A budget kitchen facelift with cottagecore style 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 $80,000?
That’s cool and all. And yeah, I still watch them because hello? They’re amazing! But I’m not nearly as amazed with those big budget renovations as I have been with this budget kitchen facelift.
Cottagecore Style Kitchen Facelift Before and After
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 facelift was the reminder I needed. Here is where we were 5 years ago on move-in day versus today. No demo, no massive remodel… just cosmetic little fixes that added up to a big change.
Best Tips for a Budget Kitchen Facelift
- Paint alone can transform an entire kitchen for around $300 (if you’re willing to paint it yourself)
- Consider a peel and stick or panel backsplash to disguise old tile
- Try painting floors or floating LVP flooring if you can’t demo
- Lighting makes a huge impact. Swap out basic fixtures for ones with more character.
- Just changing knobs and pulls on cabinets can make them feel new again
- Be intentional with your countertop decor. Keep it minimal and functional.
I told myself that eventually the dated floors would be replaced. Eventually, we’ll take down a wall to make this kitchen bigger. Eventually, we’ll demo the backsplash and swap the peninsula for an island to make a better layout.
But you know what? No one said you had to live with something you didn’t love until you could save up for a massive remodel. 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 in this kitchen.
Now, after mainly just using paint, inexpensive DIYs, and a few small changes, it looks like this. So I’m breaking down all of the sources, paint colors, tutorials, and budget in this post.
Tutorial | How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro
Inspiration | Green Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
Robert and I painted the kitchen cabinets in July when I was 7 months pregnant, and I definitely would not recommend that route (the pregnant, mid-summer part). But painting our kitchen cabinets was the best decision for this kitchen!
The white upper cabinets are Benjamin Moore Simply White and the lower cabinets are Sherwin Williams Billiard Green to work with the slightly green tint in our existing leathered granite countertops.
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. The entire cabinet paint job cost about $280.
What a difference paint makes!
You know that saying, “White paint makes small rooms look bigger”? That’s a total myth if you don’t have some contrast to ground the space. Too much white is just bland. Case and point:
Herringbone LVP Flooring
Since we definitely can’t remove the old tile floor any time soon until we remodel, floating LVP flooring on top was the absolute best decision for a kitchen facelift to hold us over for several years (or even decades if we need them to last that long).
The installation took us about 4 days, and the cost was around $815 for flooring throughout the entire kitchen.
Straight LVP flooring would have been cheaper and faster to install, but I totally fell for that herringbone pattern to give the kitchen that vintage cottagecore style.
IKEA Pantry Cabinets
Tutorial | DIY IKEA Pantry Cabinet Using Hemnes
Our kitchen had absolutely no food storage space without a pantry at all, but luckily, we had this one large blank wall on one side of our kitchen of completely wasted space.
So we used it to its full potential by using two IKEA HEMNES cabinets, painting them the same color as our cabinets (Sherwin Williams Billiard Green), and adding antique mirror window film to the front for concealing storage.
Cost at time of purchase: $391
For above the sink, we replaced the canned light with this aged brass pendant to tie together the traditional-meets-modern look we love.
It’s simple and streamlined but adds the right amount of warmth.
We took down the old yellowed track light that was in the walkway of our kitchen and replaced it with this aged brass track light several years ago instead.
The kitchen ceiling still has a huge fluorescent light in the middle of the room, but it would require a huge undertaking to remove, so we have just left it for now. Adding the two brass lights helps distract from it though.
Cost at time of purchase: $288
Since our old sink faucet was really worn out, we swapped it for this sleek modern aged brass faucet. That one little change gave our sink area a massive upgrade.
I would love to swap out the sink, but since it’s an undermount cut out into our granite countertop, it has to stay.
I sure miss my IKEA white porcelain apron sink. Single basin is life!
Pressed “Tin” Style Backsplash Hack
Tutorial | DIY Pressed Tin Kitchen Backsplash
Free Printable | Antique Oil Painting Printable Art
Five years ago, we tackled this backsplash as one of our very first projects in this house since we felt the existing backsplash made the room feel a little too busy.
It’s without a doubt made one of the biggest impacts in this kitchen for the least amount of money.
It’s so easy to wipe clean, has held up perfectly, and best of all… it was a crazy fast DIY done in just an afternoon with no need for power tools.
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”.
Command Center Wall and Vent Cover
Tutorial | DIY Air Return Cover
Cost | $275
On the wall beside our pantry cabinets, we originally had a shelf that we discovered was a total clutter collector.
So we took it down, painted the walls with a clean white Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace to make this dark room feel brighter, and added a command center to keep our family more organized with a calendar, mail sorter, and memo board for posting important reminders.
Everything now has a place, but with the shelf gone, we’re not tempted to throw random junk in this corner.
This was the situation before… yikes.
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.
I put some simple decor on it with a little serving ware / dishes to keep it from becoming another clutter-catcher. 😉
Framed Preserved Handwritten Recipe Art
Beside 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. (I laminated them with UV film to prevent the ink from fading.)
Each recipe is each of my grandmothers’ and great-grandmother’s signature dishes they were/are most known for in our family written in their own handwriting.
No priceless art in the world is more precious to me than these sweet little pieces of paper filled with splotches and love.
The Finished Kitchen Facelift
It’s taken a lot of re-imagining, but this kitchen finally does feel like home. It was a long time to work our way into this cottagecore style look, but I think that’s part of what made the journey more fun.
And even though we do plan to eventually do the big HGTV-level renovation one day, I’m so glad we can wait several years and not feel rushed to make that happen.
Kitchen Facelift Sources, Paint Colors, and Budget Breakdown
- Wall color: Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace
- Upper cabinet color: Benjamin Moore Simply White
- Lower cabinet color: Sherwin Williams Billiard Green
- Herringbone LVP Flooring
- Antique Brass Cup Pulls
- Antique Brass Knobs
- Aged Brass Pendant Light
- Brass Track Light
- Aged Brass Modern Faucet
- Pressed Tin Backsplash
- Pantry Cabinets
- Reeded Glass Window Film
- Brass Float Frame
- Acrylic Wall Calendar
- Mail Sorter
- Wall Planter
- Shelf Ledge
- Hanging Basket
- Wall Clock
- Counter Stools
- Large White Bowl
- Terrazzo Cutting Board
- Marble Cutting Board
- Raw Edge Cutting Board
- Cream Vase
- Woven Tray
- Black Wood Tray
- Sink Tray
- Soap Dispenser
- Free Oil Painting Kitchen Art Prints
Kitchen Facelift Budget Total: $3,921
The biggest thing I keep in mind is we have been chipping away at this kitchen makeover for 5 years, so even though the final amount seems hefty for just a kitchen facelift, it’s been a gradual process of saving and DIYing to get there.
Averaging around $785 per year to improve this kitchen isn’t too shabby after all.
Have you done any budget kitchen facelift projects in your own house that you loved? I’d love to hear about them!