Kicthen Update - as cheap as possible!
June 12, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I am feeling the need to revamp my kitchen... but on a tight budget. Willing to do lots of work myself, my husband is very handy, but I'm not sure where to start. Help!

We have a small kitchen that is perfectly functional, there's not much I can do to change the layout and a full kitchen overhaul is out of the question financially at the moment.

However, there are a few little things I know I can do to overall improve the aesthetics, but I really don't know where to start!

We are planning on:

* Painting the cabinets ourselves (any product recommendations? They are wooden and we want to paint them some sort of off-white)
*New Countertops - where do we even begin here?
*maybe a new sink and backsplash, but my husband is very handy and can easily do those things!

So this question is 2 Fold really. Can anyone recommend any specific types of paints for the kitchen cabinets? (we have spoken to an outside company who would paint all of our cabinets for $3000, so we don't want to go this route and happy to do it ourselves)

Kitchen countertops - can I just go to Home Depot and shop these or is it worth going somewhere else.
Any recommendations for places to visit in Coquitlam or Vancouver?

Any experiences you can help me with, mistakes you learnt from when re-doing your own kitchen?

I'm really just looking for any or all advice, what should we tackle first etc and will take it from there!
posted by JenThePro to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I redid my kitchen in a similar way. New white paint, great new pulls, and ikea wood counters. I love how it looks.

I would suggest you look at the Ikea butcher block. Inexpensive and looks great (and perfect with white cabinets).
posted by ReluctantViking at 10:45 AM on June 12, 2017 [6 favorites]

Remodelista has several overviews of different counter tops and what goes into producing each. Pricing can depend on where you live, so take their pricing suggestions at. Their pro/cons of each are pretty solid though.

Counter tops can also be found at your local Ikea fairly inexpensively. Quality is pretty much exactly what you pay for though.

Personally, I'm a sucker for concrete counter tops if they fit your home. They're durable, cheap as shit, and look really nice (again, depending).
posted by furnace.heart at 10:45 AM on June 12, 2017

Melamine paint is supposed to be the best for cabinets.

IKEA is excellent for cheaply updating a kitchen. I don't know if is the same everywhere, but Canadian IKEAs just farm out the countertops to a local counter shop. Just find a local countertop place and ask them what their prices are. Home Despot should be fine as well. Phone around and see what the prices are. Depending on where you go, they might come by and measure up the counters for you, or you may have to measure them yourself. Easy enough to do if it is all straight runs, but if you have any turns in your countertop, like an L-shaped one, you need to be careful when you measure.. and check to make certain your walls are square and corners are at 90°. We put in formica countertops, as any sort of solid surface would have cost as much as all the cabinets put together -- there are a lot of nice patterns and colours now.

If your cupboard doors are standard sizes, you may be able to just change them out and get a nice new look for a lot less than replacing the entire cabinets.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:06 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like looking at houzz for inspiration. 2nding the IKEA butcher block, but if you go with it, treat it well with oil before use. I've just designed a small and cheap kitchen where I used laminate for the counters, and I've strongly regretted it.
What is your floor? Renewing the floor can change the room a lot. I like using linoleum in bright colors, but in the cheap and tiny kitchen I'm doing anthracite paint on the existing planks instead. Use the floor color, and even material in other parts of the kitchen - once I used linoleum for the counters and a little table as well as the floor. Another time I've used it for a backsplash.
Finally, lighting is extremely important and should be both functional and nice. Good, white and bright light on counters and stovetop. Softer light you can dim for the room and if there is a family table.
posted by mumimor at 11:19 AM on June 12, 2017

I renovated my kitchen a few years back on a very tight budget. Here is a photo album with some explanatory captions, which might give you some ideas. Of particular note: the concrete countertops, which were very inexpensive, and consist of a layer of thinset over plywood. There are pluses and minuses to them (which I can address at your request), but overall I love them almost 3 years on.

I reused the lower cabinet carcasses and put on new doors, and made open shelving instead of upper cabinets. which saved a considerable amount of money. Open shelving is not for everyone, but my wife and I both love it.
posted by The Deej at 11:21 AM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Every kitchen (and bathroom) decision I've made that started with "really easy to clean", I have been happy with. Sometimes these were expensive but worth it, sometimes the cheaper design is simpler and easier to maintain.

