You can’t imagine how happy I am to finally show you the before and after of my home kitchen. If you like the grey cabinet and navy island look, this post is for you!
The reason for updating my kitchen is because I was beginning to feel like I was cooking in a cave. Walls were yellow, the cabinets were dark, and the appliances were acting like 12-year-old appliances (although we did not replace them due to budget).
Plus, the kitchen bar, which we never used, cut off the dining area making me feel even more isolated, especially when entertaining. It was always more of a metropolis of random stacks of paper, books, and junk.
Let’s jump right to it. Here is the kitchen before. Dark cabinets, standard granite counters, a small divided sink, and 12-year-old appliances.
But before you see the “after,” I should show you the inspiration. I can’t remember where this photo came from, Pinterest I’m sure, but I kept it as a gauge in front of me while making decisions for the look.
And of course, the after!
After living in the same house for 12 years without any changes, except for my taste in decor, it was time for an update. A decade ago. Seriously. But you know, with 3 kids, who has time to upgrade a kitchen when you’re living in it!
So let’s go through a few more things that will explain the after look.
Painting cabinets vs. replacing the cabinets.
New kitchen cabinets are expensive and the estimate was $15,000 to $18,000 for our size kitchen. And the thing is, that even though our cabinets are 12 years old, they are good quality and have a lot of life left!
Therefore, we decided to paint the cabinets to give them a fresh look. Coincidentally, we chose the same color we used on the Studio walls, called Grey Screen by Sherwin Williams. It is the most beautiful grey on the cabinets and on the walls.
The total cost of painting the cabinets (yourself) with paint and supplies, about $450. In addition, you should budget about $250 for new hardware.
How to create an open kitchen feel.
One of the biggest changes to the kitchen with the existing cabinets was to remove the high bar and bring out the counter height space. Check out the before with the bar.
And by removing the bar, we not only made more counter space but we can also eat our meals as well! I’m really loving the ability to cook and serve to the kids and clean up is so much easier.
Another bonus of having an open counter space is that you tend to declutter all the time. The area behind the bar became a “catch-all” place for all sorts of stuff because it was semi-hidden. Now, less is more.
Now I feel like the entire space is open, friendlier and just better suited to host friends and family as well as our day to day living.
Replacing the countertops
We chose to replace our granite countertops with quartz. Replacing the countertops was the necessary step to create that open feel we were looking for but also because we wanted the entire space to be lighter. If you’re trying to debate whether to replace your countertops with granite or quartz, check out this blog post where I explain step by step our choice as well as how to select the right installer for the job.
Replacing the kitchen sink
One of the things I knew I wanted to replace was our kitchen sink. The one we had was small, divided, and our faucet barely let water out. I cook a lot, so cleanup was never something I approached with any optimism.
I replaced the small sink with a large quartz undermount sink and I couldn’t be happier.
Creating a coffee and breakfast nook
If you look at the before photo, the coffee and toaster oven haven’t changed places, but instead, I swapped out the toaster oven location and kept it simple with a toaster. I absolutely love my toaster oven and use it daily, but with so much stuff on the counter, I felt like the kitchen had no usable space.
Now, the coffee pot and toaster are the only two things on the area and that’s all I need. I bought a 4 toast red toaster to accent the kitchen and make it more fun And you know what? More room for my coffee ritual is a good thing.
When should one replace the kitchen appliances?
While replacing my kitchen appliances would have been dreamy, we had no budget for new appliances. Sure, we have the money saved up, but we decided we still wanted to go on a family vacation to Europe for two weeks instead. You probably know by now that we value experiences more than things.
Because all of our appliances work, for the most part, we chose to keep them a little longer. What’s comical is that the microwave has about 5 buttons that don’t work and my oven is about 60 degrees F off, but they work so I’ll keep working with what I have until I have $7,000-$8,000 to replace the appliances.
What to hire out vs. do-it-yourself.
Thanks to a dedicated husband and with the help of my dad, the kitchen came together with a lot of laborious love.
You can hire someone to paint your cabinets like we did for about $2800. That included sanding, priming, and painting the cabinets. In the end, my husband ended up resanding some of the cabinets and installing the new hardware himself, but that’s another conversation for another day.
If you plan to paint your own cabinets, plan out three full weekends to do the job right. Or, if you outsource and can have someone that comes out every day, our size kitchen should be done in a week -not eight weeks like ours.
Replacing the light fixtures in your kitchen.
With a whole new kitchen look, it was definitely time to replace my lighting fixtures. As you can see from the before photo, keeping them was not an option. In the end, I replaced them with these single modern pendants and I’m so happy!
Another thing we replaced throughout the kitchen were the lightbulbs. If you haven’t replaced your light bulbs in years, try replacing them with “daylight” bulbs. For the pendants, we used these vintage dimmable bulbs.
We also replaced the chandelier over the table adjacent to the kitchen to extend the look of the space this 5 bulb chandelier. For the bulbs, we used these vintage candelabra base dimmable LED bulbs. You’ll be amazed at how much whiter and brighter the entire space will feel by replacing your existing light bulbs with “daylight!”
As you can see, updating a kitchen with that grey cabinet and navy island look isn’t that difficult even with very dark cabinets. You can, and it’s possible, to update your kitchen on a budget if you’re willing to put some labor of love into it.
The kitchen is officially my favorite place in my house. I can’t explain the satisfaction I feel when I turn the switch off at night, I look back, and smile at a job well done. This kitchen update proves that all you need is a little inspiration from the internet and the willingness to do a little (or a lot) of work.
What do you think?