Quick and easy DIY for an inexpensive kitchen makeover

kitchen make-over

My kitchen had been featured on this blog and a couple of other publications a few times now already, but only because it was the most inexpensive built-in kitchen ever! I bought the kitchen 2nd hand online and then painted it, put on new counter tops and added pretty handles and hey presto! – new kitchen! But now, nearly 5 years later, it had started to look a bit worse for wear and I decided that it was time for a kitchen makeover. I have always been a devout fan of gray in all its hues, but the pale French gray in the kitchen was really getting a bit dull and dated. So here is my easy and inexpensive update, featuring the heroes in the today’s story: deep charcoal and crisp white paint.

kitchen make-over

A quick note on gray: even though you may think it is, gray is not necessarily a neutral colour. Most grays lean toward blue, red, pink and even yellow! So, when you choose a gray, always test it on a small area in the room first, and then live with it for a while so that you can see if the colour changes in different light and at different times of the day. I chose a deep charcoal gray that is specifically neutral and not leaning toward any other colour. These will usually be marked with an “N” in the code. 

kitchen make-over

The doors were originally a very light beech laminate. We primed them with a laminate primer and painted them in a water-based emulsion the last time, so this time, no priming was necessary. I love water-based emulsions: it has all the washable and gloss properties of an enamel, without all the mess. These types of paints also usually have a slight sheen to them, making them really easy to clean as well.

kitchen make-over

A light sanding was all that was needed and then I started to paint the lovely deep charcoal on the lower cabinets, and a crisp white on the upper cabinets. The white required 2 coats with a light sanding in between, while the charcoal needed 3 coats with a bit of sanding between layers.

kitchen make-over

kitchen make-over

By sanding between coats, you get a really nice smooth finish that makes it look factory-finished.

kitchen make-over

Replacing kitchen cabinet hardware is another super easy way to quickly update the look of your kitchen. Handles come in standard sizes, but if you want something that is bigger or smaller than what you currently have, just make sure that you fill the old holes before you paint. These pretty little curved handles compliment the look of the kitchen beautifully. You can find similar ones from Knobs.co. 

kitchen make-over

The charcoal really brings out the warmth of the butcher block counter tops while making the dishwasher less prominent – I didn’t expect that to happen, it was an added bonus!

Another advantage of having done this kitchen facelift was that I was forced to sort out my cabinets. Once the doors were off for a couple of days, I couldn’t stand the crazy mess inside the cupboards any longer and I started to sort out and throw out. My corner cabinet was probably the biggest challenge. There are fantastic hardware options, like the Lazy Susan, that will efficiently utilize the space. Because I also house the hob’s gas bottle in there though, it wasn’t an option. By simply putting all of the appliances that I don’t regularly use in there, I have now been able to maximize the space while not being confronted with the impractical shelving inside on a daily basis. 

kitchen make-over

I completely love my new charcoal and white kitchen, and as I’ve said so many times on this blog, I am always amazed at how a kitchen can be transformed with a bit of paint and new hardware. 

kitchen make-over

Click on the links to learn more about my kitchen island DIY or the tiled splash back.

Happy Painting!

The paint for this post was sponsored by Prominent Paints.

Comments · 4

    1. HI Laura, I used a South Africa product called A. Shak Tile Prime. I am sure that your local paint specialist will be able to recommend something similar. gx

  1. On your old cabinets, you have 6 doors, on New you have 6 doors and one open with shelving.
    I want to open one of mine like that. How did you do this!! Did you move cabinets over, or how did you come up with open Shelves and same cupboards on each side?
    Thanks love your New kitchen.,,

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for your comment and well done on spotting the change! Originally, I had 6 doors (2x 3-door units) and a silly shelf on the far right. I just took down the one 3-door unit and move it all the way into the corner, and then added some wooden shelves between the 2 units. I had to add a piece of down stand to the bottom and then repaint the whole thing. The whole wall works better now and the shelving in the center creates a nice focal point as well. g

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