Does anyone have an old kitchen that they’re less than in love with out there? I know you can’t see me but I promise I’m raising my hand too! Here’s the space on move in day as an example.
After living in our house for 2+ years without having a budget to blow out our entire space, we managed to complete a few updates that were cost effective, and made the space look 10x better! At least in our opinion 🙂 Here’s our top tips!
Paint your kitchen cabinets
There are about 50,729,572,593 tutorials on Pinterest for this, and it’s because it truly works! We’ll be sharing a few tricks in a couple of weeks on how we put our spin on this trend, but you don’t need to rip everything out for the space to be transformed. Older cabinets are more times than not made of quality wood that can easily be sanded down to be painted or stained.
Upgrade your cabinets without replacing them
Oddly enough, not an oxymoron 🙂 There’s a few different ways that this can be done outside of painting. The most simple – replacing any old hardware (including the hinges!) can make a drastic affect on the look of the space. Bonus, if you match up the original holes, all you need is a screwdriver for this!
Another fun feature to upgrade your cabinets is to convert them the doors to soft close. There are some specialty hinges that do this, or there’s this simple $4 fix that you can simply screw into one of the corners and you’re done! We have these installed in all of our cabinets, and can back up that they are game changers in terms of making them more functional and updated!
If you’re wanting a bit more flare, try taking your cabinet doors down and replacing a few inner panels with glass, or adding under cabinet lighting. There’s so many inexpensive options now that you can turn on with a touch of a button, or even remotely from your phone!
Add a backsplash
Even if you have older laminate counters, the addition of a backsplash can make a huge difference. We added beadboard and painted it the same colors as the upper cabinets, which cost us just $30 for the entire project. Another inexpensive and easy option is white subway tile. They can easily be cut using this $20 tool, (which we also own and can put a stamp of approval on!) and are simple to install. For a comparison, doing subway tile in our kitchen would have cost about $50-$60 for the material, plus less than $20 for the adhesive and grout. Both options add a little extra to a kitchen for minimal spend!
Add a fun focal feature
Because of the peninsula in our kitchen, when you enter the space that’s pretty much all that you see. In an effort to have a little fun with it, we decided to add a wood feature in a diagonal pattern, inspired by this pin from an episode of HGTV’s Fixer Upper.
It adds a little fun to the space, and provides a focal point that your eye is naturally drawn to. Other ideas could be a fun light fixture, a feature stenciled or wallpapered wall, a fun dish or pot displayed, or some unique art (hanging plant wall? yes please). Bonus – If you have any “dead” cabinet space, you can open it up to add storage or stash stools like we did hidden to the right of the picture above.
Update your sink
Something that is commonly overlooked in my opinion is the kitchen sink and faucet. When we moved in we had a cheap double stainless steel one that was maybe 4 inches deep, with a faucet that would have fit better in a bathroom than a kitchen. Filling a large pot was impossible, so we decided to upgrade. For less than $500 (aka our Christmas present to each other 2 years ago!), we replaced the sink with a much larger and deeper cast iron version, and replaced the faucet. We splurged a bit on the faucet knowing that if and when we ever replace the counters, we could use it in the future.
I may start sounding repetitive here, but oh my the difference this update made! There were nights where M and I would stand there staring at it talking about how pretty it was. I’m so happy I found someone who shared my same weirdness towards home projects 🙂
Replace kitchen appliances
This last option is obviously the most expensive of the aforementioned options, but there are so many affordable options and amazing sales that happen that it may be more of a possibility than you’d think! When we moved in, three of the four main appliances were barely running, so we had no choice but to replace them and we’re so glad we did. This was actually the first thing we did in the space, and it made all the difference. Plus, eating out for the first year instead of just replacing them and biting the bullet could have arguably been more expensive 🙂
If none of those options sound ideal, there’s always painting the walls and updating light fixtures. Both can be done quickly and make a huge difference in any space!
And those are a few tips we used that we hope could help any other tired kitchens! Happy updating!
Do you have a tutorial for your pensinsula?
I’m especially interested in the wood you used and how you treated it? Stain?
Hi Jen! Thanks so much for the question! Unfortunately we don’t have a detailed tutorial, but we essentially cut four types of 1×4 wood to give it a bit of dimension (poplar, common board, oak and maple) with 45 degree angles and stacked them. We started on a bottom corner piece, and moved our way up. The seams were covered with lattice wood, and then the whole thing was stained in Minwax’s Special Walnut. Hope that helps!
There are a lot of things that can be done to transform a room. Whether you paint the cabinets, get new countertops, change out the hardware or paint the walls, it can help increase the value of your home and make things fresh again. I love the changes that you have made. Thanks for sharing!
Armina Stone says
Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!