Our Affordable Kitchen Makeover: The Reveal!

We're so excited to share the big reveal of our Wilsonart affordable kitchen remodel today! To refresh your memory, this is the kitchen in my dad's new house, a few blocks from our own:

Our Affordable Kitchen Makeover: The Reveal!

It was (clearly) in desperate need of some help. But, since my dad's not a huge foodie (he spends more time at museums than in the kitchen), we didn't want to spend a ton to refresh the look.     

We teamed up with Wilsonart to incorporate their Wilsonart® HD® High Definition Laminate countertops into the project. Wilsonart's laminate surfaces are stylish, affordable, and quick to install. We chose the Salentina Nero style, which has a realistic texture and a nice, reflective sheen.

Wilsonart also sent us a Wilsonart® HD® Integrated Sink, which we really love. The integrated mount means there's a seamless transition from countertop to sink; no groove or lip where gunk can get caught. We finished the sink off with a new, restaurant-style faucet.

In addition to the new countertops and sink, we knew we had to do something about the cabinets. They were all painted a dingy off-white color, and the huge wall of uppers made the room feel cramped. 


So we ripped out the upper cabinets, re-sheetrocked the wall behind them, and replaced them with open shelving. In the process we got rid of that horrible faux-brick backsplash, and repainted the remaining cabinets with a fresh coat of white paint from Sherwin-Williams. 



We finished the refreshed cabinets with new pulls from IKEA and new hinges from the hardware store.

Before. Obviously.

Same shot: after.

The floor was the other major project we tackled; the old linoleum was dirty, chipped, and, well ... ugly. Chris and I tore it out and put down some easy-to-install self-stick vinyl tiles in a black and white checkerboard pattern. We felt the pattern would match the retro-vibe we were shooting for, and having white on the floors would help bring more light into the space.

We did another thing that really helped open up the floor plan: we flipped the location of the refrigerator with the base cabinet beside it. In the previous configuration, the fridge cut into the room and made the entry circulation really tight. Plus, the cabinet and countertop on its left was rendered almost useless. 

Fridge on the right.

By putting the fridge on the left, and putting in a new base cabinet (with fresh countertop on top) on the right, we created more usable space.

Fridge on the left.

We went with white on most of the surfaces (walls, shelves, ceiling), because the space is so small and doesn't get much natural light. We then went crazy adding pops of bright color with accessories and accents.

First up: that vintage wall clock we loved so much. We gave it a bright coat of Sherwin-Williams 'Tantalizing Teal', and then went over the striped accents with a paint marker to make them pop.

The wall clock set the tone for the whole room.

Next came the range hood. We loved the lines, so we decided to keep it in place, repainting it with Sherwin-Williams 'Stirring Orange'. Again, we used a marker to go over the 'Kenmore' brand name; the whole thing looks like new!

We used a bunch of clips, frames, and note pads from LuLaLu to add color and function to the kitchen. These pops of color break up all the white in the kitchen and make it more playful. 

This space is a little calendar/message center. The cool thing about the LuLaLu accessories is that they're NOT magnetic! They stick to any smooth surface without leaving a sticky residue. And they can be moved again and again (you just refresh the sticky pad with a few drops of water).

The ceiling light that was in the room to begin with was actually pretty new, but it was just one of those stock dome lights you find in packs at the big box hardware store. We picked up this great Industrial Pendant ceiling light from West Elm, and we love the way it completes the look.

Here are some other touches we really like:

The puppy-dog tail apron hangers give the pantry door a splash of fun and color.

The huge elephant print fills up the space to the left of the window without being overwhelming. And who says elephants can't do handstands?

The orange KitchenAid stand mixer was a lucky fit in this space. My dad purchased it on clearance years ago, and the color completely works in his new kitchen. 

We're thrilled with how the makeover turned out! I love how the white opens up the space, and the bright colors make the room feel fun and not-to-serious.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

This post was sponsored by Wilsonart, LLC. All opinions are mine alone


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LuLu on Jan 27, 2020:

Looks fantastic! How has the counter top worn? Holding up well? Is it super shiny?

Anonymous on Nov 14, 2015:

Hi I really like your countertop choice. We are considering it. How do you think that it has held up?

