Money Month

8 Inspiring Kitchens Redos That Still Keep the Big Stuff, Including Appliances, Counters, and Cabinets

published Mar 31, 2022
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There’s nothing like Apartment Therapy’s Before & Afters to show you that it’s possible to make unrecognizable transformations to your home even on a budget, and this month, we’re celebrating kitchen redos that majorly save money by making old countertops, cabinets, floors, appliances, and more look new again.

These eight redos prove it’s possible to make a 180 in the kitchen with no major demos or splurges involved, and it’s possible to make something old and dated feel new again with a bit of TLC. Prepare to be inspired to keep that laminate, oak, or slightly dated fridge, microwave, or range after all.

A $300 Renter-Friendly Kitchen Redo Has a “Jaw-Dropping” DIY Floor

This $300 kitchen redo by Cyeira Carriere keeps the laminate counters and floors and wraps them in peel-and-stick coverings to make a total aesthetic change. In fact, keeping the old square laminate floors from before proved to be a blessing as Cyeira was painting the new checkerboard look on top of white contact paper; she used them as a guide to create her new pattern. Click here to read more about how she created the renter-friendly look.

Innovative Paint Projects Totally Transform This Kitchen (and Its Old Fridge)

This $165 redo proves the power of paint. Not only did homeowner Adrianna Gardini paint her countertops a marble-y white and her floors a grayish black color using leftover paint and a paint marker, she also made her plain white refrigerator a new ombre design feature. “Who says you can’t paint a fridge?!” Adrianna says. She says “the real magic happens” in a redo when there’s not room in the budget to add large stone slabs or install expensive materials and you have to get creative. She also likes that design risks are less permanent this way.

Credit: Lani Kennefick
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This $0 (Yes, Free) Tile Refresh Looks Way More Expensive

Another win for creative paint jobs, this plain white subway tile transformation looks way more expensive than it is — especially considering that it was zero dollars. Lani Kennefick used paint she already had and triangle stencils cut from paper to create a designer-looking backsplash behind her stovetop. “The plastic tile was a perfect canvas for something more interesting,” Lani says. The project helped Lani mimic the look of a more expensive cement tile she’d seen, with fantastic (and affordable!) results.

Hardware, Accessories, and Black Paint Transform a Cozy Kitchen

Vinyl countertop covers, leftover paint, discounted materials, and DIY hardware are the secret sauce in this rental kitchen’s redo totaling just $50. Gemma Adams, of the blog and store Blackbird, and her husband kept the existing kitchen cabinets but sourced drawer handles that were 50 cents each from a secondhand shop. They also made their own out of leather strips and screws for a more modern, high-contrast look.

Old Green Counters Look New Again in This Kitchen Redo

Although she did wrap the raised bar portion of her countertop with a wooden waterfall edge, designer and homeowner Maggie Overby managed to make the rest of her old green counters look palatable again in her kitchen redo by incorporating other colors and patterns that complement the green. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the budget for a full gut remodel, so I needed to figure out a way to make them work with most of the bones I already had,” she says. “I knew with a few updates, it could at least feel modern and fun.”

Credit: Keisha Burley
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This Kitchen Redo Kept the Cabinets But Lost the Dark and Dated Vibes

Apartment Therapy has seen tons of redos from the ’90s and early aughts that ditch oak-y wooden cabinets for trendy black, white, green, or blue. But brown cabinets might not have to go for a kitchen to look more modern. Case in point: Keisha Burley’s kitchen redo that keeps the cabinets but still looks brighter and more modern thanks to white paint on the walls, white countertops with more contemporary edging, and a new hex-tile backsplash.

3 Paint Projects Totaling $300 Take This White Kitchen from Dull to Dreamy

You might be able to glean right away that the (now much better-looking) cabinets in this kitchen redo got a fresh coat of green paint (Sherwin-Williams’ Chatroom), but that zig-zag backsplash from before is the same, too — just with a new finish. Instead of removing and replacing the tile, homeowner and interior designer Courtney Batten painted over the backsplash using a Rustoleum Tub & Tile Refinishing kit. “It was the simplest project, but I think the backsplash is my favorite,” Courtney says. 

A Bland Brown Kitchen Gets a Quirky Redo—and a Surprising New Cabinet Color

The old and dark swirly countertops from this previously all-brown kitchen have a totally new vibe in this kitchen’s “after,” which employs a surprising paint color: Sherwin-Williams’ Plum Dandy. The new paint and new drawer pulls — not to mention the removal of the uppers to make way for floating shelving — make the once-dark brown cabinetry unrecognizable.

This piece is part of Money Month, where we’re covering everything from side hustles to down payments to a beginner’s guide to investing. Head over here to read more!