tcollz

How can we update our kitchen on the cheap?

tcollz
3 months ago

We have purchased our first home and the kitchen is functional, but dated. I'm interested in affordable ideas to bring it up-to-date. We will be on-selling the property at some point.


My main plan with the kitchen is to add some custom built shelves down the end, and we also added one of Ikea's rails, which has given it a nice focal point. We have also added a new, tall black and silver pull-out faucet, which looks great but we have not replaced the old sink. We also bought a dishwasher (I foolishly chose a white one thinking it would blend better but it is a totally different shade to the cupboards and the rest of the white goods).


In terms of what I like, I absolutely love green kitchens in pretty much any shade, but especially the more muted tones.


My thoughts were to paint the kitchen cabinets, replace (or cover?) the benchtop and update all the pulls as well as add the open shelves down the end in a warmish wood tone. And update the horribly outdated tile backsplash (not really visible in the photos, but pinkish with flowers).


If anyone else has upgraded a kitchen rather than replace doing any of these I would really appreciate suggestions on what works well and what doesn't.


In addition to budget, we really want to minimise our environmental impact wherever possible. We are not massively handy people - I can paint and we can put up shelves, but I don't want to do a dodgy home job on other things if it will obviously affect the end result (e.g. tiling the backsplash).


PS - at some point I will be updating those horrid floor tiles as well - I am thinking either bamboo, which I love but I've heard is expensive, or cork, which might affect the sale value. Any ideas there too are welcome.



Comments (41)

  • NancyD
    3 months ago

    A simple idea to try: paint or stain just the wood strip at the countertop edge, in a black or dark Jacobean brown. Then try black or ORB handles. In fact, try one handle before buying as many as you need. This one, small effort might be enough to inspire other changes. When you’re not sure if you can do all the work or don’t want to do spend a lot, it’s a good idea to start slowly.

  • AJCN
    3 months ago

    Congratulations on buying your first home!


    Especially since it’s your first home, and you say the kitchen is functional, I recommend you move in and live there 6 months or a year before doing anything major. During that time, you can browse inspiration photos online and in magazines, check out and read DIY books from the library, test out and improve your DIY skills by doing some minor fixes and such around the house, and save up money. If you think you’re going to paint the kitchen cabinets yourself, you need to research that extensively. Before you DIY paint your own cabinets, buy a few old cabinets from a local Habitat ReStore or other used furniture place and test/improve your cabinet prep/paint skills on those.


    If you spend some time living there a while, you’ll be able to plan, research, and save. That time will enable you to execute a plan that meets your goals, especially your environmentally conscientious goal.

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  • Super Lumen
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Well, if you aren't super handy, there isn't that far you can go on the cheap. The things making it look dated are the counters and floors, with a sprinkling of bad backsplash, baseboard, and handle hardware thrown in.


    Simply replacing the cabinet handles would be a pretty big impact for minimal $$, and replace the baseboard in the eating area. Get some new window and door treatments, and paint. Then go pick out some nicer light fixtures. However, after that the floors, counters, and backsplash are on the list and those are big ticket items.

  • Ig222
    3 months ago

    what is cheap for you? Different people have different ideas of what that means? I am sure your kitchen can be made yours without massive renovations, but knowing if this means changing handles and lighting, changing countertops, or something else will also depends on your budget.

  • herbflavor
    3 months ago

    I wouldn’t touch the cabinets counter or hardware. They are a classic combo and look in good shape all fitted in and with good practical use left. The beechwood edging and matching wood handles are really beautiful : consider a new floor in that general tone you’d then find the detail pops in a good way: It need not be expensive : vinyl planks in a wood look can seriously upgrade the whole space. new light fixtures ... go custom w the two at ceiling : maybe sconces on that dining wall . Layer In Some atmosphere. I’d skip stuff put up on walls unless you need it. Go in perhaps for some art pieces but my takeaway is embrace the minimalistic classic space you have. Less is more : on to floor and lighting.

  • tcollz
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks everyone for your input. Has anyone tried to paint their kitchen cabinets?

  • tcollz
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @lg222 I haven’t got a budget in mind sorry. I’m looking to add value to the home and we can do it over time

  • Ephma
    2 months ago

    I think those cabinets are coming back in style! I’d wait a bit before doing anything to them. I think it’s the white on white on white and square floor tiles that are giving the kitchen a hospital vibe that I don’t love, but changing backsplash and floor could go a long way.

  • eld6161
    2 months ago

    Haven’t read the other replies. I have see photos were people just paint the wood trim a color match to the cabinets.

