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Please help me update this kitchen on a budget!

Karo A
last month
last modified: last month

This furniture is not staying, we just bought the house. We cant afford a full remodel. we will be installing luxury vinyl flooring in a very light white oak , and we will be painting walls a warm white, removing the light box and installing recessed lights, remove hanging cabinet and installing pendant lights. but what do i do abt this old school granite (santa cecilia granite) and cabinets?


Comments (83)

  • vjs12
    last month

    I had my floor replaced around my cabinets and they take off the
    Quarter round and put the tile or whatever you choose right up to the cabinets and put the quarter round back on. It’s not an issue.

    Karo A thanked vjs12
  • w93639
    last month

    Check out https://www.kylieminteriors.ca/ she helps update your home by choosing paint ( less expensive ) to make your granite ( expensive ) look great…

    Karo A thanked w93639
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  • shirlpp
    last month

    If you need to remove the dishwasher for any reason, you will have to lift the counters off to get it out.


    Your dishwasher probably has adjustable feet that can go up a bit to get the dishwasher out - when and if ever needed.

    Karo A thanked shirlpp
  • mcarroll16
    last month

    The main thing is to remove the old flooring first, so that the new flooring is more or less level with the floor under the dishwasher. The big problems start when people layer one flooring over another, so that the dishwasher is sitting below the level of the main floor, and can't be lifted out without removing the countertop.

    Karo A thanked mcarroll16
  • Maria M.
    last month

    No one anticipates their dishwasher breaking down.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Ok, if that happens we will have to figure it out.

  • dmac1108
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Karo A - first off, CONGRATULATIONS on your new home!

    I have an important question for you:

    Are you actually planning to fully renovate your kitchen at some point? Your initial post only asked for help re: updating your kitchen on a budget. You never actually said that you’re planning a full kitchen renovation at some point in the future - some people assumed that you’d be doing one - and started providing advice/suggestions based with that assumption in mind.

    Based upon what I read in your posts, I don’t think that you’re actually planning for a future full renovation of this kitchen. I think many times people see a ”dated” kitchen, and just assume that the person posting will eventually be doing a full renovation, so they want to stop you from wasting money now on things you will be changing later. Also, sometimes people are so used to providing renovation advice, that they forget that some people just want to ”pretty up” their existing space - and don’t need/want a ”Houzz Kitchen” (FYI - my SO wishes that I didn’t want my dream kitchen - and honestly, after experiencing ”renovation hell” related to two bathrooms, I‘m starting to “rethink” the scope of my upcoming kitchen renovation - I’m not sure that I/we will be able to handle the stress of a full kitchen reno!)

    You’ve received some good advice related to just updating your kitchen from several people.

    I have a few questions/thoughts:

    1. Have you peeked up into your flourescent lighting to see if you can tell if it can be removed fairly easily? Luckily (LOL!), I just have one of those drop down oak boxes over my island - my ceiling is completely finished - I just have to take down the oak box + remove the flourescent bulbs (plus, a little patching) in order to add different light fixtures over my island. I’ve seen quite a few recessed ones similar to yours that have been removed - some were pretty easy - and some were difficult.

    2. If it was my kitchen, I would also make a few small holes in order to see what’s hiding (if anything) in your soffits. Amazon has flexible camera snakes that connect to your phone that will allow you to see what’s hiding in your soffits without having to cause a bunch of drywall damage. It would really make a huge difference if you could remove (i) the upper cabinets over your peninsula + (ii) the floursecent lighting.

    3. How does the current finish on your cabinets look? Do they look like the prior owners just quickly painted their oak cabinets white = brush marks/chipped paint OR do they look professionally finished? If they look professionally finished, I would leave them white - however - if they look like DIY painted cabinets, I would paint them. FYI - not all DIY painted cabinets look like ”DIY painted cabinets” - it all depends on the prep work + quality of finishing products used (a friend of mine spent quite a bit of time painting his cabinets when he bought his house several years ago, amd they still look amazing - he did a ton of prep work + sprayed them with some professional type of finish - not paint you can just walk into any Sherwin Williams and purchase).

