Before & After: The $500 Kitchen Refresh of Your Modern-Scandi Dreams

updated Aug 28, 2020
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Before: Small kitchen with white lower and upper cabinets
Credit: Gisele Blaker

Sometimes it takes a couple phases of renovations to create a space you really love. That was the case for Gisele Blaker and her kitchen. When she and her family moved in, the teeny tiny kitchen was filled with both upper and lower cabinets in a creamy white, distressed finish. While the base cabinets had pretty simple panels on the doors, the top ones were a little more detailed, with cathedral insets that didn’t mesh with Gisele’s preferred style. “When we moved in, the kitchen felt old, and the cabinets were not my style at all,” she says. So they painted them a brighter white — no more distressing — and took out the cabinets over the sink to give a little more headspace.

Credit: Gisele Blaker

But after the middle cabinets came down, Gisele said, “eventually I realized I should’ve removed them all.” Even with the cabinets over the sink out, the kitchen was still feeling dark and cramped. “The kitchen is already so small,” Gisele says. “We needed it to feel more open and updated. But with a small budget.”

Credit: Gisele Blaker

Once Gisele took all the cabinets down, she painted the walls creamy white (Behr’s Silky White), which went a lot farther than the old gray when it came to making the small space feel bigger. Then, she installed a mini subway tile backsplash and long open shelves. The light wood tone paired with white brackets gives the kitchen a distinct Scandi-modern vibe that feels welcoming yet contemporary.

Credit: Gisele Blaker

The project took about a week and just $500. What’s remarkable is how fresh the cabinets and counters feel now, even though they’re the same ones that have always been there. “I love how practical and open the shelves feel,” Gisele says. “It has a cottage-y vibe and I have always wanted that. It feels fresh and open.”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: The $500 Kitchen Refresh of Your Scandi-Modern Dreams