Our $2,000 DIY kitchen transformation

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Our $2,000 DIY kitchen transformation

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Our $2,000 DIY kitchen transformation

Like many American women, I watch home décor shows and "oooh" and "aaah" over the transformations that leave me wondering how people can actually afford to have these projects done. Our combined household income (him, a pressman -- me, a teacher) allows us to pay our mortgage and bills comfortably. However, it would take us 20 years to save up for a $40,000 kitchen renovation.

So, I had to get real. Our house was purchased two years ago on a post-foreclosure auction website, where it was advertised as "move-in ready." Everything functioned properly, even though the aesthetics weren't ideal. I did some research on refacing cabinets and found a company that cuts custom medium-density fiberboard (MDF) door panels in a variety of designs. All I had to do was measure properly and enter my order online.

How we did it

We removed the old doors then sanded and wiped clean the cabinet boxes to prepare for an oil-based primer. Oil-based primer is important because it blocks stains from seeping through paint. It is worth noting that oil-based primer is quite wet and spreads on in a cloudy color. To be safe, I used two coats of primer before applying three coats of semi-gloss cream-colored paint.

[Click to find a contractor to help with your kitchen renovation.]

Before painting the wall color, I touched up the ceiling with a fresh coat of flat ceiling paint, and we installed the new ceiling fan. Next came the backsplash paint, which is the same color as the wall, but in a washable finish. Finally, we painted the rest of the walls.

While we waited for our cabinet doors to arrive, we ripped up the old floor tiles and replaced them with a neutral sticky tile. While these tiles aren't as fancy as ceramic or hardwood, they were extremely affordable and I love how neutral they are. They also carry a 25-year warranty and provide the option of being laid with spacers and grout if you want them to look like ceramic tile. In addition to cost, we live in a neighborhood where many homes are not equipped with ceramic or hardwood kitchen floors, so resale with this tile won't hurt our bottom line.

When the cabinet doors arrived, they only needed a light sanding before rolling on three coats of paint. After a few days of drying, hanging the cabinets proved easier than I expected. While it took some practice, the hidden hinges we used are adjustable once the door is hung. It only took a few turns of the screw driver and a level to make sure everything was perfect. We used a cabinet door template to mark where the knobs and pulls went, drilled holes, and hung the hardware in a matter of minutes.

[Need help renovating your kitchen? Click to find a contractor in your area now.]


Cabinet doors…….. $1,000

Kitchen Island...........$529




Cabinet Hardware……$60

Ceiling Fan/Light…....$100

Total: $2,009

The final product continues to amaze me -- both because the transformation was so complete and because I was able to significantly renovate our kitchen on a budget.

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