Originally published on August 10, 2021


Do you enjoy cooking in it? Love your kitchen to the point where you “go into it and feel blessed every morning”?

You should and you can! I’m Lory from DesignThusiasm , and today I’m going to tell you how I transformed my builder-grade, cookie-cutter kitchen into the fantasy kitchen of my dreams on a tight budget.

The prior image is seen above. The rooms in our townhouse were large but dark when we first moved in two years ago. Dark duck blue paint covered the kitchen walls, and the island’s lights were dim amber pendants that faced downward. Knowing that I would eventually be doing a kitchen remodel, I fixed those two things right away.

We were appreciative that we had a good layout. But for 20 years, I’ve wanted a white kitchen! The contractor talked me out of adding white cabinets when we gutted the kitchen in our previous home, claiming that they would become out of date over time. 20 years later, I was still pining for a white kitchen!

So, this is how the same kitchen seems right now.
Although the footprint is identical, as you can see, I think you’ll agree that it appears to be a brand-new kitchen.
Yet it isn’t.
And that is how we made huge financial savings.

I would have wanted to pull out the cabinets and start again, to be perfectly honest. I detest the fact that they don’t reach the ceiling and that they aren’t entirely personalized. While the craftsmanship is fine, it’s not top notch, and some of the inside elements are not located where I would have like. However, we must all choose our fights, and I would have had to wait a very long time to completely reconstruct a kitchen. Instead, I had to consider where to spend our money on remodeling our kitchen. What needed to be invested in, and where could we safely save money?

The simplest option was to leave the cabinets alone and have them painted. You can save even more money by painting them yourself, but I hired a cabinet builder because I was adding glass fronts to the higher cabinets. Even with outsourcing, the job was much less expensive than purchasing new cabinets. (We used White Dove Benjamin Moore Muralo Semi Gloss.) Although I’m very smitten with the white cabinets, I believe the glass fronts have a greater impact on how open the room seems and how it “breathes.”

The way we treated the counter tops was the second important area where we might have saved money but still significantly improved the appearance. Yes, I would have adored a kitchen with white marble countertops throughout. The ogee border of the black granite is extremely unappealing to me. But since we had a lot of counter space, it simply wasn’t feasible financially.

So I decided that by just replacing the counter on the island, we would get the most for our money. Even though it was the smallest section to repair, the room’s lighting was much improved by its central location. I adore putting my breakfast together on this gorgeous white counter. (I ultimately chose quartz for the kitchen because of its performance value.)

So where did I select to invest throughout my kitchen renovation?

I made the decision not to give in on the backsplash. Although it’s a small area, you face it directly. I insisted on having the thick granite piece at the bottom removed first. I like simple shapes, thus I wanted the backsplash to be made of just one material. It is easier than you think to take your kitchen from builder grade to gorgeous on a budget! Learn how to get the most out of your kitchen makeover. I chose calacatta gold, my preferred marble. This element of the space, in my opinion, adds something exceptional. It’s comparable to donning a chic silk scarf over a timeless ensemble. Plain white subway tile would have sufficed for the makeover, but I opted to spend the extra money.

I decided to replace the floor as well because I abhorred the original ceramic tile’s drab hue.

I’ll let you in on another little secret, though: the floor isn’t made of wood planks at all. It is a gorgeous antiqued wood pattern on porcelain tile. Compared to ceramic, it is warmer underfoot and requires less upkeep. And I adore the farmhouse feel the floor gives the space. Additionally, as a simple yet attractive finishing touch, we attached corbels to the island’s underside.

Our new place allows me to decorate it anyway I choose, which is what I enjoy most about it. White allows for the use of any accent hue, and I especially enjoy incorporating vintage items into the space to give it a modern French farmhouse feel.

Hardware replacement is another popular suggestion for quick but profound change. Since I’ve always loved gold trim, the current craze for unlacquered brass fits my aesthetic preferences wonderfully. I utilized this metal to make bin pulls for the drawers and door pulls for the cabinets. I don’t mind at all mixing metals in my homes because it gives coziness and a hint of glitz.

Over the island, three miniature crystal chandeliers give homage to my distinctive style. I have a farmhouse table that has been whitewashed and a variety of French country chairs in the adjacent breakfast area beside the windows. Although I hadn’t intended to mix and match chairs, when you discover a fantastic deal on them and there are only two remaining, mixing items with a similar theme can be a terrific way to save money.

Our kitchen is the center of our home, and I always have a nice feeling when I enter.

Take another look at what’s currently there if you don’t love your kitchen and you think a complete remodel would be too expensive. What can be altered by painting? What would be a low-cost improvement? You might be able to fit that marble backsplash into your budget by identifying the worthwhile alterations that don’t cost much.

The details of the various parts of our remodeling are available at the links below if you’d like to see them in greater detail:

Grab Tasha’s free guide on how to design a space you love before you leave as well. It is packed with useful advice that you may use to organize your own kitchen remodel or makeover:)

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