Giving a Tired Looking Kitchen a Facelift

Let me start by describing the current state of this kitchen. The size of the space is small (although I have seen smaller). The stove does not work, the sink looks like it is as old as the house, the refrigerator door does not close all the way, and the linoleum floor has lost its original color and is torn in several places. Someone may say gut this kitchen and start over. However, the home owner is on a very tight budget and because I love a challenge, I agreed to supervise this job and work with what I have.

You can hire someone to do all of the manual labor for you or you can ask a couple of friends to give you a hand for the weekend and save yourself a ton of money. This kitchen makeover cost the homeowners approximately $3500 and that includes replacing the refrigerator, stove, sink, faucet, microwave, countertops and flooring.

Step 1 – Out with the old

The homeowners got started early Friday morning and worked well into the night on Sunday. Although there were times when we were not sure if we would finish, we completed the job in just one weekend. First they removed the refrigerator, stove and kitchen sink. Then they got down on their hands and knees and ripped up the linoleum floor. Next, they carefully remove the doors and hardware from the existing cabinets. The doors will be given a facelift and reinstalled, so extreme caution was used so as not to cause damage. Lastly, they ripped out the existing laminate countertops.

Step 2 – In with the new

Armed with our $3500 budget, we shopped at every appliance store and home decorating center in town looking for the best deals on appliances and accessories. Below is a list of the items we purchased and the stores where we found these deals at.


Black Whirlpool refrigerator $470, black GE 30 inch stove $536, stainless steel double bowl sink $300, Stainless steel faucet $200, and black microwave $300. Sears offer free delivery service. We scheduled next day delivery of these items.

Home Depot

2 gallons each of primer and paint (for walls) $160, 1 gallon of semi gloss white paint (for cabinets) $35, electric sander (for refinishing cabinets) $30, black hardware (knobs and pulls for cabinets) $100, eight boxes of black and eight boxes of white floor tile at $19 per box = $285, and in stock (black with white highlights) laminate countertops $600 (that includes the cost of installation).

Target and Wal-Mart

Kitchen curtains, black toaster, kitchen towels, oval wall mounted pot rack, area rug, kitchen clock, canister set, and other small accessories $300

Step 3 – Putting it all together

We went shopping and tore everything out of the kitchen on Friday. Bright and early on Saturday morning it was time to put all the pieces to the puzzle back together again. There was only 2 days left to this makeover and it was going to take a lot of work and dedication if we were to finish on time. We chose to go with a black and white color scheme because during our shopping spree most of the items that were within our price range were either black or white, or a combination of the two.

Advice #1

When your finances are limited, don’t predetermine your design or color scheme. Purchasing the items in your predetermined design and color scheme may cause you to go over budget. Go shopping first to see what items fall within your budget and put together a design and color scheme around those items.

1) Sears is scheduled to deliver the appliances at 3pm, so time is of essence.

2) Because the kitchen is relatively small, the floor tile was completely installed by 10am.

3) We choose 2 paint colors for the walls. 3 of the walls were painted white and the smallest wall was painted red to create an accent wall. After the paint dried, we installed the wall mounted pot rack on the accent wall and hung the homeowners existing cast iron pot collection.

4) Home Depot will be installing the laminate countertops at 12noon. The frame that the old countertops rested on was torn out and replaced.

5) All the kitchen cabinets and doors were sanded with the hand sander we purchased. They were also primed and painted semi-gloss white. After the paint dried, the doors were reinstalled.

6) The new black knobs and pulls we purchased for the cabinets were installed using the existing holes of the previously installed knobs and pulls.

Advice #2

When replacing door knobs and pulls, take an old one with you to the store. Purchase new knobs and pulls that match the hole placement of the old ones. This is important. If you do not follow this advice you may have to use some type of filling agent to fill in the existing holes and drill new holes in order for your new knobs and pulls to fit.

7) A plumber was hired for $75 to install the sink and faucet.

8) Sears installed the appliances as promised.

9) Home Depot installed the countertops during the scheduled time.

10) We sanded, primed, and painted a wood kitchen table and chairs that the homeowners already owned with left over paint from the cabinets.

11) We painted the homeowners existing microwave stand semi-gloss white and sat the microwave on it when it dried.

12) We added the toaster and other accessories to the room.

That completed our makeover. I am not going to kid you. The homeowners had to put in a lot of hands on labor in order to get the job done, but at the end of the day, they were rewarded with a kitchen that is not only functional, but beautiful to behold as well. The best benefits to the homeowners undertaking this project is the additional financial value that was added to their home by updating their kitchen. In addition to that, although the budget was set for $3500, they only spent $3391. That left over $100 to buy some groceries for that new refrigerator.

As you can see, if you are willing to do a lot of hands on labor, shop around for the best deals, and be flexible with your design and color scheme, for a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional, you can give your tired and outdated kitchen a facelift on a modest budget.

By Laura