Example: sink that is one piece with the counter, JOY; undermounted sinks, unless very badly designed, PRETTY NICE; the standard self-rimming sink, GUNK TRAP. Of course you can clean it quickly, I grew up with that as a standard kitchen cleanup move, but you do it many many many times in the course of a day's cooking and not having to do it is better.

One-handed access to whatever I use frequently pays off, enough to not mind more hassle for seasonal things that are up high or in the backs of cabinets. (Like The Deej, I like open shelving because finding-and-putting-away are easy. The shelf right next to the stove needs wiping down, nothing else is grimier than cabinets were, and when they are grimy they're easy to clean.)
posted by clew at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2017

I've used IKEA butcherblock for two kitchen remodels. It's a very easy DIY. Some of the best advice I can give is don't join the corners with a 45 degree cut, do a dogleg seam like this one. It saves material and is a much easier cut to execute well on your own. I cut mine using a circular saw and a handheld jigsaw. Choose blades meant for making clean cuts to hardwood. I burnt my circular saw out the first time around. I would also buy some joint connectors like these to pull the pieces together. I used a Kreg jig to pull mine together and it was really a little too hefty a piece of wood for the jig to work well. I glued mine together using a biscuit joiner, which worked really well. The dogleg seam was pretty even but the few spots that gapped a bit I put some glue down and tamped sawdust into it and sanded. It looks pretty good and has functioned perfectly.

If your walls are very bowed, like those in the first kitchen I did, I handled a large gap at the back by covering it up with a 1/2 inch wood backsplash that matched the countertop wood. I applied poly to that and screwed it into the wall with a bead of clear silicon caulk between it and the countertop.

You should sand the counter before oiling it the first time. You should expect the counter to start to look a little shaggy as you begin to use it. Expect to have to lightly sand it and oil it again within the first month of use. That was my experience, twice. You will need to regularly oil the counter but it will be less and less needy over time.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:51 PM on June 12, 2017

I've done a ridiculous amount of painting and wood finishing over the years, including painting cabinets. If oil-based paint is available in your area, it's a great choice because it's long-wearing and easy to clean if you use semi-gloss or gloss. It also levels very well which means brush marks would be less noticeable. If you're going to use a water clean-up paint, go to a good paint store (or more than one) and ask questions about durability and maintenance.

Start out by cleaning the paintable areas really well. Sand lightly wit 220 grit sandpaper to remove gloss so primer will adhere well. Prime with a high adhesion primer, often called a primer- sealer -- again, ask at paint store about specific products. These primers stck very well to the substrate, and paint holds tight to the primer.

To achieve a smooth finish, use a paint additive/conditioner to improve leveling. Use a high-quality brush. If you're going to use a roller for the paint, consider brushing after rolling to remove roller marks and orange-peel texture.
posted by wryly at 2:17 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Have you thought about painting your kitchen countertops? There a a number of kits that you can get: Rustoleum is the big one that comes to mind, but this little video is from someone who used a Giani kit. I'm going to be doing something like this with my kitchen countertop sometime soon - although I've also seen YouTube videos that show people using an epoxy gloss finish (which I think might be more durable and shiny, but the process seems a bit to touchy for me). What do you think? I mean, if you don't like the effect, you can still replace them - but for the price of $80 or so, why not give it a try first?
posted by itsflyable at 4:47 PM on June 12, 2017

I looked online and checked out all the free-if-you-remove kitchens in the local area. If your partner is handy, removing a kitchen, even if you have to figure out detaching plumbing lines and electricity, is still a pretty much free kitchen.

But I ended up getting a going out of business local restaurant's stainless steel benches for a total bargain [under $1000) and just put it in myself. I hired a plumber and an electrician to hook everything up, and it is awesome.

Salvage yards are also great for finding distinctive sinks and kitchen cabinets. I found some excellent tapware [goose neck faucet for under $100] and utensil rails.
posted by honey-barbara at 6:22 PM on June 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes IKEA. Countertop, and great sinks and fixtures too. Excellent storage options. Even if you have to travel to get to one, totally worth it. I took a sink as a carry on once...

Also: Google "IKEA kitchen hacks" for ideas. Take plenty of photos and measure everything before you go.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 12:00 AM on June 13, 2017

Go to a non-big box, specific paint store (like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore) in your area. They can recommend the best paint for your kitchen cabinets, along with prep tips. It's not the cheapest route, but if you follow their advice, your paint job will last a good long time. We've painted 3 sets of cabinets with "good" paint and have been happy with the results.
posted by sarajane at 6:04 AM on June 14, 2017

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