This Kitchen Makeover Is Proof That $500 Is Enough to Make a Difference

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Alex Moen)

We’re all about the easy makeovers that completely transform a room for not a lot of money. And although this kitchen does get a new floor (the price of which is not reflected in the $500 budget mentioned here), pay attention to the rest of the room where the $500 was spent.

(Image credit: Alex Moen)

From Alex, the homeowner:

I’ve wanted to redo my kitchen since I bought the house five years ago. It was old, dingy, and dark, and I wanted it to look new, clean, and bright. I didn’t have a big budget, so I chose improvements that would make the most impact and also be the most affordable (and that I could do myself!): painted cabinets, new backsplash, new hardware, and painted (yes painted!) counter top.

Cabinets: I like the clean, bright look of white cabinets, and I wanted the depth and resistance to grime that the grey/blue adds. As you can see in the “before” picture, the cabinets and drawers had no pulls. They didn’t technically need them, but it looked stupid.
Cost of paint: $150
Cost of hardware: $100

Backsplash: The “before” backsplash was a continuation of the countertop: peachy/tan leafy-patterned laminate. Uglytown. Fortunately, it wasn’t too tough to remove. I used a mosaic subway tile from Home Depot with gray grout. If you are installing a back splash, I would highly recommend using a product called SimpleMat (available at Home Depot) instead of mortar. It was very easy to use and works like a dream!
Cost of tile, SimpleMat, grout, and tools: $170

Countertop: I didn’t have the budget for a new countertop, but I was NOT about to continue living with the old one, so I decided to try out Rustoleum’s Counter Top Coating (that’s the $40 tint-base, not the more expensive kit). For a full review of the product and tips for application, follow the link to the post on my blog. Bottom line: I’d recommend it as a cheap, short-term solution to an ugly counter top.
Cost of kit and tools: $60

*Yes, as you may have noticed, I also had hardwood installed on my floor. This of course bumps the budget up way past $500, but I wanted to focus on the big impact made by the smaller improvements that anyone can do on a tight budget.

Thank you, Alex! See more of this kitchen makeover on Alex’s blog.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before & After: A Fresh Kitchen Makeover For Under $500