painting.
Next, all the walls and cabinets were painted with white primer. This would help the final coats of paint adhere to the surfaces and help even out the color. Once that was done, the walls and the woodwork around the window and door frames were painted white. Then the light yellow as applied to all the yellow walls.
The cabinets were the most tedious job as they needed several coats of enamel to cover the green paint and the varnish on the surfaces. Laying cabinet doors flat on saw horses helped prevent drips and made it easier to apply smooth coats of paint. Eventually, four coats of paint was applied to all the wood cabinets, new knobs were installed and they were rehung.
The stove hood was removed and spray painted black with Rustoleum glossy paint – an outdoor job!
Solving the foggy window problem
The fogged window glass remained a problem. We tried contacting the manufacturer without luck, and eventually found a local glass shop that would remove the double glass, replace it and reseal it. The formerly fogged windows looked like new, and the cost was reasonable.
Because our kitchen looks out into a private back yard and a line of trees, I wanted to keep the windows open to sunlight. We installed white pull-down shades which we keep rolled up most of the time, and I made valences from some inexpensive bird print fabric. When I ended with extra fabric, I used it to make matching placemats and potholders.
Cost of Kitchen Makeover
2 Gallons of Primer
5 gallons Kitchen and Bath Satin Enamel
1 can Black Glossy Enamel Spray Paint
10 black knobs for cabinets
8 yards fabric on sale
4 windows - glass and seals replaced
10 white switch plate covers
Kitchen Floor - Villa Stone Travertine Tile
Total Redecorating Cost
Tips for an Inexpensive Kitchen Makeover
While we needed to replace the kitchen floor because of the damage, you can often live with your existing floor and still give your kitchen an inexpensive makeover. Here are some tips:
- Wash and wax. If you don't want to paint, you can do a lot to revitalize your kitchen by washing all the woodwork and cabinets and applying a coat of wax to a natural surfaces. For cabinets with a natural finish, use some Old English Furniture Polish to hide nicks and scratches. It will make a big difference!
- Fresh coat of paint on walls. The most obvious and the most noticeable improvement will be a fresh coat of paint on the walls. If you have china and other accessories you want to keep using, then use the same basic colors, but change the color balances by adding some brighter or darker color accents.
- Change cabinet finish. Paint cabinets or refinish them in a natural color. This takes a lot of elbow grease, but not a lot of money, and you'll make them look fresh and new.
- Replace cabinet hardware. You can give a new look to your cabinets by changing the hardware. Knobs come in prices ranging from $1 to $15 or more. You can spend a lot or a little to freshen up your cabinets.
- New window treatments. Take down your old curtains and put up something new and fresh. If you sew, kitchen curtain are very easy to make from inexpensive fabric. You can make matching placemats, potholders or table runners to match if you wish. Another idea is to replace old cafe curtains with louvered shutters in either white or natural finishes.
- New wall décor. Take down all the old dusty pictures, calendars and wall decorations. Replace them with old plates from your grandmother, framed pictures of your kids' artwork, framed calendar pictures of flowers, fruits or vegetables. If you are a photographer, frame some of your own work for a new look in your kitchen. Check the dollar store or thrift shop for inexpensive prints for a change of scene.
- Get rid of clutter. Your kitchen will seem bigger and brighter if you eliminate clutter. Clear counters of appliances you seldom use and all those little extra things that have collected. Because of limited counter space, I keep my seldom used toaster and bread maker on a shelf in the laundry room. It's tempting to pile mail on the bookcase and miscellaneous things on the island, but I try to keep these areas clear of everything except one or two decorative items.
Redecorate Your Kitchen for YOU!
As you can see, you can make inexpensive changes that will brighten your kitchen and make it a more pleasant place to spend your time. Just remember, you're doing it for you, so use colors that lighten your mood and accessories that make you smile. You don't have to have expensive china or original artwork when you can frame your kid's brightly colored crayon drawing and display a few of your grandmother's favorite plates. Have fun with your project!