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Room Therapy: Easy Fixes For an Outdated Kitchen

Hi CasaSugar Readers,

My husband and I are purchasing our first home, and I would love suggestions on how to "refresh" the kitchen and bathroom. In the end, we're going to only have probably $2,000 (max) to spend on both spaces.
In the kitchen, I'm thinking of painting the cabinets, and the countertops (has anyone done countertops painting?). What do you guys think of that idea? Does anyone have a better idea than that? I'm rather desperate. And it's going to be a few years or so, since hub and I have to save up to complete the reno, so I really want it to be a nice, decent and comfortable place for me to cook, since I love to cook.

P.S. I like muted and neutral colors usually. My appliances most likely will be white.

Thanks in advance!

Do you have any great ideas for Nevaeh? Leave them after the jump!

Hi Nevaeh,

My advice is to definitely paint your cabinets! Also, check out this advice for painting your countertops. Just make sure to cover the paint with a clear urethane so the countertops will hold up to the wear and tear of daily use (especially since you love to cook).

I'm sure that Casa readers have a lot of other great, economic ideas for improving your space. I can't wait to hear everyone's great ideas for Nevaeh's kitchen!

Good luck on your reno,

kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
Thank you SO MUCH for all the suggestions. They are great and now we can't wait to move in and start the budget 'reno.' I'm definitely going to be painting the cabinets, changing the hardwares (can you believe that this kitchen has 3 different outdated hardwares? LOL) and new linoleum for the floor (I wanted to do tiles, but hubby thinks that it's impractical :grumble: ). Thank you again and I'll keep you guys updated. :)
Asche Asche 8 years
I just saw this and thought of you. You could buy a piece of canvas, paint, shellac, and design a really great floor cloth (if you're creative):
witchbaby witchbaby 8 years
some open shelving could look really good I guess it depends on the entire style of the room if it is actually doable. maybe you could put some floating shelves on the side next to the window? changing the handles and hinges could give it a different look too. replacing the faucet and? sink could add to it. doing a really great window treatment and adding a bold rug. Please post some after pictures when you are done. Would love to see the change! :)
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
Couple warnings for you. First - Those look like pretty old cabinets. If you find that you really love the look of concrete, you may have to reinforce the cabinets to hold it, it's extremely heavy. If you really want to replace the counter and you can't afford concrete or corian, etc.. you can great really great laminates for 21-25 dollars a sqare foot. Also, you only really need a backspash behind the sink. So you can get clearanced tile, something decorative and tile behind the sink with those - really make it a focal point, then maybe if you want to even out the look you could continue with a much shorter backsplash for the remainder of the room that would match. We have cafe curtains in our kitchen. Gives you privacy, still get the light. I think they are great. Not many bathroom tips here. There are always sales at places like Home Depot and Lowe's. We got two boxes of 16" tile at Lowe's for 12 dollars each. It just takes some searching. Look for a cheap toilet with a GOOD flush rating. That's the most important part. Get a cheap mirror either at a yard sale, or TJMaxx, etc that is about 18x24 for each sink in the bathroom. You can put it in a fancier frame, or paint the frame to update it. Vinyl tiles aren't great, but they work for updating a floor cheaply (bathroom or kitchen). They are easy to install, and around a dollar a piece. You can also find cool hardware on eBay, but I want to give you a tip. To do that for a lower price, look at the hardware that is on each door that you aren't paying attention too- the hinges! If the hinges are brass or gold, getting silver pulls without replacing them will look tacky. Either go with something that matches, or go with a colored pull so that you don't have a "metal clash". You can take off the hinges and paint them as well, it's hard work to get them all back in the right place, but it's a cheaper option. I'll keep thinking!
hihowareya hihowareya 8 years
If there's a recycling/environmental depot/dump in your area, that can be a marvelous free source of otherwise pricey products (specialty glues/adhesives/epoxies, oil/acrylic/spray paints, cleaning products, grout, stains, polyurethanes, etc.) Other local recycling facilities offer building supplies and other things for discount prices, though selections can be limited/outdated/etc. You can get a $5 gallon of "oops" paint at Home Depot: high quality paint in trendy colors for super cheap is nice. In the back of my Home Depot I noticed some awesome clearance specialty sinks. These sinks would usually retail for a couple hundred dollars, but they were for less than $50, many just $25 or even $15. Concrete /can/ be very cheap, but it can also be /extremely/ labor intensive. I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable and how beautiful butcher block counters are from Home Depot: they're special orders but what a great product. Though butcher block counters require a lot of upkeep. Through eBay or Amazon you might be able to score some great deals on new cabinet hardware. I noticed Walmart also carries affordable cabinet hardware. Some shelving to the