The 1990s Called, They Want Their Kitchen Back

painted cabinets

Some things are better left in the past, and the finishes in this '90s-era kitchen are no exception. See how a few budget strategies helped a design-savvy homeowner transition her outdated kitchen into the 21st century.

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Before: Oak Overload


When homeowners purchased this 1990s home, they loved the open floor plan and large L-shape work zone in the kitchen. However, the decor was definitely of the decade. Orangey oak cabinets spanned the walls, while green laminate countertops and biscuit-hue appliances filled the space with not so attractive contrasting color.

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After: Beautiful on a Budget

tan kitchen

Thanks to a background in high-end design, the homeowner was able to update nearly every surface with style -- using paint, specialty finishes, or tile. The layout, which includes a generous landing space around the sink and range, was maintained, while a new island table adds smart function.

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DIY Design

painted cabinets

Silver and taupe tumbled-stone tiles update an existing laminate backsplash that could not be removed. The hues reappear in the 4x6-inch tiles that line the cabinet toe-kicks. Custom window valances allow natural light to flow through the kitchen's large windows while softening the cabinetry and countertops.

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Modern Lighting


Although the couple splurged on window treatments, they saved money by using a kit to convert a recessed light junction box. The simple fix made it possible to accommodate pretty pendant lighting above the sink.

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Functional Work Space


A new butcher-block-topped island boosts storage and contributes a stylish work surface away from diners seated at the breakfast bar. A mix of metal and wood brings fresh texture and material to the space.

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Balancing Act


Glossy black countertops give the kitchen an upscale look. To keep the room light and airy, the homeowner removed the door from an upper cabinet. The open shelves create a stylish display space.

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Sophisticated Surfaces


For budget-friendly countertops that resemble granite, the homeowner applied a simple refinishing system. She sanded and applied the product multiple times over the course of a weekend to achieve richly textured ebony surfaces.

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Chic Cabinetry

kitchen remodel

A taupe-gray semigloss paint coats the existing oak cabinetry in warm neutral color. Stainless steel appliances replace the dated models for a modern look.

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Handsome Hardware

painted cabinets

Streamlined cabinet pulls further the kitchen's transitional style. Purchased for only $72, the hardware lends an additional decorative layer to the budget-savvy kitchen remodel.

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Delicate Details

painted cabinets

Scalloped wood brackets painted the same color as the cabinetry add architectural interest to the range wall. The decorative decor attaches to upper cabinets with the help of heavy-duty epoxy.

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Do It Yourself: Open Shelves

Converting a cabinet to open shelves will help lighten the look of your kitchen and it's a project you can easily do yourself. Watch and see how!

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Do It Yourself: Paint Cabinets

Refresh your existing cabinets with paint. Watch and see how to get a pro finish.

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Do It Yourself: Install Cabinet Hardware

Give cabinets a finishing flourish with new hardware. Watch and learn the secrets to success.

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