Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover On A Budget

7 Materials
4 Weeks
Brief Intro: When we purchased our home we knew that we needed to renovate the entire house. We knew that we weren't going to be able to splurge on any one room. But I still had a dream. I dreamt of a cute little farmhouse kitchen with some French Country flair. With that dream in mind, we set about remodeling our kitchen without breaking the bank. You can read more about our kitchen transformation at:
Here is the kitchen before. The cabinets were in good shape but they stunk and they were just boring. After cleaning the cabinets several times, we primed them with a shellac product to eliminate the smell and for a smooth base (see blog post for product information) and painted them a cream color.
I really wanted a blue and cream tile for the backsplash, but I couldn't find one anywhere that I loved. I ended up buying my tiles from China. I was nervous, but they arrived quickly and were in great shape. This is probably my biggest "splurge" in the kitchen at 18 bucks a square foot, but I used another, cheaper porcelain mosaic as a border to save some money and to add a visual border between the backsplash and the counter.
I had my heart set on a real farmhouse sink, but the porcelain ones were way out of our budget. I purchased this acrylic farmhouse sink and I couldn't be happier with it. I use sink protectors and I'm careful with knives and boiling water, but I've had this sink two years and it still looks as pristine as the day I put it in (product information in blog post).
For the island, I used a repurposed butcher block top that had been a dining room table of my parents forty years prior. We sanded down the finish and now we just keep this oiled with mineral oil and use it to roll out dough and crusts and as a food prep station. For the rest of the countertops, we decided on the IKEA Karlby countertops, since they matched the thickness of my island butcher block top. The Karlby counters have a core of particleboard. I was worried that we would have warping issues, but I sealed them with many coats of poly (since I wasn't planning on setting food directly on them) and in the two years we've had them, they have held up incredibly well, even around the sink and above the dishwasher.
We added a breakfast bar to the existing island. My husband built bookshelves on both sides to support the bar, which are both beautiful and functional. We also added headboard all around the island and on all the exposed sides of our kitchen cabinetry and added new baseboard trim throughout the kitchen, which gives the kitchen a much more custom look for not much money.
The previous vent cover for the microwave was just oak veneer to match the rest of the cabinetry. I hated it. It stuck out like a sore thumb and was ugly. We purchased some copper-colored panels and attached them with LiquidNails and copper-colored nails. I used copper spray paint to paint crown molding and we installed it around the top to finish it. I'm still impressed that my husband was able to make those outside angle cuts fit so perfectly on his crown molding on an angled ceiling (product information in blog post).
I also purchased a copper pot rack from Amazon (product information in blog post). Since I seem to have every kitchen item ever invented living in my kitchen, I needed some cabinet space. Plus, I love having all of the pots right at my fingertips when I'm cooking. I really tried to keep ease of cooking in mind with all of my kitchen decisions, since I love cooking so much.
Here is our finished kitchen with the countertops installed. I went with a stone-look, grey porcelain tile for the floor that I got for a pretty good discount since the line was being discontinued.
Another view of our kitchen. I love my kitchen so much it's not even funny. It's so easy and enjoyable to cook in it with the nice, big butcher block island and I love how it turned out! This all cost under $2000 dollars (minus the new appliances ) and it's such a huge difference! This was definitely one of the most expensive rooms in the house but I'm pretty impressed that we've been able to remodel most of our house for the same cost that most people spend on just their kitchen.

Suggested materials:

  • Karlby countertop   (IKEA)
  • Apron Front Sink   (
  • Porcelain tile for backsplash   (Home Depot)
See all materials

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

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 12 questions
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Aug 27, 2017
    Your kitchen is lovely. Was this smoke from a fire or cigarettes? I can't wrap my head around people smoking enough to do that kind of damage-Gross. BTW We renovated a kitchen and got our Butcher block- from lumber liquidators-comes in 8 or 12' lengths and 24" or 48"(?) width. Also the lighter natural or Walnut.
    We used walnut with white cabinets and it is really a good look.
    You made a great call on your tile. Good job

  • Jeanne Jeanne on Aug 27, 2017
    I don't see any knobs or drawer pulls. What did you use?

  • Harriett Ellenburg Harriett Ellenburg on Aug 27, 2017
    Why didn't you paint the wood on your window white since evething else is white?


Join the conversation

3 of 57 comments
  • Marley's Mom Marley's Mom on Sep 15, 2017
    You did an amazing job. I especially LOVE the backsplash, it's awesome and unique. I have the exact same cabinets, still in Oak or whatever it is. I'd like to make 1-2 of them with a glass panel, how did you pull that off, the glass with the mullions in them? Love that. If it were me, I'd paint the kitchen window to match the cabinets. As well, because you have spices on either side of the window (super cute and clever) I'd put a blind, french roll up or cute country curtains on the window as all that light on your spices will spoil them very quickly. Normally spices need to be kept in a closed dark pantry. OR, since you're so clever, maybe you can find some really cute white opaque jars that you can label and store your spices in them. You did such an awesome job. I am kind of sorry now that I just sold my 8 foot butcher block slab I got at Ikea a few years ago for a different kitchen make over. They cost way more now than they did a few years ago. Ikea is a wonderful source for kitchens. I got my cabinet and drawers there, found the fronts-beautiful shaker brand new-at Habitat for Humanity (it's amazing what you can find there if you go regularly) as well as storage stuff like pull out waste basket and recycling for next to the sink etc. They also have nice appliances there. I got a stunning oven/microwave combo that looks like double ovens, stainless really beautiful. I feel inspired by your post now to get busy on my kitchen. Thank you!

  • Margie Hood Margie Hood on Sep 23, 2017
    i love what you did..i have been wanting to transform my kitchen..the white farmhouse/cottage look...working on it slow but sure..i love your sink and everything else too,,great job