I think by now we can all agree that I am a big fan of decorating my home, and figuring out a way to do it as low cost as possible. A lot of times that means DIYing it. I figured out how to Improve a small kitchen with small updates and DIY ideas and am sharing how I did it today,
We purchased our home from my in-laws, they were needing to sell it and we were wanting to buy our first home. It had been built in 1999 and only Dale’s family lived in the house, so it was nice to be first time home buyers and know the complete history of the home. What was not so nice was we were somewhat limited with the home, I think we would have gone for more of a farmhouse/country feel to a home with lots of character. But having dale’s parents house and knowing the history of the property outweighed any aesthetic that were not ideal for us.
Instead we got a run of the mill late 90’s home, in a wonderful town and neighborhood that we adore. Overall we love our home, but it has been a process to get there. I like the history of it, it is the only home my kids have lived in. However, the “bones” or character of the home were nonexistent, I have slowly been adding the character to it. Here is the lovely fake wood that was oh-so-popular in the 1990’s. Our kitchen was full of it!
One summer about 6 years ago I decided to paint the cabinets, it was my first official home improvement project. I have no pictures of the process because I was not blogging then. I had my younger brother visiting for the summer and put him to work helping us sand, prime and paint the cabinets. My 14 year old brother was happy to make a little extra money helping us out and we took him up on his eagerness! We did one coat of primer and three coats of paint. It was a process!
The easiest way to paint cabinets is to take off the doors or drawer fronts. Then you can lay them flat, which helps to not have any streaks or lines running down. Then with the doors off you can paint the rest of the cabinets. Before painting be sure to sand away any grime or wood finish that may be on the cabinets. Then prime the cabinets. Once that is all done get to painting! The more coats done the less wood grain you will see. I wanted a very clean look with a modern feel so I did three coats of paint. The cabinet paint color looks very white in pictures, but are actually a very light green. Almost a mint green color.
One of the best ways to update a kitchen is to add door and drawer hardware! It can be very inexpensive but really creates a new look to the space.
I also wanted to add a back splash. This was a while ago when we did this, and we were very much struggling financially at the time, so going with a simple subway tile was the best option. I like the timeless and classic look to the tile but it is also one of the lowest cost tile options. You get a lot of tile per box and it goes a long way. I shared a tutorial for laying the subway tile in my bathroom, you can see that full tutorial here.
We do have wood floors throughout our living areas now, we put them in about 4 years ago. Which was something we scrimped and saved for. Putting in new flooring to update a kitchen is not necessary at all if you are not changing any cabinetry in the kitchen, there are a ton of options and inspiration you can find online of people who have painted their linoleum flooring. It can be a really low cost alternative until you can get your dream flooring.
This is such a small detail, but I painted the fan blades white. I do not like how fans look, but the function of them are wonderful, especially in the kitchen. I wanted this fan to blend in better. It was a really easy project to do.
My kitchen is so small, because of the peninsula with the sink. If that was not smack dab in the center of the space it would feel so much bigger. Eventually we plan to take over the small eat in area of the kitchen, which we currently use as a sun room where the kids art table and seating is. Because of the small size I try and keep the decor in here to a minimum.
No matter how much planning I do the counter top seems to be the place my family likes to drop their stuff. The work space in my kitchen is so important to have it function with cooking and food prep, which is why only smaller decor items are here.
With the light green cabinets and the white subway tile it does open the room up a ton. Making it feel bigger without changing the floor plan or opening up walls. I would love to have a good demo day and just get rid of it all, turning it into my dream kitchen…. one day…
Full disclosure, we also have a new stove from the original before picture I shared, which does help with the light and bright feel. The old one was black, but this was not by choice. We were not planning to have our stove and oven stop working, no one ever plans to replace appliances and they always seem to stop working in the worst time. In hindsight I do prefer the all white appliance in my kitchen, but having to replace it was not fun at the time. Adulting and home ownership is not fun sometimes, even though no one is policing how much ice cream I eat or my bed time.
As you can see, this kitchen is tiny. I like the finished look of this room because it added some much needed character, but it also made the space feel bigger. The light from the large windows in the sun room bounces off of the cabinets and it does feel very open.
Aside from my kitchen feeling much more coastal chic, which has my heart. This kitchen makeover was so important because it set me on this journey of decorating my house, turning it into a home. It was my first DIY project and I was amazed with the results. A weekend of work and some paint transformed this room, it made me look at the rest of my house and think “what next?!”
We redid this kitchen with zero DIY skills or tools. We rented a tile cutter and purchased my first ever paint brush for this project. So this kitchen is complete proof of anyone being able to jump in and get things done with their home! I had an infant, a 1 year old and a 3 year old when this project was being done, which is crazy that we tackled it. But, it was worth the upheaval and work. I do not have the exact numbers but I would estimate the cost to be about $250 for everything (except the flooring, which was done later).
Being able to Improve a small kitchen with small updates and DIY ideas is possible without spending a ton of money, having tiny little ones at home, and no DIY skills. Redoing the kitchen in small ways like this is a great way to change up the look of a home. We have never updated the counter tops and will not know as we have plans to eventually change the floor plan of the kitchen, then we will tackle a massive renovation of the kitchen. However, this pretty kitchen has made us very happy for 6 years now and most importantly it set me on this journey of decorating, DIYing and eventually this very blog. I would say this kitchen had a massive impact on my life in so many ways!