Before & After: A 2-Week, $900 Redo Gives a Dated Kitchen an Incredible New Life

updated Feb 19, 2021
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Before: Kitchen with yellow walls
Credit: Rebecca Bishop

There’s no better test for determining whether you really love your home than suddenly having to spend all your time there. This past year in quarantine made a lot of people re-think their decor, and Rebecca Bishop was no exception.

Rebecca Bishop and her husband’s 109-year-old house had been updated several times over the years, with the last update coming to the kitchen in the 1990s. “During the pandemic, we needed something new to look at,” Rebeccas says. “A total gut wasn’t in the budget, but it needed a refresh.”

Credit: Rebecca Bishop

Fortunately, Rebecca and her husband had plenty of time on their hands, so they decided to DIY some updates on the cheap. Their secret weapon? Paint, of course.

Credit: Rebecca Bishop

Over two weeks, Rebecca and her husband painted nearly every surface of the kitchen. They cleaned the vinyl floor and gave it a couple coats of black (Valspar’s Dark Kettle Black) to bring the drama. Fortunately, they already had the paint on hand from redoing the stairs in their home. The floor took about a week to do, as it required two coats of paint and a sealer.

For the walls, Rebecca chose a light gray-blue (Valspar’s Bay Waves); it has the versatility of white, but feels a little less stark.

Finally, for the cabinets, Rebecca chose a leafy green (Valspar’s Treeline), which pops against the dark floor. It also helps the old countertops — which they decided not to replace — shine. Sleek new pulls help the cabinets look way more modern.

Credit: Rebecca Bishop

The old sink sprang a leak, so Rebecca brought in a pro to make the fix and install a new pull-down faucet. Its high neck and built-in sprayer make washing dishes a breeze.

Credit: Rebecca Bishop

As a finishing touch, Rebecca installed wood blinds on the window and door, and decorated with art she already had. The total cost for the space’s new look: just $900, including the cost of the plumber.

While a total gut might be in the cards someday — “the layout is still not ideal,” Rebecca says — the upgrades the couple made helped them love their kitchen again.

“I love how calming the space is,” Rebecca says. “The colors are way less harsh on your eyes when you first wake up in the morning and the eastern light this space gets is just beautiful! The previous owners also had a bar cart in the kitchen that left four large rust marks on the vinyl. Painting over those marks felt amazing.

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Two Week, $900 Redo Gives a Dated Kitchen a New Life