Builder-Basic Kitchen Upgrade on a Budget

After becoming parents, a young couple upgrades their builder-basic kitchen for less than $2,000.

Smart Surface Upgrades

The homeowners wanted to transform their builder-bland oak kitchen into a space full of personality on a budget.
They began by working with the existing laminate countertops and painting the oak cabinets with a water-base alkyd paint that levels like an oil-base formula for a smooth finish.

Streamlined Look

The clean look of the newly painted white cabinets brightened the kitchen and made the room feel bigger, even though the square footage wasn't changed.

Get tips on how to remove old cabinet hardware, plus how to install new hardware in your kitchen.

How to Install Cabinet Hardware

Watch how easy it is to install cabinet hardware.

Make Appliances Match

A new stainless-steel range and microwave coordinate with the existing stainless-look refrigerator to create a look of a matching appliance suite.

Since the homeowners' white dishwasher was new an adhesive film was added to help it blend.

Tile Mosaic Backsplash

Tile adhesive available on a roll, a less messy option than mortar, gave these newbie do-it-yourselfers the confidence they needed to install the mosaic tile backsplash.

The tile still needed to be grouted, but the project was finished in just a few evenings.

Peel and Stick

Adhesive film helped this existing white dishwasher match the other stainless-steel appliances. The removable peel-and-stick product comes on a roll and can be easily trimmed to size.

Finishing Touches

Adding a new faucet and cabinet hardware in similar metallic finishes helped create a cohesive look in the kitchen—exactly what the homeowners were hoping to accomplish.

Refresh with Paint

The homeowners refreshed used furniture pieces with a good cleaning and some paint to elevate the style and solve storage issues in the adjoining dining area. To make the bookcases match the scale of their existing glass-door cabinet, the homeowners trimmed the legs; they secured both units to the wall for safety.

Painting furniture gives an old piece a new look. Here's how to paint furniture and get great results.

How to Paint Furniture

Give furniture a new look with a coat of paint.

Art and Accents

Using leftover paint added color and interest to a wall of mismatched frames found on Craigslist. The colors on the frames were pulled from the bold Roman shade on the adjacent wall. The bench is perfect for storage and can be pulled up to the table when more seating is needed.

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