Budget Kitchen Refresh Makeover Reveal

A budget kitchen refresh that turns a dated kitchen into a two-tone modern space using paint, inexpensive DIY projects, and small changes for a big impact.

You know how you watch those makeover shows on HGTV and there is always this crazy amazing before and after with a new open concept and new lighting and new cabinets and new countertops and new flooring and a big lovely price tag of $50,000?

That’s cool and all. And yeah, I still watch them because hello? They’re amazing!

I really have to tell myself sometimes that those reality shows are not, in fact, always reality. Because I start to wish for that life instead of being thankful for what I already have.

Our latest kitchen refresh was the reminder I needed.

before kitchen refresh

It’s been so easy to tell myself for the last year that eventually the dated floors will be replaced. Eventually, we’ll take down a wall to make this kitchen bigger. Eventually, we’ll demo the backsplash and remove the countertop for something more our style.

But you know what? No one said you had to live with something you didn’t love until you could save up $10,000 for it. Go all Tim Gunn on that room and make it work!

And maybe you’ll see the beauty that was there all along just begging to be noticed.

That’s been the lesson for me at least these past couple of months. So now, after mainly just using paint, inexpensive DIYs, and a few small changes, it looks like this.

after kitchen refresh reveal with a high contrast modern look using deep green cabinets

Robert was really the one who convinced me that we could do something great with this space because when he brought it up during my first trimester of this pregnancy, I really was NOT feeling up to this makeover.

To be fair, it was a nice kitchen to begin with since it already had cabinets that were less than 30 years old (younger than our 58 year old house).

They were yellowed and scuffed up before, but it was nothing paint couldn’t fix.

budget kitchen refresh with deep green cabinets

(Some affiliate links are provided below.)

Robert scrubbed them all over and used our tried and true DIY cabinet painting technique from our old house to paint the uppers with Benjamin Moore Simply White (our go-to bright white) and the lowers with Sherwin Williams Billiard to add some personality and contrast to the space.

The dark green popped so well against our white barstools we hauled over with us from our move.

budget kitchen refresh reveal

We ended up replacing the knobs and pulls too with these aged brass cup pulls and knobs to incorporate some warmth.

two tone deep green kitchen cabinets - budget kitchen refresh

And for above the sink, we replaced the canned light with this aged brass and white enamel pendant to tie together the traditional-meets-farmhouse-meets-modern look we love.

aged brass kitchen pendant light and leathered granite countertops - budget kitchen refresh

aged brass and white enamel kitchen pendant light

Since we have to leave the tile floor alone for now, I just brightened up the grout with a grout pen and added this wool rug (which helps repel stains) with a memory foam pad underneath to make washing dishes at our sink more comfortable on our backs.

two tone kitchen cabinets - budget kitchen refresh

Last summer, we tackled this backsplash as one of our very first projects in this house since we felt it made the room feel a little too busy.

backsplash before

As a temporary solution until we can manage a full backsplash demo and replacement, we covered it with this pressed ceiling tile look paneling.

I love that it is simple but still has a subtle pattern to it. And it draws the spotlight to our existing leathered countertops, which is the whole reason why we chose green for our lower cabinets to “make it work”.

budget kitchen refresh reveal with two tone deep green cabinets, leathered granite, and pressed ceiling tile backsplash

While we were in “kitchen makeovering mode”, we organized the inside of the cabinets too.

pantry cabinet organization

The opposite side of the room had this totally blank wall behind our peninsula bar when we moved in, but we really needed some extra storage.

Once I found this marble top buffet at the thrift store, it all fell into place.

(Oh, and we replaced our dated track light with this aged brass one.)

budget kitchen refresh with thrifted coffee bar and IKEA plate rack

I cleaned it up and white waxed it to keep the rough texture, and we hung this IKEA plate rack above that I painted with Fusion Mineral Paint Coal Black for extra dish/mug storage.

It’s become our happy little coffee spot.

marble top coffee bar using a thrift store buffet and IKEA plate rack

I found these public domain images of vintage arbor art too that I just placed in $15 IKEA frames and hung them up on either side to fill up the wall.

vintage arbor art printable set

coffee bar

On the wall beside it, we originally had a shelf that we discovered was a total clutter collector.

So we took it down, painted the walls with a creamy white Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee to make this dark room feel brighter, and added a command center to keep us more organized.

kitchen coffee bar and command center wall

This was the situation before…

command center before

And now it’s so. much. better!

organized kitchen command center wall

Everything now has a place, but with the shelf gone, we’re not tempted to throw random junk in this corner.

kitchen command center wall

This wall beside our stove originally had a built-in shelf similar to the command center one, but Robert just used the jigsaw to remove the arch and shamrock cut-outs to make it streamlined.

kitchen shelf decor and framed handwritten recipes - budget kitchen refresh

I put some simple decor on it to keep it from becoming another clutter-catcher. 😉

So I added serving pieces we typically only use for entertaining along with this thrift scale I painted to look like an antique, this crate we use for holding our unsorted mail, and this thrifted frame I just put a $3 Etsy print in.

printable landscape art

Beside of the shelf, I framed three handwritten recipes from my mom and grandmothers that are so special to me. I love that the float frame shows off the tattered edges on the old paper. (And I laminated them with UV film to prevent the ink from fading.)

framed handwritten recipe art in float frame

Pecan pie is Robert’s favorite, and since I hung it up on the wall, this recipe has already been requested.

decorated kitchen shelves

kitchen shelf decor

It’s taken a lot of re-imagining and sweat, but this kitchen finally does feel like home.