left of the sink, and a continuation of the countertop over the appliance there would be nice. There's so many awesome possibilities for backplashes if you want that look. Little fancy wall tiles can be pretty expensive, so maybe thinking outside the box can offer more affordable and even more rewarding and customized options. I've noticed some really nice placemats, for example. At $1 and made out of bamboo or something, they could be glued on the wall with strong adhesive, then slap on a couple of coats of polyurethane or some other varnish that can make it waterproof. Also of course there's wallpaper, or even nice gift-wrapping paper that could be used. So many beautiful, functional, and affordable options out there. I wanted to try and paint my countertop, too, but I've been rather nervous...I basically don't want it to look like I painted on my countertop. I've seen it done online, but I've never seen it in person and I'd really like to know how durable it actually is. Our breathtakingly beautiful (sarcasm) 80's china blue Formica has held up marvelously for over 20 years, but of course it is extremely/painfully dated. Add to that our golden oak cabinets and golden brass fixtures, and it's back to hearts and geese and everything country bumpkin 80's in kitchen design. :-P Ok, enough babbling for now. GOOD LUCK! LOOKS LIKE FUN!
Home Home 8 years
Thanks everybody! These are great suggestions!
mianakao mianakao 8 years
Aside from the obvious, like paint, I would recommend you buy some new linoleum flooring. It's super cheap, but can look great if you choose something simple (and lighter than the 70's beige you have in there). Also, be sure to buy the thicker kind - if you buy linoleum that is paper thin, it'll tear and bubble and ultimately be a waste of money. While buying new hardware is an inexpensive face lift for your kitchen, it can add up! Look for sales this weekend at Home Depot and check craigslist for used or eclectic hardware. Good luck! Post photos when you're finished!
Zivanod Zivanod 8 years
Painting the cabinets a light colour would brighten the room. Maybe add drawer pulls in a bright colour to add some pop. I also think contact paper can work really well as a backsplash. My mom did that at her apartment with contact paper from the dollar store and it worked well. Plants or even a print can also add a nice visual.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 8 years
Painting the cabinets will make a huge difference. Also when we painted ours we used the cheapest trim they sell at home depot and added trim about an inch in on all of them and they came out great. my cabinets are very old and adding the trim when we painted them made them look much more modern.
Asche Asche 8 years
1) Sand a paint the cabinets, change the knobs with something stylish from Anthropologie (their sales on hardware are fantastic!) 2) Buy some small tiles on eBay, read something along the lines of "Grouting for Dummies," and add a backsplash. Tiling is really not so complicated. 3) Poured concrete counters are AMAZING. I don't think their very expensive but I'm not sure...does anyone else know? 4) Get some great window treatment for that window. 5) Bring some life into the place by means of plants. Orchids are great, low maintenance plants if you know nothing about gardening, or you could always make a great window herb garden. 6) Why not looks for some type of floor covering that would work well in a kitchen (easily cleaned). I look at Flor modular carpets and get something simple for in there. 7) Paint, paint, paint! White walls are so drab. You need to warm up the place! If you aren't comfortable with decorating, I always find that a monochrome palette is virtually idiot proof. Work with something like lighter blue tones for paint backsplash, etc to create a really chic and inviting space. With everything I have suggested (minus the concrete counter tops b/c i really don't know about prices), I think you could easily follow these suggestions for $500-700.
katyharper katyharper 8 years
Removing the cabinets on the top and replacing them with open shelving might brighten up the room if you have some cute plates and glasses. Definitely paint the countertops, or even see if you can find some closeout tile and cover them with that yourself. A cute rug and maybe a rolling island (like from Target) might mask some of the floor, and a panel of fabric hanging from the ceiling covering just the top of the window would look good and make that window look much bigger than it is. Also, get some new drawer pulls for those drawers on the bottom. Good luck! Send some pictures when it's finished!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
Paint it your friend! Use it! Also I would say maybe take the knobs off and replace them with cool ones that fit your style. Adding curtains to the window will make it look more like a home too, blinds are nice, but I think curtains just look more lived in.
reactionary reactionary 8 years
unfortunately i dont have any pictures of the before, but i just moved into a college apartment and our kitchen was atrocious. horrible lime green paint, dark wood cabinets, really outdated handles and ugly countertops. we painted the room a coral color, painted the cabinets white, got new cabinet pulls, and some contact paper for the cabinets. it looks INCREDIBLE, and we barely spent any money, probably only a few hundred dollars total. that would leave you enough money to get a lot fo things, maybe even change the floor or countertop. painting the cabinets and the fixtures really changed the whole room though.
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