  • functionthenlook
    2 months ago

    I also like the cabinets the way they are. They are not the run of the mill cookie cutter . If the paint is not chipped of cracked I would leave as is. Live with them a little and down the road if you still don't like them then paint them. I think a little color in accessories will help. Plus the biggest thing I would do is to paint your grout a lighter color. There is products just made for painting grout. I did my bath and entry hall and it made a big difference and is holding up very well. It is tedious work, but worth it.

  • tcollz
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks Ephma, I see what you mean! Once we get our wooden shelves in at the end I think that’s going to help reduce the hospital affect as well.

    I really hate the floors but will have to wait a few years before we can replace them. I am thinking either bamboo or cork to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

    Perhaps in the interim, I should just focus on the backsplash and maybe a new benchtop.

    Functionthenlook, great idea about the grout.

  • Rachel Lee
    2 months ago

    I would paint out the wood strip around the countertops, replace hardware, install shelves at the end wall, and add a colorful runner down the middle.

  • Lisa
    2 months ago

    Can you lighten up the grout in the tile floor? Then buy rugs.. they can make a huge difference. Congrats on the house!

  • PRO
    JudyG Designs
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    The only big thing I would do is paint the cabinets gray, change the hardware and have the floor steam cleaned.

    The wall color is very yellow, try something like this tone for the walls.







  • Florence Saleh
    2 months ago

    You have received a lot of good ideas so I’ll just add a comment on the lattice work on the windows and slider. Can it be removed? Does it have a purpose, secure?, and if so, can it be updated to be less dated and dark?

  • shwshw
    2 months ago

    A rug or two on your floor might help since you don't seem to like it. www.ruggable.com

  • auntthelma
    2 months ago

    In addition to rugs and your shelves, art will vastly improve the warmth of this kitchen. The breakfast room wall is begging for a beautiful painting.

  • Maureen
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I repainted my kitchen cabinets about 6 months ago in a two tone style and it was well worth the 22 hours of prep and painting and have never regretted it. I thought the link below may help you decide. I waited 10 years as I was afraid of the outcome and wish I had done it a long time ago. Around the handles on the 2 most used cupboards paint will wear occasionally and I just use a Q-tip to touch up.

    https://www.paintedbykaylapayne.com/budget-kitchen-update/

    Additional ideas:

    - white uppers and green lowers will off set the floor by becoming more prominent. Add runner and a rug in dining area to help as well.


    - Buy hardware in bulk to save a lot of money. We bought ours at Home Depot, but Amazon sells in bulk as well. Make sure the size is correct


    - Bamboo blinds on window and sliding door will compliment the wooden shelving you are adding


    - A great dining set and new lighting will make a difference. Look for a second hand harvest table and paint the chairs black and add something impactful on wall


    - Maybe look into cost of removing tile and repairing wall. Paint whole kitchen white and just tile behind stove using self adhesive stainless steel. We did this ourselves and it’s an easy job and Not expensive. We used standard individual sized subway, but they also come smaller on sheets. We just had to have a few cut at the tile store.




    With just moving in (congratulations) you’ll have a lot to do. Wait until you settle in, research, have a plan and the dedicated time to do this makeover - if you decide to go that route.

  • THOR, Son of ODIN
    2 months ago

    Painting the tile floor grout can be a big improvement.

  • njmomma
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    @Maureen

    You always have such wonderful advice and decorating ideas.

    I would love to see your kitchen!

    Can you post pictures?

  • apple_pie_order
    2 months ago

    Your cabinets look like Melamine or another synthetic, not wood. They require different painting techniques. Try showing the edge of a door and the outside of a drawer to show how they are made.

    What geographic area are you in, roughly? Paint formulations can vary by country.

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    Amy Peltier Interior Design & Home
    2 months ago

    We wanted to share some of our designs with you in the hopes it might help inspire you with your kitchen design.


    Modern Ranch · More Info


    New Build · More Info


    Transitional Home · More Info


  • Paula A
    2 months ago

    "Budget friendly" means something different to everyone, but I'd start with this: paint the wood trim, replace the pulls, install a new faucet (possibly a new sink too, I can't see it well in the pics), new lighting fixture, hang some floating shelves along the back wall for a few cookbooks, plants, etc), paint the grout (those pics above are amazing) and replace the missing appliances. I think that will give you an amazing transformation. I'd love to see your after pics.

  • mrykbee
    2 months ago

    Clean and paint the floor grout and put a rug down in both areas.