And even though we do plan to eventually do the big HGTV-level renovation, I’m so glad we can wait 5-ish years and not feel rushed to make that happen.

Home wasn’t built in a day, right?

budget kitchen refresh reveal

If you want to know about any of the sources we used in our kitchen, you can find them all here:

blackberries and French lavender

And if you want to know about any of the tutorials we did in this space, you can find them all here:

If you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

A dated kitchen gets a modern refresh using paint, inexpensive DIY projects, and small changes for a big impact. #kitchenrefresh #kitchenmakeover #budgetkitchen #budgetmakeover #beforeandafter #diykitchen

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  1. I love your refreshed kitchen. You chose a beautiful color for the lower cabinets. The light fixture over the sink and the updated track lighting make a huge difference! I need to replace some track lighting and had not thought of replacing it with updated track lighting! I think you solved a big problem for me. My favorite thing of all is the floating frames with the recipes. Being a lover of all things history and family, the idea of using some of the handwritten recipes I have from my grandmother, aunt and mother would be perfect in my kitchen. Thank you so much for all of the great ideas and proving once again that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your house beautiful and comfortable in your own style.

  2. Lauren, the kitchen is beautiful! I love the green. It really does look like a brand new kitchen.

  3. I love everything about this! Great example of working with what you have and still making it yours, beautiful and functional! Super inspiring.

  4. Hi Lauren, your kitchen revamp is beautiful. Clean, bright and crisp are a few adjectives that come to mind. Love the coffee bar. Of course, I love everything you have done to both of your houses.

  5. Great work Lauren! I really liked the dry erase board but the affiliate link led me to a glass pitcher. Do you by chance have an updated link?

  6. Lauren, your kitchen “before” was perfect for me! The redo is great too. My house was built in 1948 and the kitchen appears to be the original. Yikes! I am inspired by all the things on your site. Thank you.

  7. Lauren, you guys did such a great job, your kitchen looks wonderful. I really like the color of the lower cabinets, and I love the coffee bar. I also looked for that little print and couldn’t find it but will try again. Hope you are able to take a little break and rest up before the baby arrives. Job well done.

  8. Lauren – your bridge reno is gorgeous – love your style and honesty. Looks GREAT!

    Wanted to let you know the link to your calendar/ dry erase board took me to your glass pitcher – and I’d love
    to know where you got your board, and what the dimensions are. I am on the lookout for one and thought yours would be a good place to start looking. Thank you!

  9. I’m loving the light above the sink. We have a recessed light that is so blah. I am going to be keeping my eye out for a light!

    I thought you would appreciate thi story:
    Yesterday I picked up a file cabinet for $15 from someone on FB. It took up the entire back of the Rogue. The dog had to sit up front with my daughter. On my way home I rode past some curb alert furniture in front of a large “ritzier house”. A beautiful chaise, a Queen Anne chair and a nice wingback. All upholstered and looked pretty clean. I screamed “oooooh” like I was having a heart attack. No room in the cAr!!!!!! Our pickup needs a new engine and has been out of commission for months so I cry a lot when I can’t get stuff.
    I had my eye on a huge 2 piece china cabinet for months at the ReStore. It was $280. I wanted to paint it and use it instead of the 2 cheapy bookcases we have in one spot in the basement. It got marked down to $10!!!!! I was having another heart attack in the store! Even if I rented a Uhaul for $20 it was soooo heavy that you need a few big guys. Then to get it into the basement? Oh geez. Still. I want it! Lol

  10. Hi Lauren,
    What a beautiful kitchen! Once again you and your husband have outdone yourselves in renovating another amazing room in your beautiful home! Love how you not only worked with what you had, but enhanced the beauty with your color choices. I love the personal touches which make it truly your home! I find endless inspiration in your blog and appreciate your creativity-on-a-budget mindset! You’re the best!
    Be blessed enjoying your new space!

  11. Everything about your “new” kitchen is warm, beautiful and so well thought out. It is new, indeed.,

    Oh what I’d do to have your “old” kitchen! It would be a blessing. So in 5 years or so, when you get ready to ditch it all for your $$50,000 makeover, will you please gift me all the cabinets you rip out?


  12. Hi there – everything looks so amazing – wonderful job !!
    Wondering where you got the Herb racks by your kitchen table ?

  13. Love this demonstration of creativity meeting sweat equity to improve a space! Rethinking a space has hidden benefits. It forces you to look at what you have & placing a value on it, like your family recipes which are displayed beautifully, make the kitchen truly yours & become a conversation piece.

  14. Gorgeous results, Lauren. I was looking into that landscape print, but it appears neither of the affiliate links are working. Any ideas? I love the inspiration from your blog.

  15. Hi there,
    What a beautiful makeover. Love absolutely everything, especially the colour of the lower cabinets.

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