Clever DIY Updates That Made This Kitchen Look Brand-New

A do-it-yourselfer keeps most of her kitchen cabinets but gets rid of their dated look.

Before: Cramped and Characterless

Ashley Thurman, whose kitchen makeover was featured in the June 2016 issue of Better Homes & Gardens and on her blog, Cherished Bliss, gave her cabinets a new look using a combination of simple fixes and more involved reconstruction.

1. Alter Awkward Spaces

First, removing the doors above the microwave and refrigerator created instant open display areas. To fix a tall, awkward cabinet next to the range, Ashley shortened it to counter height, then added on to the short cabinet above it so that all her upper cabinets aligned.

Get the How-To: Altered Cabinets

2. Add Interest to Cabinet Doors

Ashley gave her flat-panel cabinet doors Shaker style by making them look like traditional recessed doors. She attached strips of oak plywood along the edges of each door.  

Get the How-To: Trimmed Cabinet Doors

3. Boost Storage and Prep Area

The biggest change in Ashley's kitchen came when she removed a traffic-blocking peninsula. She still needed storage and prep space, so she built an island from scratch.

Get the How-To: DIY Kitchen Island

4. Upgrade Countertops

After painting her cabinets and island, Ashley topped them off with butcher-block countertops. She purchased 8-foot lengths of unfinished butcher block, cut them to size, applied a food-safe sealer, and installed them.

Get the How-To: Install Butcher-Block Countertops

After: Farmhouse Fresh

The changes Ashley made give her kitchen a clean, classic look and loads of function. Now, there's plenty of work space on both sides of the range and a convenient path into kitchen. The white cabinets and butcher-block countertops team with subway tile and a wood-look laminate floor for long-lasting style.


  1. Two thumbs up!! Great Job!!

  2. Fabulous new look! Can I ask what the peg thing is on the wall in photo 1? The one the jars are hanging on? I need one of those lol

    1. Would love ideas for my very small galley kitchen which has openings on both ends. Thanks.

    2. what a are in the category of being x-smart...thanks for posting.

    3. Best mini makeover I have seen in a LONG TIME. Looks beautiful Ashley....and DIY possible (except maybe the countertop installation for me). I would love to have this kitchen.....

    4. I saw that exact thing at pottery’s actually a mug rack.😊

  3. I think you did a wonderful job!

  4. The white cabinets with attractive pulls and knobs along with the blue shade on walls really brightens the space and gives it a "larger" look, very nice.

  5. I did this to our particle-board el cheapo ugly kitchen cabinets with 'pictures' of wood, glued on them, some sort of plastic. Very grim. Then the previous owners put a great big white knob in the MIDDLE of each cabinet~ just in case no-one thought those cabinets weren't already ugly enough! Awful.
    So I scuffed up the cabinets with sandpaper so paint would stick to it. Then I wiped off any grease with white vinegar. Painted all of them a bright white, with a low sheen so they can be wiped clean easily if something splatters. (I'd removed all the knobs and threw them out!, put wood putty in the holes,& when dry sanding them flat.

    Then I got old 1920 reproduction cabinet pulls...and ran out of time to put them on before the shower I was hosting...but it looked like a new kitchen.
    My nephew, who like most guys,is oblivious to decorating or the home arts, walked in and said "Wow, Aunt Lisa...did you get a new kitchen?" Nope, a can of paint and a day off from work!
    Someone told me a long time ago that paint can fix a multitude of issues in a house. That's true. We had very dark paneling that I attacked with white paint. Then I got bored with that and painted it barn red, leaving the seams so it really looked like you ripped it off an old barn, and put it on the wall! Hung old gadgets on the wall, and it came out really cool. For a can of paint!
    Someone posted that she has a tiny kitchen, and she could purchase or have made a "hooser" (look it up online). They were used in the 1920's when it was common not to have much more than a hot plate next to a sink in an apartment. It has drawers, and they all have a metal shelf that pulls out, so you have workspace. Then, you clean it and shove it back in, and the workspace vanishes. I bet that would solve a lot of problems for her, and look cool too. Good luck. Doesn't matter how big or how small a kitchen is. If it nourishes your family it will always be the living heart of your home.

  6. I love the finished look all of the matching appliances gives this kitchen. Very often newly-designed kitchens (some more high-end than this one) show a hodgepodge of appliances with different designs not from the same manufacturer, even though they may have the same stainless-steel finish. The rest of the kitchen is also very cozy, warm, and inviting.

  7. No help for my 8 x 6 space windows, corner sink,approximately 4.5 counter top space, longer wall has stove, micro & cupboard as well as one side of the corner sink. The island you show would take up 90% of the floorspace. How about some ideas for it..a really small kichen?

  8. Truly love the ideas I get from makeovers. It would be even better if there was a price range for each change. Sometimes just one or two of the changes would make a huge difference but I just dream because I'm sure it will be way more than I can afford. Example, my kitchen was updated before we moved in except the island is still connected to the wall. That one change would be amazing for me. Thanks for the mini breaks to daydream.

  9. I love it. Very pretty and functional

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