    4. If you aren’t planning on fully renovating your kitchen, I would go ahead and run new flooring throughout the house. You will be SO MUCH HAPPIER once the bad carpet + damaged laminate is removed. If you think you might do some type of future renovations in your kitchen, then you need to think about whether changing lower cabinets will be part of your plans in order to calculate extra flooring to use in the future. If you could find a decent deal on wood floors (even engineered wood as long as it can be refinished at least one time), you wouldn’t have to try to calculate how much extra to purchase now (for example, if you purchased red oak flooring, it could be woven in later and finished to match). I would hate for you to spend $$$ on extra flooring, and then not need it later.


    If you used an inexpensive tile for the kitchen, that might be more cost friendly if you want to purchase extra now for possible use later. You also could use it in one of your bathrooms later in the event you wound up not needing it for your kitchen.


    5. Hopefully @Beth H. : will see this. She always has incredible advice on how to update kitchens on a budget!


    You have a very spacious kitchen - if you make some of the suggested updates, I’m sure it will look great!

    Karo A thanked dmac1108
  • vjs12
    last month

    Mccarrol, The top of the dishwasher is usually screwed into the underside of the counter top so removal of the countertop isn’t needed. (This was my experience and other people I know).

    Karo A thanked vjs12
  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Very helpful feedback , im learning so much! thank you all

  • mcarroll16
    last month

    @vjs12 it's not about how the dishwasher is attached. It's about whether there is enough clearance, floor to countertop, to pull it out. If the floor height increases too much after the dishwasher goes in, there's not enough clearance between floor and counter to pull the appliance out. The best way to future-proof is to make sure any new flooring sits at basically the same height as whatever subfloor the DW is sitting on.

  • vjs12
    last month

    Mccarrol, thank you for explaining I misunderstood. That totally makes sense.

  • vjs12
    last month

    When I got my new floor, I also got a new dishwasher. So the new floor was installed where the dishwasher would be and then the new dishwasher went right in and was attached to the underside of the counter.

  • Kady Q
    last month

    What color cabinets to you like? I know you talked about painting them and I don't agree with those that said it's too expensive - it costs no where near as much as new quality cabinets. That said, are your cabinets worth painting? If they're not I wouldn't bother.

    The combination of warm flooring, warm furniture and white cabinets and peach walls is bringing out the orange tones in everything. Take a look at the the pic I attached. You can see how dark grey cabinets change the tone of the counters. Can you imagine grey cabinets with some nice bronze or black hardware? You will need to be careful in your space. You have lots of different light sources so you'll want to find colors that look good at different times of the day in different locations. Get some paint samples and paint some big posterboards. Move them around and see how they look. You can do this for walls and cabinets. If you decide to paint your cabinets, do that first then decide on a wall color. Note about color, if you have 'yellow' warm light bulbs - get rid of them. You want to get light bulbs that will bring out cool tones. I would also massively de clutter. Keep only the decorations you love. Look at photos of your dream kitchen and ask yourself if you would keep those items if you had that space. If you have a friend that's good with photoshop or some other program enlist their aid. I did my office, kitchen and bathroom in a combination of free planners and photoshop. There are also places on the internet that will provide those services. I hope this helps


  • RedRyder
    last month

    You have stated that your time in this house may be limited so GO SLOW. Paint the walls and do the flooring. Get enough of the flooring to fill in gaps if you either remodel or sell. Your new owners will appreciate,that.

    If selling is a possibility, go for engineered wood flooring. It’s a better choice and will increase the value of your house.

    If you end up staying, you gave yourself a good foundation for a future kitchen remodel. Changing hardware can be expensive unless you find a style that is sold in bulk. Stop after these three ideas. The countertop is fine.

    Congratulations on your new home.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi everyone, turns out the floor is engineered hardwood, what can i do with this? i hate the color


  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    That can be refinished - find a flooring refinisher with experience refinished engineered hardwood. The "beauty" layer of engineered is not that thick, so they need to know what they are doing. They might possibly be able to repair the water damage too.

