From Blah to Beautiful With Just Paint, Plaster, Stain and a Stencil

Victoria Larsen
by Victoria Larsen
10 Materials
Even though this house was built in 2006, the kitchen still reminded me of the 1970's. Plain and drab with no real interested. Well, that was about to change!
Being a stencil designer, I find I need pattern and contrast, and in my own home, I need to feel I've put a bit of my own personality and vision in to the home in order to feel I'm a part of it.
Kitchen Before
Light is fine, but I personally like deep colors.

The look of dark cabinets has always attracted me. They look so elegant! So that's where I started. Minwax has a great product that combines stain with polyurethane which eliminates the step of varnishing the cabinets.
Next came the counter tops. I hated these light cream formica counter tops. They stained easily and you could see every teensie crumb. I was constantly wiping them down. So I gave them a faux (fake) granite finish.
After cleaning, a light sanding, then priming the counter tops, I began by sponging black acrylic paint over the entire surface with a paper towel. Light dabs are the key to making the finish look more like true granite.
After sponging dark brown "spots", I then blended the edges just slightly with a dry, natural bristle chip brush.
Creating streaks of brown paint to mimic deep veining breaks up the pattern and adds interest. I blended the edges slightly to create softly blended "streaks".
Faux Granite Finished
Larger spots of black paint were blended over the surface to create deep gray/black pockets here and there on the surface. 4 coats of polycrylic now creates that beautiful shine of polished granite and protects the paint surface.
White Linoleum
The white linoleum floor had to go! No, I can't install the hard woods I ultimately want quite yet, so I gave it a much prettier look with Behr's Porch and Floor Paint instead!
Painted Floor Frame
I taped off a large rectangle on the floor and first painted it deep cream color and then sponged medium brown paint over the area.
Painted Linoleum
On the outer border, I flipped the order. I painted that area medium brown and then sponged the cream color over the top. It's very interesting how the same paint colors can create a completely different look depending on the application order.
Stenciling the Floor
I designed a new stencil specifically for my kitchen and first used it with paint to border the floor.............
Adding lighter color to the plaster stencil
Then used the same stencil design with joint compound to create a lovely back splash panel above the counter tops.
Kitchen After
Yes, I know, I need to replace the white appliances, and that will come in time. But now, my kitchen has taken on a much more elegant look with just paint, joint compound (plaster), stain, a stencil and varnish. So if you are sick of your outdated or blah kitchen, take a tip from me; Dig out those brushes and give it a new look!
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