Kitchen Makeover Secrets That Will Save You Money

It is easier than you think to take your kitchen from builder grade to gorgeous on a budget! These kitchen makeover secrets will save you money and give you great ideas!

Do you love your kitchen? I mean ‘walk into it and feel blessed every morning’ love your kitchen?

You can and you should! I’m Lory from DesignThusiasm and today I’m going to share with you how I gave my cookie-cutter, builder grade kitchen a dream kitchen makeover on a budget.

The photo above is the before pic. When we moved into our townhouse 2 years ago, the rooms were spacious but very dark. The kitchen walls were painted a dark mallard blue and the lights over the island were down-facing amber pendants, offering very little light. I immediately changed those two things, knowing I had a kitchen makeover planned down the line.

We were grateful to be blessed with a good layout. But I’ve wanted a white kitchen for 20 years! When we gutted our kitchen in our old house, the contractor talked me out of installing white cabinets, saying they’d look dated as the years passed. Here we were 20 years later and I still longed for a white kitchen!!

So this is what the same kitchen looks like today…

While you can see the footprint is exactly the same, I think you’ll agree it looks like a completely new kitchen.

But it’s not.

And that’s how we saved a ton of money.
Now, to be sure, I would have loved to rip out the cabinets and start from scratch. They’re not fully custom and I hate that they don’t extend to the ceiling. Some of the interior features are not where I would have chosen to put them and while the quality is ok, it’s not top shelf. But we all have to pick our battles and I would’ve had to wait many years to renovate a kitchen from the ground up. So instead I had to evaluate where to put our money during our kitchen makeover. What was worth investing in and where could we comfortably cut corners?

The most obvious choice was to keep the cabinets and have them painted. You can save even more money by painting them yourself, but I was putting glass fronts in the upper cabinets, so I had a cabinet maker do the work. Even hiring out, the work was a fraction of the cost of buying new cabinets. (We used Benjamin Moore Muralo Semi Gloss in White Dove.) I’m crazy in love with the white cabinets, but I think the glass fronts make an even bigger difference in opening up the space and letting it feel like it “breathes.”

The second key money-saver that nonetheless made a huge difference to the look is the way we approached the counter tops. Yep, I would have loved all white marble counters throughout the kitchen. I don’t love the black granite and especially the ogee edge. But we have a lot of counter space and that just wasn’t in the budget.
So, I determined we’d get the biggest bang for our buck by just replacing the counter on the island. While it was the smallest area to replace, it’s location in the center of the room made a huge impact in lightening the space. I absolutely love preparing my breakfast on this lovely white counter. (I wound up with quartz for its performance value in the kitchen.)

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