Before + After: The $95 Kitchen Makeover

With every new rental, comes new challenges. In this kitchen, while the finishes in the kitchen had been upgrade, there were still things to overcome. I’m not one who loves clutter. I prefer everything to have its place and a function. (Particularly when it comes to places like the kitchen.) This kitchen got quick improvements and some styling to make it as it is today. (Trust me it, totally didn’t start out like this.)

Keep reading for the full before and after the jump!

The Before:

In my previous place, I had space for my farmhouse kitchen table within the kitchen, providing for a more spacious living area. With wider arches and hallways, I knew I needed a fresh layout. When it comes to this kitchen, there was already a strong sense of a triangular pattern and ample counter space with it’s U shape. Placement of the island would need to function as additional in kitchen seating and a breakfast bar rather than counter space. There were two other pet peeves of mine when it came to the space. The first was the hardware on the cabinetry. You all, it was bad. I felt like I should have been an elderly lady that was a bohemian artist with this hardware. With an open shell shape and spirals, they were covered in years of grime and simply would continue to collect it, with their open shape. I knew they were the first thing to go. The second obvious pet peeve. (You might have noticed me mentioning this on Instagram Stories a while ago.) With pre-existing furniture, there are 6 shades of gray in this kitchen. While this is great for hiding dirt, I knew the space needed warmth, texture, and visual interest to break up the colors of gray. By finding functional accessories and approative styling pieces for the kitchen this could easily be done.

During: Hardware Choices, O My!

The biggest task for this kitchen that would make or break things was replacing the hardware. While I knew pieces of hardware I loved, the curved grove within the cabinet front and exposed hinge hardware forced me into hardware options that were more transitional in style rather than the more modern hardware I had been dreaming off. I also looked at hardware pieces that were black in color to break up the silver/gray finishes. However, when realizing that a knob of a different finish would look out of place with a contrasting hinge, I stuck to a classic round brushed nickel knob and it improved the look a thousand times over.

+ After: Styling elements, warm woods, and simple DIY

The hardware for this project was the biggest expense. The other items were either olive wood elements purchased locally or cutting boards I had already purchased/were apart of my blogging props. The shelves were a simple DIY solution I had crafted with some scrap lumber, clear spray polyurethane, and brackets painted black from IKEA. (I searched on Pinterest and discovered that I loved the look of open shelving.) However, with the ceilings being lower and the ceiling fan having a lower profile than desired, it made the most sense to hang one shelf and keep things at a working height for my mixer. On the shelf, I placed a sweet fern for a moment of nature and color, my box of recipes, and cookbooks. Remember all the shades of gray throughout the kitchen. By looking to the color wheel, I knew that warmer tones of orange and yellow pair wonderfully with gray and would make the space feel less cold. On the shelf, I added my favorite copper pieces which add an additional level of warmth and sophistication. The island was anchored by the shelving above, and with stools to the left-hand side, it adds the feeling of a breakfast bar without needing additional space. (This is my favorite spot in the kitchen and is where much of my recipe testing and meal prep happens. It’s the perfect use of space for me.)

By choosing wooden elements with a rich wood tones, I was able to break up the planes of gray with beautiful Acacia wood cutting boards, bowls of fruit and produce, salt cellars, and spoon rests. (This helps as there is no current backsplash as well.) To finish out the space, I added a favorite cookbook on a mini chalkboard stand and a basket of freshly washed white flour sacks. Installed on the wall above, is a hanging rack which now holds kitchen shears, favorite ceramic mugs, and copper measuring cups and spoons. By the sink, I repurposed a glass mini cake stand, to hold a sponge, dish soap, and hand soap. On the refrigerator, I’ve placed a simple dry erase clipboard and utilize magnetic hooks for vertical storage. On the side closest to the oven I have oven mitts and potholders in a simple chambray. On the opposite side, I have netted reusable shopping bags and a half linen apron (perfect for any chef.)

Filling the space with life and personality.

Every kitchen you will see is bustling with life. My kitchen is no different. Another color that breaks up gray is green. By placing a large palm in the corner between the two arches, it filled out the space and added visual interest. For other pops of green, I rocked my inner plant lady. A fern on the shelf, hanging herbs, and a small snake plant by the sink, there is a touch of green on every wall. By using this moment of repetition, it visually allows your eye to travel throughout the space. For a final moment of personality, I added a favorite Julia Child quote on my letter board.

The price breakdown:

Magnetic hooks $1.00
Dry erase clipboard $1.00
Salt cellar: 10.00
Chambray mitts: $12.00
Spoon rest: $10.00
Cabinet hardware: $26.00
Hanging herb pots: $17.00
Plants: $28.00

Total cost: $95

All other items were previously owned or repurposed.


Get the look.

Hanging Herb Planters | Chinese Scissors | Hardware
Round Acacia Wooden Cutting Board from Hearth and Hand with Magnolia
Live-Edge Acacia Wooden Cutting Board from Hearth and Hand with Magnolia
Acacia Wood Salt Cellar | Mini chalkboard with easel and ledge (our cookbook stand)
KitchenAid Mixer | Half Baked Harvest Cookbook | Copper Measuring Cups and Spoons Set
Mini Cake Stand (similar) | Vintage Felt Letter Board | Chambray Oven Mitt
Chambray Pot Holder

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