    Actually, the current stain is pretty classic - Close to what I have (natural finish red oak), and that works very well with many colors in decor - olive & sage greens, blues, blue-greens, reds (of course), mushroom-- but not orange-y yellows, pinks, or reds. I would encourage you to change the wall color first, finding one that works with both the counter and floor (and also pleases you!) then see if you still hate it.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    I spoke to a company that said it cannot be refinished because it is too thin (the actual wood part) so i think we might cover it up. any ideas on this? i def dont want the orange tone.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    My mom always said "You can't put an old head on young shoulders". I so wish I could make you understand that the next 5 years are going to fly by and if your plan is to move up to a bigger, nicer home in 5 years you don't want to waste a lot of money doing things that aren't going to change the value of your current home. The flooring is a beautiful, mid tone wood. The white cabinets are classic. The combination is perfectly good. The countertops may be a little dated, but there is nothing wrong with them. I know this is your first home and you want to make it your own, but you will be so much better off in the long run if you take that money and invest it in a couple of nice pieces of furniture that will last you 50 years, vs spending it on something that is going to be a memory in 5 years.


    Get the area with the water damage fixed. Get an area carpet for under your table. Be happy that you're investing in your future. Enjoy living in your home. The memories of the time you spend together in your home, the meals you share with friends and family, the conversations, the laughter - that is what you will remember 20 years from now about your first home. Not the color of the floor.


  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Im not investing in furniture with toddlers or getting a area carpet under the table with toddlers. if anyone has other ideas on flooring let me know thanks

  • lisedv
    last month

    Here are my ideas:

    - Keep it simple, paint the walls white

    - Change all the pulls on the kichen cabinets for black ones (look on Amazon for good pricing)

    - Don't know if you have dining furniture or not, here I show a pale blue scheme (Ikea) but it can be almost any colour

    - I show bamboo shades with the pale blue curtains

    - I placed 2 black sconces on the wall above the kitchen sink

    - A black chandelier above the dining table

    - Black counter stools

    - I also show an area rug (inexpensive from Ruggable) that would hide the wood floor you don't like in case you wait to replace it with LVP. You can also get a matching runner for the kitchen area, the rugs are machine washable and dryable.



    Karo A thanked lisedv
  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks for the effort. i like the black idea. and will be doing floors, my kid is so messy with food i dont want another thing to wash like a rug

  • chinacatpeekin
    last month

    If you want a wipeable rug, look at the vinyl rugs by Spicher and Company. They come in many sizes, patterns and colors, are very well priced, and cleanup is so easy. Protect your floors from your “messy kid”.

  • herbflavor
    last month
    last modified: last month

    get the walls painted. you may find the floor tone is less a problem for you. I dont think its that bad. the indestructable fibers in runners/area rugs now might surprise you in terms of spills. wine and coffee usually the most difficult are not issues w a toddler...[as far as I know] the use of strategic runners/small rugs is actually to protect the floor which can suffer the risk more with a spill

  • felizlady
    last month

    If your floor is real wood, is it in good condition? I would never remove a wood floor unless I had to. Different wall paint and a few area rugs will make the floor look better and not so vast.

  • ci_lantro
    last month

    The flooring is laminate.

    All the discussion about trapping the dishwasher is not a factor in this situation. Or should not be. The laminate floor should be removed before installing LVP. It is a bad idea to install a floating floor on top of a floating floor. The base needs to be stable not floating.

  • RedRyder
    last month

    If your flooring is actually wood, you can try to find some matching pieces for the ruined areas.

    PLEASE paint the peach to a neutral color before making any decisions. Your eyes are affected by that wall color. You may not hate this floor once you get rid of that orangey peachy color.

    One thing at a time. Always do one thing and then reassess.

  • tracie_erin
    last month

    Just spitballing here... if you are already replacing the floor and have enough space, I would see about making that peninsula into an island. It might be possible to simply take the peninsula cabinetry/counter and move it a few feet to make an island. You would need a counter guy to cut the granite and refinish the edges, someone to move the island and paint the unfinished side (this part could be DIY depending on your skill level), plus an electrician to put the outlets in the island. This could be a good return on investment since you plan on moving because many buyers would prefer an island.