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)
    2 months ago

    Definitely paint the grout, that alone will make a world of difference. I wonder how it would look if you painted the wood trim black and switched the handles to brass? New sink, faucet and light...

  • Whatever
    2 months ago

    I painted the grout on my kitchen floors made a world of difference. Paint at HD
    They are still an old style but better and a really cheap fix. Going further cover them
    With floating floor vinyl plank fairly cheap easy for diy
    Painting cabinets are hard to make look good.
    Shelves with colorful serving pieces or a big dominate colorful art work at the end

  • Amber S
    2 months ago

    I would paint the floor grout, add open shelving at the end and be done with it.

  • Maureen
    2 months ago

    @njmomma Thanks for your comments. We downsized from a 3,800 sq ft home to a small sidesplit, so kitchen is quite small. We didn’t want to spend a lot to update and it’s not an exceptional kitchen, but we really like how the cabinets and floor turned out and hope the pictures of this section of kitchen help



  • njmomma
    2 months ago

    @Maureen Love it!


  • tcollz
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Hi everyone

    Thanks for all your input so far, there have been some great ideas! Sorry for only including the real estate photos upfront. Here is what the kitchen and dining (since there have been a few comments on that as well) look like right now. As I mentioned in my original lost we are putting up two floating wood shelves at the end of the kitchen for visual balance and because I like open shelves. We’ve a quote for them to be custom built at $1200 which is why we haven’t done it yet.

  • njmomma
    2 months ago

    The kitchen is great! Clean up the wood handles and trim. Your good to go! Wall color is key.

    Once you change the paint color on the walls, you may think differently about the kitchen. Add a coordinated area rug to the kitchen and some accessories. Change out kitchen light.

    Bring the wall color into the dining room. I love what you have there. Art, lamp and dining set are great. Change out the sliding glass door treatment. Wait on that to change last.


    $1,200 for two shelves..... Make sure they match the rest of the wood in your kitchen.

  • megs1030
    2 months ago

    I'm a big fan of living in a space for at least 6 months before making any changes. If the layout works for you, that is awesome! If you plan on selling down the road (within 2-5 years), I'd keep changes to a minimum and price competitively to sell.


    Some less expensive fixes would be to paint the walls. Update cabinet hardware. You can certainly paint the cabinets... but it's expensive to have it done professionally and timely to DIY, it's not impossible though. You could also look into refacing your cabinets. Or replacing countertops. But without defining what "cheap" is to you, it's impossible to advise. I would absolutely take a look at your finances and define cheap before you get started on anything.

  • vhamley
    2 months ago

    Have you looked at IKEA or Pottery Barn for floating shelves? You could also check sites like Etsy and Wayfair to see what might be available. They may not be exactly what you could have built, but for a smaller investment, I’m sure you could find something that would work for you. Painting the floor grout and adding runners and area rugs will make a huge difference in the space, too.

  • njmomma
    2 months ago

    Whatever you decide, keep us in the loop. We love seeing the transformation :-)

  • er612
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I'd paint the floor & door trim white to match the crown molding and install a new lights. Also remove or replace the blinds.



  • dazu1
    2 months ago

    I agree with those who say live with it for a while which is always easier said than done. 2 pretty handy friends tackled cabinet painting/resurfacing and both were fiascos that ended up in more money spent on cabinet door replacements. I like your slab front white cabs, and if this is not your forever home green cabinets will not be a selling point. Save up for a change of flooring and countertops and pulls. In the meantime, enjoy cooking in that big bright airy space😊

  • Maureen
    2 months ago

    If you purchased the width of wood you want for the shelves and have them cut to size, stain yourselves and buy brackets (even if you need help hanging them) it’s an easy and inexpensive job. See link below for more information https://www.allisajacobs.com/how-to-make-open-shelving-a-diy-wood-shelf-tutorial/

  • tcollz
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks Maureen, we have hung shelves elsewhere, but we wanted floating shelves in the kitchen and we were worried about not making them strong enough

  • THOR, Son of ODIN
    2 months ago

    How To Build Floating Shelves

    https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/how-to-build-floating-shelves-2/

    You can buy floating shelves in stores or online for $20 to $80 each. But before you do that, consider building your own. For about the same cost, you can get the exact size, thickness and look you want. You can even finish them to match your trim or furniture. And your homemade shelves will be sturdier than most store-bought shelves – ours can support about 50 lbs. each. Plus, you’ll earn serious bragging rights when you’re done.

    By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

    Time: A few hours

    Complexity: Beginner

    Cost: $101–250