Our Low Cost Kitchen Makeovers

Yes, with an “s” more than one. 🙂 I’m just hoping I can find enough good pictures to state my case. (The ones I have so far are pretty old. They should give you a pretty good idea of what it looked like, I hope.)

You really can make a kitchen look worlds better with a can of paint and a little updating. While certain kitchens are better off having an entire Kitchen Remodel Denver, a lot of them can be made to look extra beautiful without much work at all. When we moved into the house, the kitchen was beige sponge painted (not necessarily well either) and the previous owner had apples nailed to the wall so there were lots of holes left. It was a very suburban country kitchen. Ummm, not us at all. It also had oak cabinets. Now, oak can be lovely and many people love it. We don’t. I find it to be heavy, masculine, and dated. First thing we did was replace the stainless sink with a black granite one, paint the walls, and then just lived with that for a while.

A few years later we came across this cool “tin ceiling” tiles at the “Orange” Home Improvement Store. They are plastic so easy to cut, mount with double sided tape or caulk and look cool. There is matching plastic trim pieces to finish it off too. It inspired us to do a few other things and we painted the cabinets and after talking to a decorator friend about this paper bag floor she heard about, decided to do it on the countertops. THe price was pretty good too- (they’re $20 when I checked today) and are 18 x 24 so they cover a lot of real estate. We installed them with the double sided tape, thinking that would be easier. I honestly think the caulk would have been a more simple route. The tape has no “play” you can’t slide it around to get it in the right place, once you stick it, that is where it is, unless you re-tape, etc.

When I painted the cabinets, I used Ralph Lauren Paint in Turret Stair. I LOVE Ralph Lauren Paint. His colors are amazing and the quality is unmatched. I DESPISE the replacement “big name” paint that has taken his place at the “Orange” big box store. It’s horrible quality, chips easily and hardly covers at all. Blech. I have to be honest here- I didn’t sand the cabinets. I didn’t prime the cabinets. I cleaned them with 409 or something similar to cut the grease etc and then just painted them. I’m short on time (and really just impatient with a short attention span). They held up wonderfully until I touched them up with that “replacement” paint I spoke of earlier for a video/photo shoot. (more on that later)


For the countertops my husband found a site online about kraft paper floors and adapted it a bit for the countertops. We figured if it didn’t work, we were going to have to get new countertops anyway so give it a shot. It did work and looked awesome! We took out the sink so we could wrap the pieces under. You can probably do it without doing that, it just gives a cleaner look though if you do take it out.

We bought a huge roll of kraft paper ($40 maybe) ripped the paper into uneven sections (Larger ones or it’ll take forever), then crumpled them a bit. We bought a wall paper tray and poured in some Polyacrylic (I think we used Semi-gloss) and dipped the sections in one at a time and layer them on the counters, wrapping them underneath when necessary and layering them a little on top of each other. You want each piece good and wet, but not soggy so work with one piece at a time and don’t throw a whole bunch of pieces in the liquid at once or it makes a big mess and they start to tear when you take them out.

We laid them on the countertops in sections until we were just happy with the way it looked. Then we waited for it to dry. The can says 2 hours- that is for a layer in a normal application. It takes a few more hours than that with this first section. I would recommend doing any connected countertops at the same time. In other words, don’t do one side of the kitchen and then come back in the morning to finish it if it has to connect over the sink- I think it might look odd and not adhere properly if one section was dry and the you slapped a wet section on top of it. Waiting on an island or something I’m sure would be fine.

Once that first section was dry we lightly sanded it with 220 grit paper all over and wiped it down with a damp cloth. When it was dry we slapped on another layer of Poly. We used both a roller and brush. Honestly it really doesn’t matter which you use. The key to avoiding brush strokes is use plenty on your brush and don’t over brush it out thin. In other words, put it on fairly thickly for build up and just enough before it starts to drip then slowly run the brush over the top and watch as it quickly levels out and the brush marks disappear. If this doesn’t happen, you don’t have your brush loaded up enough.

We put at least 7 layers of Poly on it before we were comfortable with how it looked. Probably could have done 5 or 6 more, we just needed our kitchen back someday. I would recommend at least one layer added each year for maintenance. Other than that, it is fairly maintenance free. We cleaned it with 409 and wiped it down just like the formica countertop we had before.

I was able to find this silly picture of my goofy husband and silly neighbor that shows the backsplash (on the right) the countertops (on the left) and the cabinets. My apologies to my silly neighbor who, if she ever sees this, may be a whit upset with me for posting it.

If I remember correctly this makeover was well under $500 (maybe more in the $300-350 range) total I would think. I remember the countertops were around $70, paint was only 1 gallon to do all those cabinets, and the backsplash was probably the most pricey. $20 a sheet plus matching trim pieces.

There are two more stages before we get to where we are today…



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