  • K Laurence
    last month

    IF it were mine I would just paint, install recessed lighting in the kitchen, perhaps remove cabinet over the penninsula, recarpet living & bedrooms & call it a day. Save the $ for your next home or your children’s college fund. But I tend to be practical.

  • rtpaige03
    last month

    I agree with EVERYONE who said paint the walls first. That is your cheapest fix. The peach color is dominating everything else and making them look orange and the white cabinets look blue. Once you have done that, think about changes to cabinet color etc. I think the cabinet color will look better when the wall color isn’t fighting it. if your floors are damaged and cannot be refinished, then I understand replacing with LVP. However, it is a MUST that the old floor be removed first. Your warranty from the manufacturer will be voided if you put it on top of a wood floor. LVP may be “waterproof”, that just means it won’t be damaged, but if water gets under your lvp floating floor it can rot that wood floor. It is too much money to spend to half-ass the installation of the floor. A good flooring company would never put LVP over an engineered floor. What brand is your dishwasher? Unless it is a brand spanking new Bosch, you can plan on it breaking down. It kinda looks like a whirlpool from the pic, and they are well known for leaks. Anticipate the unexpected in homeownership. This is why your floor has water damage near the fridge…the unexpected happened.

  • amateurdeziner
    last month

    In regards to your messy toddler…when my boys were little I placed a sheet under their high chair. When they were finished eating I shook out the sheet over the garbage can and then put it in the wash.

  • Margie Kieper
    last month

    You don’t say if there is a particular style you are interested in. First, all of the improvements you mention, especially getting rid of the apricot paint job and the flourescent overheads, sound good. If you leave the countertops I am thinking get the cabinets painted in a light neutral color that complements the countertop. The harsh white color of the cabinets certainly doesn’t work. I am thinking a light sand or cool beige color. Also updating the cabinet pulls to a warm color, not a silver, might work.

  • RTHawk
    last month

    As others have mentioned, get rid of the wall color first as that is making everything look orange. Prime the walls and kitchen ceiling white and then reassess. Your floor will probably look much nicer after the peach walls are gone. Then choose a paint color that will work well with all the other finishes plus your furniture/decor. As it happens, Maria Killam has a post today about how to deal with orange floors https://mariakillam.com/what-colour-works-with-orange-wood/. I would not replace engineered hardwood with LVP (that would be a downgrade for me) and if staying there for only 5 years, would definitely live with existing floors.


    Besides paint, only thing I would spend on is the ceiling lighting -- I would get rid of those fluorescent lights. Would probably also pick warmer hardware for the cabinets.


    As for furniture with toddlers, there are 2 schools of thought: 1) Buy inexpensive furniture so it would not hurt so much if they get destroyed, or 2) buy sturdy, well-made furniture (often more money upfront but may be more cost-effective in the long run) that will withstand kids/pets/careless adults/etc.

    Karo A thanked RTHawk
  • dmac1108
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Can you actually measure how many milimeters the wood veneer actually is on your sample in photo? The reason I’m asking is because I know someone who thought she couldn’t refinish her enginnered wood floor because the manufacturer said that the venner was too thin, HOWEVER - when she spoke with a floor refinishing company, they looked at the extra planks she had set aside (in case needed for a future emergency - like water damage!) - and there was enough to refinish it!

    Manufacturers will ALWAYS be conservative on what can be done to/with one of their products in order to protect themselves from any potential lawsuits - frickin’ attorneys! LOL!

    An example would be how A LOT of upholstered furniture now provides that you can only clean by dabbing with a dry white cloth - even though the fabric would actally be fine if water + Dawn dish soap was used. When I purchased a slipcovered sofa a couple years ago, the specifications re: cleaning included washing the covers - the SAME EXACT sofa in the SAME EXACT material now includes instructions that prohibit washing the slipcovers!

