How do upgrade this dated kitchen?


Hello, I purchased an older home and had to upgrade everything!!! The last project that desperately needs updating is my kitchen and pantry. I’ve been researching pot drawers and think they would be amazing. I have a decent sized pantry but it’s dark and not easily accessible as the foods get crammed behind in the blind spots (see attached photos 1 &2). I was thinking about tearing out some of the Sheetrock and replacing the door and new opening with a barn door that would create easier access to everything. Next, I have double ovens but they are small ones (24”). I would like to tear out the existing space to enlarge the opening for 30” ovens. (Photo 3 attached). Lastly, my countertops are very dated (photo 4). Like most people, I would love to have granite countertops. However, my budget is shot from all the other updates. I’m very good with my hands, can design, build, tile and paint. (I was a professional artist and art teacher for 30 years) so maybe I could find an alternative like painting a faux finish and tiling the backsplash. The cabinets are pretty good but I really need help with the other problems of functionality and upgrades. I would love to be a success story showing off my transformation and how-to-diy on Hometalk. Thank you so much for reading and any suggestions. God Bless, Kasie

q how do upgrade this dated kitchen

Photo 1

q how do upgrade this dated kitchen

Photo 2

q how do upgrade this dated kitchen

Photo 3

q how do upgrade this dated kitchen

Photo 4

  15 answers
  • Great house! Love the kitchen window too.

    Rethink the pantry. Even if you rip out sheetrock, you do not have enough clearance to install a barn style door.

    Where are you going to gain space to go from 24" to 30" wall ovens? Looks like a dishwasher on one side and a fridge on the other? Entire space will need to be reconfigured.

    Granite is way over rated, but then again I am the only person on the planet that is not fond of them. Most run of the mill granite options are just that, boring. If you go to a real stoneyard and can choose your own slab that doesn't look like every kitchen, bathroom and hotel room in the country and have a healthy budget to boot, skip it, there are better options. For the interim, they make great painting kits to make countertops look like granite or marble.

    The kitchen looks like a dark cave. Could be the lighting, something to consider upgrading in the future if that is the case. If the cabinets are in good shape, keep them as you can always paint them. There are lots of ways to update or modify the interiors of existing cabinets.

    Redesign the kitchen with consideration as to the appliances you want to have and then decide what to move in order to achieve that goal. Or paint from top to bottom for the short term and live with it until you can save for a gut job from ceiling to floor.

    I get your vision, just might take a bit of fancy dancing to move things around to accommodate your wish list.

    • See 1 previous
    • You are so welcome Kasie! There are lots of responses here - every single one has fantastic suggestions. At least you now have a lot to ponder . . . Decisions decisions decisions . . . And all fun ones too! Keep us in the loop on your progress. 🔨

  • Stephanie Fox Nelson Stephanie Fox Nelson on Sep 30, 2018

    I agree with the above poster. If you don’t have the money for a full gut job right now, just paint the cabinets and add lighting where you can. It looks like some of your appliances are close together which is not a good layout.

    We also had an old kitchen like that and lived with it for years until we had the money to do it right. Now the floors are level, there is abundant lighting, we moved the sink and appliances for a better traffic flow and moved a door, and ran a vent pipe through two upper levels for a stove hood. It took a total gut and no kitchen for several months, as well as a huge chunk of change and a team of professionals. But now we have a gorgeous, functional kitchen.

    We diy’ed our church kitchen but it took two years with 2-3 guys working between one and two hundred hours. We used a kitchen designer from the big box store for the layout, and had the plumbing, electrical, and counters installed professionally.

    For now, paint the cabinets, tile the backsplash, maybe replace the shelves in the pantry with pull-outs, and if you need to replace an appliance, keep it the same size unless you have room for it. Then start saving.

  • Chris Gignac Chris Gignac on Sep 30, 2018

    My first thought would be to remove the double oven and purchase a range oven combo of the size that you desire. Place it where the range already exists. Looks like you’ll gain maybe 30 inches along that wall. I know it’s just the first step but maybe that will give you better ideas about pantry .

