Remodeling Your Kitchen On A Budget
When we moved into our townhouse, we had a kitchen straight out of the 80’s. We loved the space the kitchen gave us (especially in a townhouse), and I dreamed of having parties where we would be proud to entertain in our kitchen. We didn’t know what we wanted to do exactly in order to update the kitchen however, because we didn’t want to spend a lot of money (money we didn’t have and money we didn’t want to invest in a kitchen we know we won’t have forever). We decided the most logical thing to do is to paint the cabinets to modernize the space as much as possible, for as little money as possible.
Here’s our before picture:
As you can see, the lovely wood and white laminate was charming… NOT. The space was amazing, but it looked like we lived at our grandparents house (actually better than that… I don’t know about you, but my grandma still has a 50’s style kitchen).
And here’s the after!
No it’s not perfect, by any means… but I think from afar it looks SO MUCH better!
Now, this is NOT a story about how much I loved the process and it was wonderful and great and nothing went wrong and everything turned out perfect. There are a lot of things I would change if I had to do this over. I think it’s important for you to hear a true story about how horrific and annoying this project really was for us before you start tackling your own cabinets. I would NEVER want to go back to how the cabinets looked before, but I definitely wish I would have done a few things differently to get to the after picture.
Here are my Do’s of kitchen cabinet painting
(based on this experience)
1. DO allow yourself a lot of time. We decided to take on this project about a month before our housewarming party, thinking we’d have plenty of time…. boy we’re we wrong. The Friday before the party (which was a Sunday), my fiance was swearing because we had bought the SECOND round of new hinges (both ended up not working) and I was crying and having a panic attack at the sight of our kitchen knowing that in less than 48 hours our extended family was going to be there.
2. DO buy plenty of supplies. I can’t tell you how many times we had to run to the home warehouse store during this process. Here’s what you will need:
- FOAM rollers & brushes: when I started doing my research on painting cabinets this was something that kept coming up and after doing the project I know why. The rollers are extremely dense and it makes for better application. Yes they’re more expensive than regular rollers, but worth every penny.
- A sealing cover to paint on top of the cabinets once you’re done with your color.
- Painters tape & tarps (obviously)
3. DO paint multiple coats of paint. We did at least 2 coats on everything, some we did 3 coats. We did 2 coats of sealer on the front of the doors and 1 coat on the back of the doors.
4. DO paint the trim. This is personal preference, but I think it would have looked weird if we left our trim wood colored and had everything else white.
5. DO clean everything throughly first. This is a given, but it really does make a difference.
6. DO number the cabinets, but honestly this only worked for a little while before we lost most of the numbers.
7. DO sand down the cabinets before painting. THIS WAS THE WORST STEP FOR US. We had to tear off the ugly white plastic on the cabinet doors before we could begin sanding. It was glued on SO HARD that we had to use INTENSE force and chemicals to get the glue off of the cabinet doors. It took almost 2 weeks just to get the glue off.
(Here’s the picture of “phase 1”, when we were in between taking off the laminate and before painting)
And now, for the Don’ts……
- DON’T THROW ANYTHING OUT RIGHT AWAY. Again back to the hinges story, when everything was done and all that was left was the hinges we thought we were in the clear. After trying 2 different types of hinges, we had to end up using our old ones because they were the only ones that worked with the cabinets. It was SUPER annoying, but I’m SOOOO glad I didn’t throw them out otherwise we would have been S.O.L.
- DON’T PAINT THE FRONT OF THE DOOR FIRST. Paint the back. I know this sounds weird, but for us, we had a lot of drips accidentally move to the other side of the door that we were painting, and I believe that they would have turned out better if we would have painted the back of the door first and then done the front.
- DON’T LAY THE CLEAR COAT ON SUPER THICK. This is a mistake we made. If you look closely at our cabinets you can see some yellow on the white cabinets. This is the clear coat. It’s what really shows that we did the project ourselves. It’s the most annoying part of staring at our freshly painted cabinets.
If you have any questions about any specifics don’t hesitate to contact me. This project was a MOTHER and I don’t want anyone going into it hastily.
THE FINAL WORD:
WOULD I RECOMMEND YOU DO THIS?
Yes and no… If you’re looking to update your cabinets on a budget, this is a great way to do so. However, if you have a little more money to spend, I HIGHLY recommend (and we wish we did this) having someone come in and professionally paint them. This will save you money and give you a more professional look.