When we bought our house, the kitchen was a big selling feature.  We had stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and a nice closet for storage.  But as time went on, and we lived in our house for a while, my feelings about the kitchen changed.

We can’t afford a full kitchen re-do, but we could find a couple hundred bucks for a D.I.Y. kitchen makeover.

So that’s exactly what we did!

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We painted our wood cabinets, added new pulls, and replaced the window valance.  All in, our total cost was $197.

Before: DSC_3839

It’s not bad, it’s just… tired.  The wood cabinets make the room darker and the brass pulls needed constant cleaning.  Ironically, most of those things didn’t bother me much until I started blogging, and needing pictures for my blog.  That’s when I realized how dark the kitchen was.  Ideally, I’d add another window over the stove (and blow out a few walls), but we’re years away from being able to afford that.


Of course, the down side of doing your own kitchen makeover is that you have to live like this while you’re doing it.  You’d think that would be motivation to get it done, but it took us over a month.  You know… life.


I picked out new pulls* and knobs* which are pretty much my new favorite things ever.  They change the feel of the whole room.  Instead of replacing the hinges I just spray painted* them and saved a ton of money.

For paint I used General Finishes Snow White*.  It’s a gorgeous pure white and doesn’t require sanding.  This is the same brand I used when I refinished our dining room furniture, and it’s so easy to work with.  It does take many, many coats to go from wood to white.  Many.  Many.  Coats.

On top of the paint I added 3-6 coats of General Finishes High Performance Topcoat* to seal the paint.  I did 3 coats in places like under the cabinets and on the end caps, which don’t really get touched.  On the doors and the cabinets where the doors hit I did 6 coats for extra protection.


DSC_4603 DSC_4606 DSC_4607

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.  It’s so much brighter and it has such a fresh feeling.  I really can’t believe it’s our kitchen!

There are some things I’ll share with you, in the name of free advice.  While there’s no need to sand with General Finishes paint, I wish we had sanded down some things before starting.  There are a few bumps and whatnot that were unnoticable on wood, but are pretty obvious under our new satin finish.

I also would have caulked around the edges of the cabinets first.  It would make for a more professional looking final product.  We also need a new baseboard around the bottom.  Somehow I never noticed how bad that looked before!  I’ll definitely be completing these steps this summer.


Before and After 1 Before and After 2

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Does your kitchen need an update, but a full remodel isn't in the budget? Here's how we complete a full kitchen makeover with less than $200!