Our Budget Friendly Kitchen Update

Last summer, we updated our 1990’s kitchen, and it made all the difference. We went from forest green everything to black counters and a clean, white backsplash–all for around $600 (not including the flooring). This is where we started in September, 2016, when we moved in.

The first two things we did were 1. remove that gigantic island and replace it with a smaller, craigstlisted Ikea look alike. The original looks like this guy. Ours was hand built based on that design with an Ikea butcher block top and shelves, and we love it! And 2. We tore out that green carpet and thin hardwood in the kitchen and replaced it with 3/4″ natural maple, which we LOVE. Here’s the room in process. The new island and the floors help, but the kitchen is very much still green.

Kitchen before

After researching some options, we determined that new countertops were out for us. It was mostly a budget issue–nice, new countertops are pricey, but I definitely wanted a different look than what we had. I turned to Pinterest to see what our options were. I read up on painting countertops and building cement ones, and nixed them both.

In my research, I stumbled on refinishing kits that have stones mixed into the paint. Through a series of steps executed over a few days–sanding, priming, sanding, painting, sanding, and sealing–you end up with a great alternative to new stone or laminate counters. Obviously, we don’t expect them to last as long, but we’re almost one year in, and have no regrets.

kitchen primed

We used Daich Spreadstone Countertop Refinishing Kit in Volcanic Black. While I wouldn’t call this process easy, it was definitely doable. Watch their instructional video, pay attention to what you’re doing, don’t skip any steps, and you’re on your way to seemingly new counters! The only thing I wish we had done differently is to lift the sink so that we could paint under the lip. We taped around it, but it would have been cleaner if the paint went under the sink, rather than right up to it. If you try this in your kitchen, learn from our mistake!

After we finished the counters, we started on a subway tiled backsplash. It’s definitely doable, even if you don’t have any experience. We used Musselbound Adhesive, stuck the tiles to it, grouted, and sealed. Here’s how it works. The Musselbound is essentially large sheets of double sided tape, which means you don’t have to mess with mortar. You can see in this photo where the adhesive is stuck to the wall, and you stick the tile to the adhesive as you work your way up the wall. So easy!


There are also great tile sheet options that come with the adhesive already on the back. Pick the option that’s best for you, research how it works, and go to town. Much like refinishing countertops, you don’t have to have experience to make it happen!

And that’s it! We love how our kitchen turned out. It looks like a completely different space, even though we didn’t make any major changes in appliances, cabinets, or layout.


Kitchen SinkDSC_4347

Have you tackled any DIY projects around your house recently? Any plans to accomplish a project or two this summer?

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