    FYI - I think that happened because people either (i) used the wrong detergent, and/or (ii) completely dried the covers instead of line drying or pulling them out of the dryer while they were still a little damp so they could be stretched a little when putting them back on the sofa. When the slipcovers no longer worked (or something happened due color caused by some additive used in the washer), customers contacted the retailer and demanded a refund/exchange.

    By prohibiting the slipcovers from being washed, they eliminated ”user error” - the same may be the case for some engineered hardwood floors. In order to remove the least amount of veneer successfully, you have to be selective regarding who you hire.

    OR - the prior owner may have purchased an engineered wood floor with a VERY THIN veneer - or maybe a topcoat that is very difficult to remove.

    Karo A thanked dmac1108
  • RedRyder
    last month

    @Karo A - have you painted the space yet?

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi no not yet. but i did get a few companies come out to look at floor. the floor does not match thru out house as it is all different shades of orange and there are damaged areas of the floor, that they cannot guarantee to match. refinishing is not an option due to how thin it is and that this will reduce the value further. my real estate agent states that when we resell in 5-10 yrs this flooring will not increase value. so im looking at removing the engineered wood , and tho ppl here may not agree, at least in my market it will increase value for my home to have a better looking floor that will have a longer life line for buyers in 5-10 yrs. not every one has the same preferences and may not like my plan, but im happy with my plan and im living in the house :)

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @Karo A - it is up to you to make the decisions on where and how to spend your money.


    I think the majority of people here are trying to give you sound advice based on years of experience.


    Most renovations do increase the value of your home, but you just bought this home as is. How much did you hold back from your offer based on the flooring? Did you ask for a flooring allowance? Don't answer us, but answer yourself as honestly as you can how much more you would have paid for this home if it didn't have the flooring issues? Not an after the fact, and after pricing flooring, but pre-purchase.


    Repairing the places that have damage will yield the highest return on your investment. You always get the most money for a home that looks well maintained, but that doesn't require replacing the whole floor.


    Replacing the flooring my be the most emotionally rewarding renovation you can do, the one that will bring you the most joy. It will increase the value of your home, but not nearly as much as it will cost you to replace the flooring.


    This trade off may be fine with you. Some people buy a Starbucks coffee and a breakfast sandwich or pastry every morning, some people spend money on cigarettes, some on clothing. I owned horses for many years. It was my joy and worth every penny I spent on my horses.


    You are right to do what you want, but try not to get too upset with strangers who are simply trying to provide you sound advice. You have probably had 30 people give you the same answer - paint your walls, repair the floor and see where things stand once you have done this.


    It isn't the answer you wanted. It isn't our money, but you may want to think about why so many people are telling you that your decision isn't smart use of your money.



    Karo A thanked Jennifer Hogan
  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Yes we saved money with this home and have room to renovate some. there has been mixed answers here, so my last comment was to address only some of the answers as the others seemed more in line with what i was told by the real estate agent and the contractors and companies ( including the ones that had no stake in the flooring project). im not upset. but i want to include my comments here for future ppl to read about what i decided to do based on this market i am in and the advice i received from ppl who were in the home to assess. i think there is value in all the comments and i was close to not doing anything to the floors because i was taking them into consideration but i was swayed as i mentioned by the ppl who recently saw the floors for themselves. i think if the flooring matched and i had extra matching pieces i would have made a different choice or if the quality was higher and i could sand it without wearing it down , i would have made a different choice. So i do 100% appreciate every single non patronizing response (referring to one response on here that i found patronizing :) ) because i feel much more confident having considered all the options on here. thank you everyone

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I did consider carpeting the living room but my partner was adamant about not wanting carpet. quotes to install the engineer wood in the living room was $4-5k and they did not guarantee that it would match the adjacent two hallways (that also didnt match each other!) this felt like a waste of money. the cost to install the EW and sand everything else so it can match was around 8k+ and i was warned i would be risking plywood showing in some places and also reducing the life of the floor.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    the quotes for removing the EW and prepping the concrete $1,800- 2k

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I worked for a real estate attorney, specifically in eminent domain/ inverse condemnation law, where their was no option, the government was going to be taking your home and building something else in its place, or they were taking part of your property as an easement for a public purpose. While working in this industry I got my real estate license and after leaving the legal field I went on to work for a real estate brokerage doing computer research on home values and then went on to sell real estate for several years.

