This post has been a long time in the making and I almost don’t know where to start!
Let me put a disclaimer out there upfront: our kitchen is far from “finished” or perfect. There are still numerous projects we would like to tackle when time and money allow, there’s tons of painting that still needs finished (I’m looking at you miles of trim), but for under $2000, we’ve been able to transform our dark and dated 1980’s space into a light and bright farmhouse kitchen.
Here’s a (mostly) before picture and a brief overview of what we’ve done in the past almost three years since we moved in.
- Painted the cabinets.
This was our biggest hurdle and game changer for the room. I plan on doing a more in depth tutorial on this soon, but for now I’ll hit some of the high points for anyone interested. I fell in love with the two tone cabinet look after perusing Pinterest for several months. While its not a super traditional choice, I am so glad that I went with my gut and did it! We used Behr Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel in Colonial White for the uppers and Diplomat Blue on the base cabinets. Its a water based paint that acts like an oil, so we didn’t have to seal it with anything allowing us to eliminate a step. We also switched out the old brass hardware for new oil rubbed bronze pulls and knobs.
- Installed a beadboard backsplash.
While I initially envisioned white subway tile for our backsplash, we ultimately went with beadboard for its ease of installation and cost efficiency. It gave us the same streamlined, farmhouse feel that subway tile produces, but for a fraction of the cost. We also covered the bulkhead above our upper cabinets with beadboard. By painting all of the beadboard the same shade of white as our cabinets, everything is light, bright and cohesive.
- Painted the countertops.
Let me first stress that this is a temporary fix. You can buy countertop refinishing kits that are more of a permanent solution, but that is not what this is. I did a post all about painting our countertops that you can find HERE. They’ve been done for awhile and are still holding up quite well considering the wear and tear they get. However, as I already stated, they are temporary. I would still love to put butcher block countertops in our kitchen if our budget ever allows. But for a very small amount, they look oodles better than they did.
- Purchased new appliances.
New appliances also helped spruce up the space tremendously. The fridge was still in good condition, but it was way too big for where it was located (plus it looked ugly!) so we downsized to a little bit smaller stainless steel refrigerator that fit the space much better. The stove, on the other hand, was literally falling apart. We also bought and installed a dishwasher right after we moved in. There was a space for one with hookups, but there were shelves in the area. I couldn’t handle not having a dishwasher so it was a must do on our list. All of our appliances were purchased on sale and also at different times, which made such big purchases much more economical. I even used money made from a yard sale we had with all of the stuff left in the house to buy our dishwasher!
In addition to the four major improvements listed above, we painted the walls Edgecomb Gray and trim bright white, added a coffee bar with shelves, replaced the old fluorescent lights, hung curtains and added decorative/functional items that we mostly already had (like the dresser I repurposed into our coffee bar). Oh and used lots of elbow grease cleaning!
Here’s a final breakdown of the improvements we’ve done so far.
- Paint & Supplies: $90
- Cabinet Hardware: $89
- New Appliances: $1,500
- Beadboard: $100
- Countertop Paint: $20
- Over the Sink Light: $20
- DIY Overhead Light: $50
- Shelving: $35
Grand Total: $1,874
Here’s the list of things that we would still like to do in the kitchen:
- Replace the vinyl flooring with tile.
- Replace the dinged up sink and leaky faucet.
- Paint entire ceiling.
- Paint the bases of lower cabinets (I’m trying to wait for new flooring before doing this!)
- Possible add a small island and a few stools.
Overall, we’ve tackled A LOT and spent very little money for the amount it has improved things. By shopping smart and buying things either on sale or purchasing lower end items and DIYing everything ourselves, we have managed to save a ton of money while creating the farmhouse kitchen that I wanted. It goes to show that you can create a beautiful home even on a tight budget!