Before & After: $387 Budget Kitchen Update

14 Materials
$387
12 Hours
Medium

Our kitchen was one of the only rooms in our house that we didn't do a thing to since we moved in a year and a half ago. Ironically, it was the room that we wanted to change the most, but we kept shying away because we assumed we would have to spend a lot of money to do anything worthwhile. Well, we finally took the plunge and decided to do what we could on a $400 budget. Here's what happened!
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
Here's a larger photo of what we started with. I mean, what wouldn't we love about brown ’90s cabinets, white walls, and lovely laminate floors (our favorite)?​
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
Our first target was the cabinets. Since the home was a rental for 10+ years, the cabinet choice of the prior landlord was obvious: bottom of the barrel cabinets that would withstand the wear of renters. We chose to paint them white because we wanted to brighten up the room, and give them a higher end look. It is a small kitchen, after all. . We bought the following supplies for our project: . 1 Gallon of Valspar Ultra White – $23 2 Foam Rollers (2″ and 6″) & Paint Trays – $10 2 Cans of white, oil-based primer – $12 Chrome knobs for upper cabinets (1 pack of 10 for $15 + 3 individuals)- $24 Chrome handles for base cabinets (1 pack of 10 on clearance for $30 + 2 individuals) – $42 Paint brush – $2 Tarp (had it) Drill/screwdriver(s) for removing cabinet doors (had it) . All in all, we spent $113 on the cabinets. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
We removed all of the cabinet doors, washed them, and primed them with Kilz (spray) before painting. We went back and forth about whether or not to sand, but read enough articles that convinced us it wasn't necessary. So we went to town.
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
We gave the cabinets several coats of paint (at least 4) to get rid of the brush marks from the rollers. After painting and letting the cabinet doors and drawers dry, we reattached them to the bases. We chose to do all of the base cabinets first, then the upper cabinets, so we could manage our available floor space and not feel overwhelmed!
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
Some progress, right? . Then we started attaching the new hardware we bought. HUGE difference already!
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
About half way through our painting project, we stopped into a discount tile store in town. Just to look. Kind of. They happened to be having a clearance event, and we found the perfect marble mosaic tile for a half off ($5.99/sq ft)! So, we caved and got it for a backsplash.
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
For our little kitchen, we needed the following supplies to get the job done: . 36 sq. ft. of marble mosaic tile – $204.50 Tile adhesive – $13 1/4″ trowel to spread adhesive – $3 1/2 gallon of white premixed grout – $17 Grout sponge with haze remover – $2.50 9×4 rubber grout float – $4 . The total came to $244.
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
More progress! It took us a few days to get everything done, but we are so so happy with the way it turned out. . The last thing we did was spend $30 to replace the almond colored switch plates with stainless steel switch plates. It was a small touch, but something we notice everyday. . Here's what the looks like now.
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
Here's a few more. Our stove area before...
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
... and after!
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
Our sink area before...
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
... and after!
kitchen update budget before after, diy, kitchen backsplash, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, tiling
In the future, when the time and budget allow for it, we'll finish off this kitchen by updating the counters with something that will contrast the white cabinets and backsplash. Maybe DIY cement? Maybe paint? Maybe replace them altogether? Anything is possible :) We'll also replace the floor with new tiles. . Check out our blog for more details on what we have in mind, as well as more (better) photos, instructions, and details on how we did our cabinets and backsplash. . Even if you aren't a white cabinets person, or a marble backsplash person, switch it up! Do what makes your heart happy. Everybody has different taste. This post is meant to show you that you can make a really big impact on a room, even a scary kitchen, on a really tiny budget.
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Catherine

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Kim
    on Oct 30, 2017

    This is exactly what I want to do in my kitchen(the white cabinets). Great job! What did you use to "wash" the cabinets with?

  • Pat
    on Dec 11, 2017

    My cabinets are painted black. Would like to lighten them up some. Can I paint over that. Not sure if it's oil base or waterbase paint.

    • Pat
      on Dec 22, 2017

      Thank you so much for the tip. Will try that.

  • Patricia Proa-Flores
    on Dec 14, 2017

    Did u paint the inside of the cabinets and the were the drawers completely painted on the outside? Like the sides of the drawers?

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222 of 274 comments
  • Debi53
    on Dec 16, 2017

    You showed that it doesn't always take a lot of money to make a dramatic difference. Your update is spot on and you did a great job detailing your project. You also showed that doing a small splurge (the backsplash) can bring your project to a much higher level. Great job!

  • Kait Lyn GreenParrino
    on Nov 12, 2018

    Love this!

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