How To Prioritize Work on Dated Kitchen and Bath?

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Q: My partner is buying his first house just a half mile from mine, and it's cute and CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN (super well maintained). However, the kitchen and bathroom have traditional, almost country, honey oak dated cabinets.

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Pink was a favorite color of the previous owner, the Formica counter-top has a hint of pink and the bathroom floor is full on pink tile. Replacing cabinets or flooring in kitchen is not an option, and he does not want to paint the cabinets. They are nice, the oaky grain and the top curve just makes them look so dated.

We need help prioritizing what changes to make first/at the top of the budget... What on this list do you think deserves top priority? Or something we left off that is even more important?

Here's the plan so far:
- Kitchen window treatments will come down immediately. Replace with what - considering charcoal or white rolling screen-shades (think those chilewich shades).
- We will replace the brass hardware, probably with brushed nickel (or stainless) like the photo above.
- Consider replacing kitchen countertop with (sigh) updated formica.
- Stainless steel sink and faucet - or are the current ones not too offensive?
- If there is any money in the budget, purchase *counter-depth* stainless fridge (unlikely in the short term though so suggestions are welcome re: current appliances).
- Should we replace the kitchen light? With what - a nautical-ish pendant lamp? Trying to avoid the boob light!

In the bathroom I really have no idea. Live with it until he can replace the floor and vanity? Any suggestions in the meantime? P.S. You can't see the shower but it's 70s silver flecked white tile.

Sent by Nicole

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.