I hated my kitchen. Hated it! The laminate counter tops were chipped and dingy. The floors were grim and, following an oven replacement, missing pieces. Everything had that faded, slightly yellowed look of a paint job that had seen a lot of years.
I faced to fairly substantial obstacles to redoing it: 1) very little money, and 2) apartment living doesn’t really allow for massive renovations.
Okay, I knew I couldn’t do anything about the appliances, and actual construction was out of the question. What to do? Well, if you are me, you call your friend Meghan and start to brainstorm. Meghan is a genius at design (clothing, rooms, everything), so I knew we were on the right track when she whipped out the iPad and started pulling up paint colors, flooring and new counter options—all within my incredibly tiny budget.
Step 1: Paint We’ve painted nearly surface in the kitchen. Top cabinets went from a yellowed off-white to a taupe that leans mauve from Behr. I lucked out here because it was paint I already had from a failed wall painting experiment in 2011. Yes, even failed experiments can eventually yield something positive.
Next, Meghan suggested chalkboard paint. I loved the idea, but was a little worried about it being so dark in such a tiny space. Happily, it turned out fabulously, and we even added it to the front space (because we needed more space for my friends to play with chalk). Right now it holds a recipe for “Chocolate Decadence.” Clearly, Meghan knows me well.
We went with a chic gunmetal gray to set off the bottom cabinets. Those had seen a lot of damage through the years, and the new finish looks fantastic. The final tweak to the cabinets came with new brushed nickel hardware. We even updated the drawer pulls.
Step 2: Counter Make-Over Meghan and Pinterest solved the disaster that was my counter. Instead of a flat paint we sponge-painted it. The base is a Rustoleum Ash Gray. Then we liberally dotted it with mauvey taupe from the cabinets, black, gunmetal gray from the bottom cabinets and a Martha Stewart blue-toned glitter. I know—it sounds like it wouldn’t work (Glitter? Really?), but it’s a thousand times better than the chipped monstrosity that existed prior to the work. The paint job was then sealed with Envirotex, giving everything a shine and allows you to put hot pans, etc down the counters without bringing up the paint.
Step 3: Floors All the paint in the world couldn’t distract me from the vinyl floors. Being in an apartment meant I couldn’t pull up the existing flooring, however, I could cover it. The dingy 20-year-old vinyl met its match when we covered it with Crescendo Marble Gray Marble Finish Vinyl by Armstrong (only $1.08 a square at Lowes). We did face some challenges because the floor space in the kitchen isn’t uniform in size, but after doing a little math, we were able to make it work.
And voila! The kitchen is finished. I got lucky because I was able to do the majority of it on gift cards, left-over paint from previous experiments and with re-purposed items. It didn’t happen in a day, but the time was worth it.
Naturally, this means now I’m giving the dining room/living room the evil eye. You know it is only a matter of time!