A Budget-Friendly Kitchen Makeover

Stephen Saint-Onge
See how Better Homes and Gardens' contributing editor Stephen Saint-Onge gives this kitchen a boost without breaking the bank.

Halfway There

This kitchen was filled with basics -- white cabinetry, beautiful countertops, the right appliances, and new windows. But with the dreary wall color and a mishmash of accessories, the overall look was dark and dated.

The Mission: Stephen wanted to give this kitchen a fresh look in a flash without spending big bucks.

Revamped Kitchen

Stephen wanted to lighten the kitchen and make it work harder for a busy family. Simple cosmetic changes, such as a new wall color and cabinet hardware, delivered. "Take stock of what's good in a room and then start dealing with the not-so-good," says Stephen. "A list of what to change will help you stay focused."

Hidden Door

To camouflage the basement door, Stephen painted the lower part white to tie into the beadboard wainscot, then painted the upper part the same as the new wall color. To add to the door, Stephen used chalkboard paint to create a family message center.

Open Pantry

To tidy up the once cluttered open shelves, Stephen placed matching baskets into each opening, making storage easy to access. He also found a new place for the microwave, freeing up counter space.

Tip from Stephen: A large basket perfect for recyclables tucks into the bottom shelf.

Pretty Storage

To cover an empty wall and give the kitchen more storage, Stephen bought pine shelving and brackets. Primed, painted, and mounted, the shelves showcase white dishware.

Completing the Look

Must-Have Light: New track lighting provides ambient light; plug-in light strips are hidden under the cabinets.

Low-Profile Seating: Backless bar stools don't impede the view of the kitchen from the mudroom entrance.

Pullout Storage: Matching baskets hold table linens and simplify the look of open shelving.

Quick Cabinet Makeover

Stephen liked the crisp white cabinets but to refresh the space he upgraded the drawer pulls and knobs. In just minutes the cabinets were given a modern update.

New Faucet Does Wonders

To give their stainless-steel sink a new look, Stephen changed out the faucet with a more cottage chic fixture.

Hidden Lighting

To add another layer of lighting, Stephen added inexpensive plug-in lighting strips under the cabinets. They add a warm glow to the countertops while illuminating dark areas under the cabinets.

Tip from Stephen: The lighting strips came in various lengths from 10 to 30 inches -- so you could use them under cabinets or even inside cabinets if you wanted to have display areas.


Like what you see in this makeover? Re-create Stephen's look with these resources:

Lowe's: Lighting, Hardware for Cabinets

Bed Bath and Beyond: Barstools

Benjamin Moore: Paint and Chalkboard Paint

Meet Stephen

Stephen Saint-Onge's keen understanding of the homeowner has moved him into the spotlight in recent years through his work on television and in magazines. This understanding, accompanied by his friendly, approachable, and creative style, is making design accessible to everyone -- no matter who they are, where they are, or what their budget may be.

As a husband, father, and homeowner, he understands the needs of the family-focused lifestyle. "I have the same to-do list on my refrigerator that everyone has. There is always something to be done with our homes and hopefully what I bring to the table will help everyone see the best in their homes," says the designer. He draws upon his background in film and design to help homeowners create a home that truly captures who they are, but at the same time captures a mood they are looking to bring to life that represents their home in the right light. Good home design has the power to change lives.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.