Before and After: A Budget Kitchen Redo Makes Chocolate Brown Cabinets Look Oh-So Chic

published Jan 9, 2024
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According to Apartment Therapy’s trend-predicting Designer Survey for 2024, chocolate brown is in, as are dark wood tones, meaning this kitchen redo from Tiffany Brown-Barino (@myeclecticnest) is perfectly on-trend for today despite keeping its ’90s-style cabinets.

“The cabinet color is almost always someone’s BEFORE picture,” Tiffany writes on Instagram. But she shows how to make the oak brown look chic with a few other DIYs.

“Our kitchen countertops were in great condition, but I definitely didn’t like how dark they were and how dark they made the kitchen feel,” Tiffany says of the kitchen before. The counters and the dark tile backsplash changed in a budget-friendly redo — the former for only $95. 

An epoxy countertop coating adds a faux quartz look. 

Tiffany’s countertops before were granite, and when she couldn’t decide what stone she wanted to replace them with, she decided to go with a more affordable fix for the interim.

“Using epoxy paint for the countertops checked all of the boxes,” Tiffany says. (She used a white Rustoleum epoxy to do so.) “All of the brown granite was painted white, and it really resembles a white quartz which is really pretty.” 

Tiffany says the project required a bit of patience because the layers of paint have to go on pretty quickly after one another to prevent any odd drying or bubbling, but it was worth it. “This project is definitely budget-friendly, as the epoxy paint is under $30 per quart, and that quart goes a long way,” she says. 

The brown veining in the backsplash adds warmth.

Tiffany says if she ever chose to go with a real stone for her countertop, she’d select something with veining “to really bring out those warm cabinet tones,” but for now, she’s pleased with the veining in the “marble” backsplash. 

“The original plan was to also paint the brown tile backsplash,” Tiffany says, but because she was already painting the counters, she went with a simpler DIY to brighten things up behind the sink. The backsplash is a peel-and-stick faux stone option that adds vertical drama to the space because it extends up the walls. “I LOVE it so much more than I think I would have liked the painted backsplash!” Tiffany writes on her blog. “It’s peel-and-stick, so very low-commitment but high return on style!”

Mixed metals add a bit of glam.

Tiffany completed her space with a few champagne and gold accents, like the chandelier in place of the pendant, the lamp on the countertop, the cake tray, and the new cabinet pulls. She chose a new chrome faucet, however, to match the existing stainless steel appliances. 

Tiffany’s kitchen redo proves you don’t have to make big, expensive overhauls to give your kitchen a more contemporary look. For more kitchen redos that keep their brown cabinets from the ‘80s, ‘90s, or early aughts, check out these five makeovers.

“Rooms don’t always require a full gut job (albeit sometimes they do).” Tiffany writes on Instagram. “Most often, just some simple updates can revamp the space completely.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.