Before and After: A Bright and Airy $2K Kitchen Makeover

published Sep 5, 2018
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When Genevieve Claire of Vieve Claire moved into her home, the kitchen had the same, standard design from when it was built: brown cabinets, dark surfaces, and track lighting.

The kitchen felt dark and drab, and it was crying out for a refresh. I started looking into DIY solutions, but unfortunately, there were no shortcuts due to the material and sizing of our cabinets. Playing it safe, we decided to call in some professionals and talk through options and designs. A few quotes later we landed on a price that we were comfortable with, but it meant that updating the countertops, sink, faucet, and fridge had to wait. We decided to tackle the most offensive aspect of our kitchen first, the cabinets.

Having oddly sized elements in a kitchen can absolutely ruin a budget; when sourcing countertops for my kitchen, I realized that even the lowest-end options would be outrageously expensive because they’d have to be custom-cut. Fortunately, all the other desired changes listed will be fairly simple to do sometime in the future.

The white cabinetry brings so much brightness to a windowless area of the home, while the new paneled cabinet doors add visual interest. The new glass doors add all the fun of open shelving—show off your treasures!—while protecting favorite pieces from dust and cooking oils (especially important in a smaller kitchen).

I love how bright and welcoming it looks with the white cabinets. I have been playing around with countertop styling and love having the glass cabinet.

As this project is still ongoing, I am planning on trying out some temporary solutions like the peel and stick subway tiling (from Wayfair), and a contact paper fridge hack.

Here’s what this upgrade cost in dollars and days:

The installation only took a few days, but it took around a month going through different companies in search for the best price. Our budget versus cost was certainly our main challenge being that we only had around $2,000 for the project.

While the months of research were no joke I’m sure, going without a kitchen for only a few days is the renovation dream.

I love how the new hardware and track lighting shades add a bit of sparkle to the room—sometimes it feels like track lighting is intended to be invisible, but it’s not, so why not go bold with black and gold Genevieve used brass handles from Goldenwarm on Amazon, a sisal rug from Safavieh on Amazon, a tall vase from Royal Imports on Amazon, and the Coffee Gator kettle from Amazon. And while I know the goal is to replace the countertops, I appreciate the current high-contrast look of the white cabinets and black counters.

Now that this kitchen upgrade—or at least phase one—is complete, Genevieve has some valuable advice to share:

Take your time to shop around. We had whopping quotes ranging from $6,000 – $10,000 to change the cabinets, countertops, sink, and faucet. Also, do things in stages if you need to.

Thank you, Genevieve Claire of Vieve Claire!