Before and After: A $500 Kitchen Redo Proves How Far Little Changes Can Go

published Nov 26, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Beige kitchen with wooden cabinets

Kitchens are some of the most expensive rooms to renovate—between new cabinets, appliances, countertops, backsplashes, lighting, and more, it all can add up to be a fortune. Deboshree Dutta of RoomPlays can attest: When she first got quotes for completely renovating the kitchen in the 1970s townhouse she shares with her husband, they ranged from $18,000 to $50,000 for the job. Yikes!

A full renovation would have also meant waiting waiting for permits from the city and their HOA, Deboshree says. So rather than shelling out all that cash—and putting their project on hold for permits—Deboshree and her husband decided to take matters into their own hands to see how much they could accomplish on their own (and for how little).

Deboshree and her husband decided to do just four things in refreshing their kitchen: paint the cabinets and backsplash white, replace the cabinet hardware, swap out the lighting in the kitchen and over the bar, and add some modern-looking bar stools.

The process took only about three days of work, and the only piece they didn’t do themselves was installing the kitchen’s chandelier where the old fluorescent box light had been.

Total cost came in well under even the lowest $18,000 estimate: just $500 including the bar stools. While a full reno would have involved new countertops and an expanded layout, Deboshree is pleased with how the space turned out with just a few small changes. “When I started the project, my plan was to give this a try and see what we could achieve and then evaluate if it would be worth spending the additional amount to achieve the look and feel I want in my small kitchen,” she says. “But when we woke up the next morning, it seriously felt like we’d woken up to a different kitchen!”

Deboshree says seeing other people’s before and after transformations helped her work up the courage to take on her own. “Don’t be intimidated by the size of these projects,” she advises. “Do it on your own time, on your own dime! The end result is more satisfying than you can imagine.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.