Asked on Jan 4, 2019

How do I renovate our kitchen on a budget?



We live in a modular home so the walls are wallboard, which is basically drywall with a coating on it meant to look like wallpaper for quick install once they move the home in pieces to its location for assembly. The previous owners painted the kitchen, so at least its somewhat primed and ready for us to change the paint colour, except the sheets of wallboard and where the walls meet the ceiling/floor have these little strips of fake wood to cover the gaps. There's also a piece of moulding to cover a horizontal gap between the sheets of wallboard (possibly meant to look like a chair rail but it's at the wrong height.) This fake wood is also around every door frame in the house which I'd like to change eventually but will start with the kitchen. I hate how it looks. What are your recommendations for a wall treatment? I like the look of wainscoting but would have to make sure all the measurements are even but the wallboard are not the same distance apart everywhere (so do I just mud the gaps and paint everything?) I also want a backsplash behind the counters but I've never tiled anything - what are some other options or is it easy enough to do? And I'd like new light fixtures (I am open to upcycling old ones or buying new.) I would love to see your transformations/inspiration and will take any advice i can get!! I love farmhouse style and anything rustic/vintage! I do have a big farmhouse-style table I've been refinishing and hope to complete that project this spring.

q how do i renovate our kitchen on a budget

Main wall in kitchen. Brown/brass molding at bottom of picture covers a horizontal gap between sheets of wallboard.

8 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY
    on Jan 4, 2019

    Hi there, I am SO curious as to what is under those little strips. My uncle owned a home just like yours and every time I walked in there I wanted to pull those strips off. If its basically drywall I don't see any reason why you can't remove the strips and just tape and mud the seams. But if that's not an option I wonder, especially on maybe some accent walls if you couldn't remove those strips and then just cover the wall with wood or something?

    • GrandmasHouseDIY
      on Jan 4, 2019

      Yep, taping and mudding drywall can be a lot of work. If you're cool with a texture on the wall, you wouldn't have to do a perfect job on the taping and mudding. Wainscoting always looks really nice, they sell sheets of "plywood" beadboard that is light, inexpensive and its also tongue and groove so the seems disappear.

  • Tania Mullen
    on Jan 4, 2019

    If the wall has a texture, when you remove the strips & spackle the cracks, your spackle will be smooth & the wall still textured. Maybe skim coat? I took off my strips & wall papered mine. New wide molding can cover the wainscoat crack. Raising or lowering it to your preferred ht. The fast fix is to paint it all the same color to minimize it all, including the door trim. Pry of the metal or prime with something that wont allow the paint to scratch off. Scrubbable wall paper in a barn wood or bead board look makes an awesome back splash, its easy too. Cut 2" longer than needed, dry fit it, creasing into top n bottom to ensure it fits well. I like to slide mine behind upper cabinet, trim, & counters to make it look seamless. Dry fit next piece on the roll to match the pattern. A helper is nice if you are a beginner. Follow manufacturer directions for wetting & letting it rest before applying. My extra hands are kids! I put a drying cloth over my shoulder & shears in my pocket if extra hands arent around. #learnedwithouttools.

  • Janet
    on Jan 5, 2019

    If you like the ship lap look, get faux wood flooring and peel and stick to the wall in the ship lap formation. Add a few nails to secure ... as we all know how peel and stick is. If walls are degreased and cleaned well (every home needs this regards of how clean), they will stick much better.Paint.

    Another idea...

    It is a bit pricey, but the faux ceiling tins (home Depot has them) are beautiful. I did my kitchen backsplash with them.

    Pinterest is a wonderful site for finding great ideas. They even have one for Mobile home walls.

    • Kathy Conley
      on Jan 5, 2019

      I’ve seen this idea on Pinterest, which I think is a great idea! I personally installed press and stick tile on my floors and there is a special primer you use to help with adhesion.

  • 19698379
    on Jan 5, 2019

    What's your budget to handle this problem?

  • Nancy Turner
    on Jan 6, 2019

    I would take the strips off, fill them in. prep the wall so you know the paint will adhere and paint the walls and put on the wainscoting. You never know, the new paint color and the wainscoting may give the kitchen a brand new look and all you would need to do is add the back splash and a few items to go with the new wall color and you may be done. Paint can really change the look!

  • Marie
    on Jan 9, 2019

    I also live in a mobile home and am in the middle of a major renovation. Not wanting to invest $$$$$ we found builders liquidation stores to be the way to go. We bought our lighting, cabinetry, stove, oven, sink and back-splash at liquidation stores. We used snap & click Luxury Vinyl Flooring as our back-splash.

    Home Depot has an offal section in their store for previously cut counter top. We bought ours there. It looks nice enough that people have mistaken it for quartz.We also found a drywall place where builders go and can get drywall for half the price of Home Depot.

    Our kitchen was completely renovated and now I have a DIY custom kitchen built for under $2,000.

  • Tracie
    on Jan 10, 2019

    My daughter did a leather look on her den walls. It looks amazing and she started with the same kind of walls you have. I think she used wallpaper paste and rolls of brown paper. There are videos out there that show you how to do it.

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