Before & After: Just $300 Later, This Kitchen Looks Brand New

updated Apr 1, 2021
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Before: White kitchen with white floors and black countertops

There are about a million projects you can do to upgrade a kitchen: reface the cabinet doors, add in open shelves, install an island … the list seems like it’s endless. But if you only want to do a few key tasks that will make your kitchen look brand new, here’s your inspiration.

Renter Tiffany Lucke and her husband have lived in their 1930s apartment for five years, but the kitchen space still wasn’t exactly what Tiffany wanted. “The countertops were a dark, weathered formica and the floors an even more battered laminate with a faux tile pattern,” she says. “Over the course of a few years I tried to make the kitchen our own by filling it with plants and installing an industrial peg board, but it always felt like we were fighting against the run-down appointments of the space.”

And because they rent, Tiffany says, “for the longest time it felt that there were no options within our budget and the terms of our lease that would allow us to make any real changes to the room. As all of the other rooms in our home came together, it seemed like the kitchen could never quite get there.”

That changed this year, when Tiffany finally had time to tackle a redo. She was able to give this kitchen a totally fresh look with just four changes total.

First up, the cabinets. Tiffany hit them with a new coat of white paint and swapped the old plastic hardware for new metal hardware in a gold finish. “This was by far the easiest part of the renovation but really made a big difference in brightening the room,” she says.

Next, she covered the old dark countertop with contact paper with a faux marble finish. “I had read blogs and seen Instagram posts that refreshed old furniture and counters with self-adhesive paper, but I was definitely a skeptic,” Tiffany says. But she found a paper with thousands of positive reviews, so she decided to go for it. Armed with lots of knowledge from watching tutorials, “it turned out better than I even had imagined! I bought a little more than I thought I would need and really took my time on getting the surfaces perfect and it really paid off,” Tiffany says. “People who see it in person are shocked that I did it myself.”

Finally, Tiffany went for the flooring, laying Wallpops stick-on tile in a starburst pattern. “The project took a while, but the process of actually laying them was super easy — I just peeled off the paper backing and stuck them one at a time on the existing floor,” Tiffany says. “I could have never imagined that my floors could be the thing to COMPLETELY transform the kitchen into my favorite space in our home.”

And then. .. that’s it! The whole project came together in just four steps (and a total cost of $300!), and now the kitchen looks totally fresh.

“I’m proud of the way that I was able to totally transform our kitchen within the constraints of our lease and our budget,” Tiffany says. “It feels incredibly fulfilling to come up with creative solutions to make a space work for you. The kitchen is always a place that we spend time in and that guests gravitate to and I am so happy that it’s now a space that reflects our style and taste.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: 4 Steps and $300 Later, This Kitchen Looks Brand New