Before and After: A Dim, Dated Kitchen Gets a Refreshing DIY Makeover for $400

updated Jul 15, 2020
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Before: dark wood kitchen with beige floors

The 1960s gave the world a lot of groovy stuff—think bean bag chairs, Sputnik light fixtures, and funky colors like avocado and mustard. But some of the decor looked a lot better back in the 1960s than it does today. Case in point: Anna Westbury’s dark wood kitchen, original to her 1968 home. Its dark wood cabinets felt imposing, and the clunky fan made the ceiling feel extra low. Anna had already replaced the old beige appliances (win!) but the rest of the kitchen still needed a little work to feel fresh and inviting. That said, she didn’t want to spend a ton of money to get it there. So, Anna got to work on a DIY makeover that would keep costs low but impact high.

The biggest change Anna made? Giving her cabinets a new color palette that feels very 2020. She opted for deep green (Valspar’s Treeline) for the lower cabinets and bright white (Sherwin-Williams’ Extra White) for the uppers and walls. “I love the two-toned cabinets and am so happy I chose the green instead of playing it safe with a gray,” Anna says. “It is very much my style and makes the space feel truly like me.”

Anna also created a new breakfast nook to utilize the empty space at one end of the kitchen. She outfitted the inviting bistro-inspired space with a chic vintage-look table from Home Goods and cane chairs that she thrifted, then finished it with a healthy dose of plants and artwork.

Another one of the standout changes in the kitchen was the fan update. Anna moved it from its odd position in the center of the kitchen to slightly outside the cabinet area. In its old place, she put in a modern gold ceiling light with a super low profile, which makes the ceiling feel taller. The fan was painted green to match the cabinets exactly, and it now provides a nice breeze to the new breakfast nook—which Anna says is necessary for making it through South Carolina summers.

In the end, final costs were somewhere around $400 for paint and supplies. “Eventually we are hoping to change out the countertops, sink, floors, and add a gas range but those projects will have to wait on us to save some more,” Anna says. For now, though, the green and white cabinets give a breath of fresh air to the kitchen.

Anna encourages anyone who’s been considering a kitchen redo to just bite the bullet and go for it: “It seems daunting and in the middle of the project it kind of stinks, but afterwards you will wonder why you waited!” she says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.