Before & After: This Under-$200 Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Brings the Drama

published Sep 7, 2023
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wood cabinets, wood floor, fridge, oven, grey countertops, large round lighting fixture
Credit: Jessica Blue

Painting your kitchen cabinets is a quick, easy way to totally transform the space. Depending on what paint you go with (especially if you use budget-friendly paints), it can be an inexpensive way to breathe new life into your room without making permanent structural changes. It’s also an easy way to experiment with adding a pop of color or emotion to your kitchen.

When Jessica Blue, the founder and principal of Jessica Blue Interiors, LLC, wanted to zhuzh up the basic kitchen in her colorful Chicago condo, she turned to a paint can. 

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“I wanted to create drama, and what better way than through a dark paint color?” Blue said. “Seeing as we were also keeping existing appliances and the subway backsplash tile, which are stainless and white, I thought creating contrast paired with details like a vintage runner with warm accents would pair nicely.”

The project took her and her contractor husband, Marcel Urbanski, less than a week, and cost under $200. Here’s how the couple reimagined their kitchen without doing a complete renovation. 

Blue started by picking Benjamin Moore’s Gray paint to contrast the light-colored backsplash and countertops. After the shade of choice was secured, it was time for her and Urbanski to get to work. Here’s their shortcut method to DIY updating their kitchen cabinets. 

  1. Remove the doors and cabinet faces and paint them by hand (they put cardboard boxes underneath to prevent any messes from splattering onto the floor). 
  2. If you don’t feel like painting the inside of the cabinets, that’s OK! To save money and time, the duo painted only the forward-facing parts of the cabinet and left the interiors their original oak color. 
  3. Let the cabinet doors dry. 
  4. Once the cabinets are dry, reinstall them. If you want to update the hardware like Blue did, now’s a good time to do so. 

If Blue’s experience has inspired you to change your kitchen cabinet color, she says to look at colors outside the norm that you might see on TV or social media. 

“Kitchens typically are the spaces where you can create a statement, and with so many paint companies offering digital tools through their apps or offering larger swatches, you can experiment first without committing and then having to re-paint everything if you don’t like it,” Blue said. 

The cosmetic updates that she and her husband did to their kitchen make the space feel “like it’s acquired personality and depth,” Blue said. The dark gray cabinets, elevated Moen hardware, and textures from the potted plants and Ruggable rug make the space feel safe, cozy, and creative.

And the dark gray kitchen isn’t the only striking feature in Blue’s eclectic Chicago condo. To see more of her ideas and inspiration come to life, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy. 

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: Before & After: This Under-$200 Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Brings the Drama