Before & After: This Cheerful, $160 Kitchen Redo Features a Surprising Color Combo

published Dec 4, 2021
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Before: kitchen with white cabinets and muted orange walls

Kitchens are one of the most costly spaces at home to renovate, because full-on kitchen redos involve plumbing, wiring, tiling, and more. But you don’t have to shell out major cash to make a major impact. In her kitchen redo, Martin Atwell (@rabbitt_ranch) shows you how it’s done.

The “before” version of this kitchen was more than 50 years old, with nicotine-stained white cabinets and a blah vibe that made spending any extra time in here feel like a chore.

Martin had originally planned to replace all the cabinets with mid-century style wood ones, but when other old house issues ended up eating away at the kitchen budget, that was out of the question.

After getting laid off from her job, Martin knew that the kitchen reno would be delayed even further. “My goal was to make this kitchen as happy as I could for $200 or less,” she says.

For the transformation, Martin relied on a tried-and-true standby: paint. She started by prepping the old cabinets, which were covered in multiple layers of paint that also covered the hardware. “It took me two days of scraping just to get the hardware off the cabinets,” she says. Once she pried the pieces loose, she soaked them in paint thinner for two days to remove all the paint. For the cabinets, Martin used a sander; just taking off the four layers of old paint took 14 hours of work.

“I always rush projects because I’m impatient and I want to see the final product but with cabinets — and most paint projects — the key to longevity and durability is in the prep,” Martin says.

Once she finished all the sanding, Martin primed the cabinets and then painted them in a bold green (Behr’s Crown Jewel).

Including primer, paint, sanding pads, drop cloths, and fresh pulls, the cabinet project came to a total of just $160, making Martin’s goal. And later, she was able to replace the rickety ceiling fan with a new vintage-inspired light fixture, plus update the white walls with fresh coral paint and colorful artwork and plates, most thrifted.

“I’m not a person who really likes cooking so my kitchen wasn’t really a place I liked to be,” Martin says. “Now it’s much more cheerful and more fun to be in.”

Even better, she says, is that she did it all herself. And while she loves the cabinets — so much so that she doesn’t think she’ll end up replacing them at all — she’s still open to other changes. “I may end up painting the walls a different color one day just because I have a bad habit of that but right now I love it,” she says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This Cheerful Kitchen Redo Features a Super Unexpected Color Combo