Ann on Jul 05, 2013:

It just looks like a row house to me.I was raised in South Philadelphia and it just looks like a kitchen you would find there. Its a great job but I would rather have upper cupboards as the open shelves seems to me to be a dust catcher. Really neat kitchen and I love that they kept the old kitchen clock.

Sandi on Jun 24, 2013:

I like everything except the shelving above the sink. It looks great but I think it would collect dust or dirt being open. The kitchen looks wonderful

fabulosa on Jun 24, 2013:

Great job, kind of midcentury vibe, wich I love. He most be very please.

FairLady on Jun 13, 2013:

I love the RED KitchenAid stand mixer (I have one too).  You could go with red and the warm yellow of your hood for accent colors and put up white subway tiles on the wall behind the sink.  Hang some bistro art...black/white with reds, warm yellows to really tie in your bistro style black/white flooring.  The green grassy thing doesn't fit into the style you are aiming for.   

FairLady on Jun 13, 2013:

I like the black/white tiles, the dark gray counter tops, the white cabinets and shelving with stainless hardware.  However, if the many multi-colored accessories were eliminated and accessories were basically just one accent color like the yellow (used for the hood color) it would be even more attractive.   I have the same basic scheme in my kitchen and have found this to be true (and am currently in the process of de-cluttering even more).  My accent colors are red and teal.   Luckily, this would be easy for you to do (to eliminate so many different colored accents).

bruno on Jun 11, 2013:

@amahlala: thanks! That's the look we were going for. 

@ann: nope. It's not a row house. What made you think that? Just curious...

Amahlala on Jun 11, 2013:

Still enjoy coming back to see the before and after on this kitchen! Great job! It looks so much more spacious and bright; cheerful even!

ann on Jun 10, 2013:

Well use of the space. Is this a row house? It really seems to be.

bruno on Jun 10, 2013:

@michelle - good question. Obvsiouly in this case we worked with Wilsonart on the countertops, so that doesn't apply to everyone. But using laminate can defintely be an option to consider when you want to save some money for other 'splurges'.

Our total expenses (excluding countertop and sink, which were donated by the sponsor) were under $2,000 (and a fair chunk of that went to a few new power tools I needed, and will continue using for years and years).

I think that's affordable for a really nice transformation! What do you think?

Anonymous on Jun 10, 2013:

Website for lullaby accessories? All I'm finding is a website for bras

Aidel.K on Jun 10, 2013:

Amazing job! The black & white with pops of color really works. And that Bruno is a keeper! He makes pizza, too?!!! :-)

Kathy B on Jun 10, 2013:

I'm always looking for ways to make a small space look larger & stay functional.  You did it!

mod*mom on Jun 10, 2013:

What A Lucky Dad

Michelle Glauser on Jun 06, 2013:

Awesome! But how much is considered affordable?

alicia on Jun 05, 2013:

Hi Chaucea! Unfortuantely, in projects like these sometimes the old retro pieces are in such bad shape that saving them is impossible.

The pull-out bread board was made of plywood and in such bad shape that it was literally crumbling in the middle and shooting slivers at anyone who dared pull it out.

We LOVED the slotted under-sink cabinet panel, but after years of faulty plumbing, it was waterlogged and warped beyond repair. It was a bummer.

alicia on Jun 05, 2013:

Sandesigns: Thanks! Your kitchen sounds wonderful. We'd love to see it!

Chaucea on Jun 05, 2013:

Noooo! You took out the built-in breadboard. :-( Those things are awesome, and never seen in newer kitchens (and they save a lot of space).

GAH! And you removed the awesome horizontal slots from the panel below the sink.

Shame on you for not honoring the wonderful "retro" features of the cabinetry! >:-(

Sandesigns on Jun 05, 2013:

Very nice job!  Love the floor with the white painted/renovated base cabinets with stainless IKEA pulls.  The countertops look nice in the dark finish and your IKEA upper shelving looks great too.  I love open shelving.

I have a black and white (12 inch squares) porcelain tile floor and used IKEA stainless steel Grundtal shelving (which is good) near the stove.   We didn't want granite countertops (or other outrageously $$$ material for counter tops).  We used light butcher block counter tops from IKEA and everyone loves them.  Wish I could post a photo here but my photo doesn't have a URL.

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