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This is the INCREDIBLY condensed version of my kitchen renovation.  You can read more about it in depth here, here, here, and here.

Meet my kitchen the day we moved in: white laminate cabinets from the 1970s (covered in brown and black grease… this picture was HEAVILY photoshopped), silver wire cabinet pulls, nice stainless steel appliances, and a honed black granite countertop (which I like a lot. It’s the cheaper version of my favorite countertop material, soapstone).

DC8542886 - Kitchen


DC8542886 - Kitchen


Initially, I just spray painted the silver pulls in a brushed gold color so it matched the rest of my decor and added a Persian rug that I already owned.


Progress 1

I thought about covering the white laminate cabinets with a brushed gold metal contact paper, but I decided to quiet the Liberace-loving side of me and do something more subtle…so I painted the walls pink and the backsplash black to match the countertops.  Suddenly, the room was MUCH, MUCH worse.  EPIC FAIL.  I’m not proud of this moment.


I think I went crazy after that fail, so I ripped the cabinet doors off, framed them out, and painted them.  If you decide to do this, buy A LOT of wood filler.  Every nook and cranny of the cabinets were covered in wood filler before priming with 1-2-3 Primer (best primer ever) and painted.  img_2973

I was going to paint the cabinets with normal colors.  I promise.  I wanted a two-toned kitchen, and I had every intention of choosing calm, neutral colors.  However, my Liberace-loving side of me spoke up while I was purchasing paint in the store.  There was no one with me to shush it up, and I made a last minute decision to purchase…


The BRIGHT Green Cabinets

Emerald Green Milk Paint.  Initially after applying the first coat, I asked myself, ‘WHY DON’T YOU CHOOSE NORMAL COLORS LIKE A NORMAL PERSON?!”  A normal person would choose all white or some grey perhaps.  

Then, I remembered I have never decorated anything like a normal person.  Exhibit A. After adding a bit of grey and blue paint to the emerald green, I ended up liking the hue a bit more.  

Here is what it looked like after I painted the kitchen bright white, rehung the doors, and installed a new faucet that I got for my birthday.  MUCH BETTER!


I ordered cabinet pulls on CLEARANCE from Amerock, but I had to wait for a month before they arrived.  While I waited, I realized that the backsplash would look lovely with an inexpensive subway tile.  I ripped out the mini granite backsplash and got to work.  Here is the final result (not at all staged and taken with a low quality camera because I was too lazy to get out my nice camera).  Oh, and I have ONE MORE outlet faceplate to install.

The door (to the right in the picture below) leads to a tiny closet that holds my washer, dryer, and a tiny pantry for my dry goods.  It also has a wall of shelves that I built myself during the last big blizzard in DC.  All of that trim and the door need painted, but I’m holding off since we might need to rip out all of our trim and flooring in the house.  You can read about that drama here.  

Here’s the view of the kitchen looking out into my pink dining room.  I clearly have an affinity for bright, happy colors.  My Liberace-loving side of me picked out the gold chandelier in the dining room.

Eventually, I’d love to have this little wall (to the left) removed or perhaps turned into a half wall.  The kitchen doesn’t receive a lot of natural sunlight with it in place.  For now, it holds our mail organizer, which probably needs cleaned out right now.

Now, for the most important part: THE BUDGET

2.5″ Lattice Trim (to trim out the laminate cabinets): $82

Elmer’s Wood Filler: $9

Zinnser’s 1-2-3 Primer: Already Owned

General Finishes Milk Paint (Snow White & Emerald Green): $36

Amerock Cabinet Pulls in Champagne Bronze (2-1.25″, 15- 3.125″): $39.14

2 Boxes of Subway Tile: $50

Grout in Oyster Gray: $15

Sanded Caulk in Oyster Gray (2 containers): $16

Behr White Paint: already owned

All tiling tools (tile cutter, spacers, float, etc) were borrowed from a friend for FREE

TOTAL PRICE: $247.14

*The Delta faucet and soap dispenser were birthday gifts.  My husband got the faucet used on Amazon to save some money, but the total cost was $308.67 (more than the rest of the kitchen makeover).  

TOTAL PRICE (including the faucet and soap dispenser): $555.81

Here’s the before and after ONE MORE TIME, so you can see how far that money went.


KITCHEN BEFORE (without photoshopping to make it look bright and spacious)



We’re really enjoying how much brighter it feels.  It’s amazing how some paint and lattice trim can make cheap laminate cabinets look expensive!  I’m also glad I went with a “punchier” color than I had originally planned.  Now, I’m considering wallpapering the white walls in a black and white buffalo print or leaving it be until we figure out the flooring situation.  Regardless, we’re very happy with the choices we’ve made in this little kitchen so far.  I hope you enjoyed it!