  • PAMELA PAMELA on Sep 30, 2018

    Hello! Upgrading and not wanting to spent much? Labor, if the cabinets are still good quality, paint them, make sure your properly prepare them, and do not you high gloss paint. remove the panel over your window. Removing the vinyl wallpaper all over, I think it is even on the ceiling? Wait, to decide what floor and counter you really want. Once you remove the wallpaper, which by the way if it is vinyl is usually the easiest to remove, go to youtube and look for a post on how someone did the job correctly.

    This is the order in which I would start wtih your project.

    1. remove all of the wall paper and of course the ceiling too then you will want to paint those walls and ceiling, do not use high gloss paint, a neutral color that is in a light shade.

    2. the cabinets, painted. the panel over window removed. youtube for guidance on how to prep and paint cabinets, you may want to remove them and take off the hardware, I painted mine, dark bronze, but my cabinets are stained walnut. I did another hardware flat black, to look like wrought iron. So it up to you!

    3.the countertops, you will have to decide what you want and how much to spend. I cabinet painting takes time, so you may want to spend money and have a countertop installed.4. Floors,find what will look and work the best, you can install many of the new floor,do your rsearch. Maybe you floor are still ok and you can refinish them, I can't tell what you floors are, maybe they are wood? Some typos here, and I can't correct them. Wishing to good luck, research and youtube..are the place to help you!

  • DEE DEE on Sep 30, 2018

    The cabinets need to be lighter, your kitchen is too dark. I have never seen an oven and refrigerator side by side. I would move the refrigerator to the other side. But your oven is concerning to me does it have a firewall between the other appliances and back wall? That's a fire hazzard if it doesn't. Its funny because my friends kitchen is almost identical to yours right down to the ceiling and cupboards and her oven did not have a firewall and her electrician told her to get it fixed ASAP. She did. She even had the double ovens like you do.

    • Kasie Dion Hill Kasie Dion Hill on Oct 02, 2018

      I’ll have to check on the firewall. All of this set up/layout came with the house. I would never have chosen any of this but it is an older house and they did differently back then. I can almost guarantee there is no firewall as most of the wiring was done so long ago that apparently they didn’t have many codes to follow. Thank you for your response

  • Janice Janice on Sep 30, 2018

    Hello, You've provided us good info to answer your questions, but until you draw out a floor plan with the measurements (constraints) you have it will be difficult to make true progress. Personally, I would first decide on what is the most important...30-inch stove/oven, etc. Draw out the floor plan and take into consideration where the plumbing, wiring, etc. are located and learn how expensive the basic upgrading of appliances will cost. Create a budget sheet of the labor costs involved if you can't do it yourself and add at least another 1/3 to that amount. I've talked myself out of many projects I'd like to do by using this method. Sometimes the big changes we want just are not economically feasible. If that turns out to be the case with you, then focus quickly on the changes you can make....which are many. Rip out the wallpaper, paint a nice light color you like (walls, cabinets, and even counter tops).. Add LED lighting in areas and get rid of the "heaviness" of the room. You might be surprised how much those changes will affect your feelings about your kitchen. I hope our answers are helping you to get what you want!

  • Muh31860744 Muh31860744 on Sep 30, 2018

    Could not afford doing anything with cabinets now. Paint back splash and ceiling and maybe new flooring. We painted back splash with a pewter, floor was already gray/white. Paint really brought things up to date.

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 30, 2018

    Paint would be a big help. Besides the obvious painting cabinets and walls think about painting your appliances too. Appliance paint isn't that hard and can make old appliances look new.

    New lighting would be a big help. We took down our old dated fluorescent lighting fixtures and replace them with pendants. The new lights have energy efficient bulbs and a lower wattage bulb produces more light then the old ones.

    I would also paint the inside of the pantry a nice bright white and use a lighter colored shelf liner too. If you installed small lights inside the pantry that came one when you opened the door that would be nice letting you see more of what is inside. Organizing the pantry would make a big difference also. Here is a link for just that:

    New floors could help lighten it up too. If you install it yourself it doesn't have to break the bank. Either sheet vinyl or peel and stick tiles come in tons of great patterns.

  • Shore grandmom Shore grandmom on Sep 30, 2018

    First, I would open the wall at the pantry and either install a larger door or get something like this.

    Then you can put in rollout shelving.