    I don't disagree with the people who say that replacing your floor will add value to your home. It will add some value, but how much will it add to the sale price and what will it cost you?

    I recently advised someone I know not to do any renovations on her home before selling. Another home on the same street as hers and about the same square footage as hers was pending sale when she listed her home.


    Both homes were built in the same development, built by the same builder. The other home was built about 3 years before the home of the person I know. For our town this development was high end and took some time to sell all the lots and build all the homes. The other home has newly installed hardwood floors in the living room, dining room, kitchen and master suite and a new roof. It sold for $12k more than the home without a new roof or hardwood flooring.

    So yes, the new roof and hardwood flooring added value. The sale price was higher. But what do you think they spent on a new roof and hardwood flooring?

  • RedRyder
    last month

    You absolutely have to listen to yourself, your spouse and the local people who have seen the floor. If engineered wood is out of the question you can easily do luxury vinyl and get great results. Every single person I know who has that flooring is in love with it. It’s a great option and many of them look like wood flooring. I would only caution you to choose you color after you paint those ghastly peach walls since they affect how anything looks.
    If you have a new floor, freshly painted walls and a clean house, you are ahead of the game when it comes to selling. The market fluctuations are out of your hands so make sure you love what you put it to your house so you enjoy your time there.
    I agree with your husband about carpeting. And many people with allergies hate it too. I would also consider LVP over tiles mostly because the vinyl floors are nicer to your back. And if you have kids and pets, they are less likely to destroy it.

    Karo A thanked RedRyder
  • rtpaige03
    last month

    I love my LVP. Way more durable than my engineering hardwood was, and I can have the same floor throughout the bathroom and laundry without worry

    Karo A thanked rtpaige03
  • mcarroll16
    last month

    If OP is going to change the flooring no matter what, shouldn't she do that before she paints? That would let her choose a paint color that best suits her floors. So much easier to choose a paint that works with the flooring, than vice-versa.

    Karo A thanked mcarroll16
  • lisedv
    last month

    Go for it, granted it's not real wood but there are great looking options now on the market and your rooms will be unified instead of having different floor covering everywhere.

    Karo A thanked lisedv
  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Re: reselling- I do believe this is market dependent as well as having a good agent. I live in CA and know a lot of ppl who spend maybe 10-15 k on their home and make 50k to 100k out of it. if it is priced correctly and there is a bidding war, which has been the norm in some CA areas for several years (Bay Area) and has become the norm now even with decrease in buyers in other areas. Noone has a crystal ball to depict the market in 5 years of course, but just to say there is a sweet spot between what to spend and the selling price of your home (aka having a good agent) that makes a difference.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    my friend put her home on market and got bids and was not happy with the bids. she went back and spent around 15k and increased her bids by almost 100k. no joke, this is bay area .

  • RTHawk
    last month

    I agree to choose paint after the new floor is installed. However, I would prime the walls white first before picking new flooring -- this way, the current peach color won't distort colors when making the floor selection.

  • Karo A
    Original Author
    last month

    Painters will be there first, and i like white for the walls in general

  • RedRyder
    last month

    There are a TON of whites. Have you decided on one?
    While it would be good to have the flooring installed before you pick your wall color, having a floor you don’t need to worry about when the painters are there is better. 😄

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    If you have a sample of the new flooring, be sure to look at it next to the counter and the whites that you might choose, under both natural light in the room and the type of lighting that you will have. I was amazed to see the difference in color under fluorescent vs. the new LED. So, if you can, get the electrical work done first of all, before paint and floor.

    Usually you have to cover the current wall color with plain white primer or with sheets of white paper to truly see how things will look together.

    (Case in point - I was shopping for a new sofa and chose one at the furniture warehouse that was a mossy green. I thought. When it was delivered, though, away from the store's fluoro lights, in both the natural light from windows, and LEDs at night, the sofa is a soft, kind of milk chocolate brown!! Fortunately, I liked that just as well...)