A $963 Kitchen Makeover Triples the Storage (and It’s Renter-Friendly!)

published Jun 11, 2024
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Even if you created a space you once loved, it’s normal for your design tastes to change over time. Maybe your style is drastically different, or maybe you’re just intrigued by the must-try TikTok DIYs you’ve seen around the web. In any case, you don’t have to completely hate your “before” to justify giving your space a refresh.

Take it from designer Amanda Foster (@fosterdecorconsulting), who once adorned her galley-style kitchen with faux ivy that “was so cool and really made a bold impact on the space” and “a rainbow runner that also stole the show and drew your eye down as the ivy drew it back up.”

After a while, Amanda decided to scale back the maximalism just a tad (although there’s nothing wrong with loving maximalism and still plenty of bold color and pattern in the “after,” too!). “This kitchen was overcrowded visually and physically, and it was time to level the space up with a more sophisticated and chic vibe,” she says.

Here’s how she gave the room an update that suits her current style without breaking the bank.

Paint and wallpaper pack a punch.

Amanda chose various shades of purple for the room’s walls (Behr’s Virtual Violet), and ceiling (Behr’s Wild Pansy, which she also used on the room’s nearby door) to create a cohesive color scheme and create a dramatic backdrop for her accessories. “Even though we went dark, it feels bigger than it was when it had white walls,” Amanda says.

She paired her purples with freshly painted cabinets in an inky blue-black (Behr’s Black Sapphire) and peel-and-stick zebra wallpaper, “which is a great way to enter the space, as it bleeds into the kitchen,” she says.

Amanda also used paint to upgrade her countertops. “The countertops were a veeeeery ugly speckled particle board,” she says of the before. A couple coats of paint totally transformed them.

A peel-and-stick backsplash adds renter-friendly style. 

Amanda added some renter-friendly style with green scalloped peel-and-stick tiles on her backsplash. The faux tile and the paint “made a BIG change that wows you as you walk through the door but isn’t permanent or damaging,” she says. And not only is it landlord-approved, but it’s also less messy than real tile projects with grout and is a great fit for someone whose design style changes a lot, like Amanda. 

“I love to change my spaces every now and then, so even for NON-renter-friendly vibes, it was important to not create permanent mistakes for myself later,” she says. “Maybe in six to nine months, I might look at the space and think, ‘Hmm, I think it’s time to mix it up.’”

Above the sink, the renter maximized storage.

Adding kitchen storage was another major objective for Amanda. She ultimately decided to fill in a pre-existing alcove above the stove using three storage cabinets, which she painted to match the rest of her cabinets using her Black Sapphire paint.

“I’m so happy that we found three pieces that fill this alcove with a mix of decor and function so we can put away more stuff instead of crowding the limited counter space,” she says. “There was very limited storage, and now that has tripled!”

Amanda says painting her storage pieces all the same color makes it all look cohesive. “The black looks chic, and the gold accents make it sparkle,” she says. “It’s super easy to unscrew knobs and handles and give them a fresh coat of spray paint.”

There are metallic details throughout the kitchen. 

In fact, Amanda used gold spray paint to zhuzh up lots of items in the kitchen. “Some of the kitchen accessories I already had, like some pots, a knife holder, a mail rack, a candle holder, and a fruit holder, were easily spray-painted gold to save money,” she says. (She even spray painted some old mouthwash bottles to turn them into chic-looking vases!) 

Amanda used Rust-Oleum’s gold spray paint for her projects, and she says this is a budget-friendly DIY trick she learned from her mom. 

In addition to the little touches of gold, there are also little shimmers of silver. “I’m never afraid to sparkle, and instead of the ivy on the ceiling, we have tons of disco balls — 15, to be exact,” Amanda says. “They are spread out above the refrigerator, sparkling along the ceiling, and hidden here and there through the accessories on the countertops.”

The art adds a nostalgic touch. 

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t add playful decor to your space; it’s yours, after all! Amanda, a self-described “big kid at heart,” personalized her kitchen with Super Nintendo box covers as well as cartoon and video game figurines and cheeky art throughout.

“Because I’m also a graphic designer, it’s a great opportunity to avoid big chain art that everybody has and go with something more unique,” she says.

A new coffee station adds functionality. 

One of Amanda’s favorite parts of her revamped kitchen is the new cubby system to the left of the sink, where she keeps coffee and mugs. “The coffee station is composed of a cabinet my landlord was going to throw away, the cubby holder was off Facebook for a steal, and the baskets were purchased off Amazon,” she says. 

For the whole kitchen makeover, she spent about $963 to pack lots of storage — and style — into her kitchen. “I made a BIG change that wows you as you walk through the door but isn’t permanent or damaging,” she says. “The owner loves the new hardware update to the cabinets and the color. The walls and ceiling will probably be painted over (because I am a maximalist), but he’s happy for us to live in the space and make it our own!”