    Second, I don't think you have enough room for larger ovens unless you want to reconfigure your whole kitchen. And, either the ovens or cabinet aren't level, you might want to check that out.

    Third, this website has great videos on how to epoxy countertops.

    This is what I would also do if I wasn't gutting the whole kitchen, remove the stuff on the walls and ceiling and paint a nice light color. Right now your kitchen is a little dark and dreary. Remove the formica backsplash put in a light color tile backsplash that has a shine to it to reflect light. I love the window, but I would remove the wood valence and get a curtain that when open, sits beyond the window. Tile the backsplash all the way around the window. If you like pot drawers or any other pullout options, they can be installed in existing cabinets as can pullout trash cans and many other accessories. Put in undercabinet lighting. Put pendant lights over peninsula or a second ceiling light or ceiling fan. I hope I have made a suggestion or two that will help you with your remodel. I'm looking forward to seeing it on hometalk.

    • See 1 previous
    • Shore grandmom Shore grandmom on Oct 02, 2018

      You're welcome. Have fun picking out your new colors. I've never heard of needing a firewall between the oven and fridge. I've seen that layout done before and you have room for both to get the air they need. I'll be interested to hear what your electrician says. Also, the triangle of appliances is an outdated idea that isn't always done anymore. Lay your kitchen out to suit your needs not the "rule." The wall oven is on another wall, it wouldn't fit on that one.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Sep 30, 2018

    Great layout and basic cabinets - LOTS to work with!

    1. Collect photos of your dream kitchen - anything goes!
    2. Set a budget - focus on the "needs" before the "wants"
    3. Set a color scheme (based around the cabinets)

    - 60% of one color (a neutral is best - cabinets, etc.)

    - 30% of complementary color (walls, floors)

    - 10% a "pop" of color - (accessories - curtains, rugs)

    4. If you can't do it all at once, draw up a staging plan

    5. Have fun with it (and post a photo!)

  • Bijous Bijous on Oct 01, 2018

    Hi Kasie. Good sized kitchen. The cabinets are in good shape.

    Okay, let's look at the pantry. Great idea to open it up. Just make sure that your barn door doesn't glide out any further than the front of the fridge. So open up the pantry accordingly.

    30" double ovens. Sorry, not in the setup as it is now. The kitchen will need to be gutted and start anew. There needs to be clearance around the ovens and your 24s are at their max.

    Pots drawer, don't bother. Build a slide out shelf on the bottom of one of the cabinets next to the stove top (since I'm assuming the one underneath is for a down draft), and then another one in the center. Then you can just slide them out. Use drawer glides that are designed for underneath a drawer on the shelf.

    Countertop. As an artist, use enamel paints and do a faux granite finish. Use glass cutting boards and the finish will last a very long time.

    Tile backsplash. Tape a subway tile outlay and use grout to make tiles. Paint and use a gloss sealer.

    Also, install under the cabinet lighting. There are even battery operated that are not expensive and are even remote controlled.

    Paint your existing knobs a brighter tone of metal.

    All told, not an expensive update at all!

  • Heje Heje on Oct 01, 2018

    I love the cutout above the window. It and the cupboards just need a coat of lighter paint along with the ceiling and walls. Painting a light color in the cupboards and in the pantry will really help. Food is easier to find against a light background. A back splash can be as easy as beadboard or tiles bought on sale. The light can be brighter and some put in under the cupboards. It looks like there are lights above the top cupboards. They will shine brighter against a lighter background to bounce them off. I think even with the ovens I would get a regular size stove and put it where the stove top is and get rid of the ovens. The cupboards under the stove top can be moved to fill in the empty oven area. It would help to separate the dishwasher and the fridge and give you the triangle necessary to a good kitchen. Good luck on your adventure. I will be anxious to see progress pictures.

  • Sharon Sharon on Oct 02, 2018

    Way too dark for my taste.... would paint the ceiling and walls a lighter brighter color. Paint the cabinets like and add a glaze accent. you can do this for grays, sage green or blue cabinets

    Faux paint the counters marble....

    Get rid of that ceiling light and get a new one....

  • Marylou Wood Marylou Wood on Oct 02, 2018

    My daughter painted her old cabinet tops to resemble brick. She then epoxyed the surface to be heat and damage proof