{Low Budget} Mini Kitchen Reno

America seems to be captivated by the transformation of something ugly to something beautiful, and I think many would agree that it’s fun to watch the transformation take place. Lately we have been enjoying the show Fixer Upper — a show where an ugly, run down house gets transformed into a gorgeous magazine cover-worthy house in a matter of weeks (and for a seemingly too-small budget). Similarly, I like the challenge of finding ways of slowly transforming my own home for little cost.

Our house didn’t need much work when we bought it almost 4 years ago. It came with the standard 1990’s tile kitchen. I know people like to call it “contractor grade” as if that is sub par, but really it was fine. The cabinets were of good quality, and we had a tile counter top. I happen to like tile for a lot of reasons (durability, and water and heat resistant) but I hate dealing with grout, and specifically this grout. No matter how much I scrubbed and bleached (and scrubbed some more), it always looked really dirty. I always imagined bacteria growing like crazy in that grout.

The kitchen before we bought our home.

The kitchen before we bought our home.

This is a picture of a cake I made a long time ago, but you can see the gross grout. ;)

This is a picture of a cake I made a long time ago, but you can see the gross grout here. (I know, first world ‘problems.’)

We decided after much deliberation to get new counter tops. We took a year to save up for it — not that they were outrageously expensive, but we put our spare income toward necessities that might fail instead. More than once I felt conflicted about spending the money on a new counter top because we had perfectly fine working counter tops. It wasn’t a “need.” I was just tired of being grossed out by the dirty grout.

We finally decided to move forward on it and settled on a white/gray quartz counter top. We bought it at a granite outlet and the counter tops, back splash, demo and installation came to a total of around $2500. We did some shopping around, and that ended up being the best price by a long shot! Additionally, it only took a day for the entire process. Win!

Demo for counter top installation.

Demo for counter top installation.

New counter tops!

New counter tops, sink and faucet!

We also bought a new sink (ordered on amazon) and a faucet at Home Depot. Amazon made a mistake and sent up a much more expensive sink than what I had ordered. (And we got to keep it!) Hubby did the plumbing and got the sink and garbage disposal hooked up.

We bought new hardware and knobs for the cabinets and drawers. Hubby installed them. He also installed new hinges on all the cabinets. The hinges took him a couple of evenings to complete.

New drawer hardware.

New drawer hardware.



Around this time hubby replaced the blinds in the kitchen window because the old ones had a broken slat and it was difficult to open the window with the way they had been installed.

I thought about painting the cabinets a gray/blue color. I dithered over the colors for about a month. I was pregnant with Rachel at the time and just thought I was indecisive due to being pregnant. (Turns out I’m just terrible with paint colors.) My friends and family cast their votes for which color they liked best.


Feeling blue about blues. All I can say is, thank goodness hardware stores sell paint samples!

But after looking at the colors for a month, I painted it back to white. I didn’t really love any of the colors, and didn’t feel like spending more money on paint samples I probably wouldn’t like anyhow. Better to be safe than sorry, I figured. Plus, I was pretty pregnant then and lacking the energy to paint the entire kitchen (that’s probably the real reason I painted it back to white).

Rachel was born, and the kitchen stayed the same for around 6 months. Then, Josh got the stomach flu and threw up on one of the kitchen rugs. I threw both the kitchen rugs into the washer, and dried them on the lowest heat setting. Big mistake. They fell apart, so badly that I had to vacuum out the dryer. Oops.

For my birthday, my mom got me new kitchen rugs to replace the ones I had ruined in the dryer. Then, while I was out grocery shopping at walmart one morning, I spent $4.97 for a yard of fabric I liked to make new curtains (I had made the previous ones for $3).

New curtains and paint colors (take 1).

New curtains and paint colors (take 1).

We had thought about getting a marble tile back splash done in the kitchen a while back but we had two estimates done and it was looking expensive. Additionally, tiling the window was going to be a problem. So we scrapped that idea and I decided to paint the walls instead. Much cheaper!

Once again, choosing a paint color took me way too long. I would head to the hardware store hoping to get a light gray sample of paint, and return home with some other color. It took me several tries.

Paint color take 2,

Paint color take 2.

Maybe I like this paint color? No, not really.

Take 3. Maybe I like this paint color? No, not really. (It looked purple most of the time and clashed with the counter top.)

Choosing a paint color would have been even more painful if my cousin hadn’t said “Why don’t you try Benjamin’s Moore’s Revere Pewter paint color?” She had the same color in her home and sent me a few pictures of it. I was immediately sold as the color was exactly what I had been looking for! Home Depot matches this exact color with Behr paint in a sample container for $3.47. It took a little more than one paint sample to paint the entire kitchen.


The finished product. (Please excuse bibs, cutting boards, sippy cups, etc…)



So there you have it: A mini reno done on the cheap!




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