Pretty Darn Good Kitchen Makeover

You know those amazing before and after kitchen remodels? Well this isn't one of them. But it did turn out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself.

The kitchen project timeline was 6 days. The budget was a slim $200.


The main constraints of the project were a). the timeline, and b). the budget. 

The timeline was based on this kitchen project being done from about 1,000 miles from home. I planned initially for a 14-day timeframe, but due to various reasons (mostly due to the pandemic) the project dwindled down to only 6 days. 

Working so far from home required precise planning to make sure I would be able to complete the project and that I had all the supplies with me that I needed to get the job done. I initially planned to paint the inside of the cabinet doors, but since my time was limited, I only painted the exterior. But I have a plan for the interior, so stay tuned for that in an upcoming blog post! UPDATE: You can see it by clicking HERE.

This outdated kitchen will get a budget friendly makeover!


My budget was slim at $200. I wish I had $2,000 (or more!) to work with, but it is what it is. This kitchen is located in an oceanfront condo and is on the vacation rental program, so I have to factor in the return on investment, and I couldn't justify spending more money at this time. Down the road (and it will be a really long road) I plan to add new countertops, a tiled backsplash, and new appliances. But for now, let's see what magic my $200 budget did.

Kitchen makeovers don't always have to be expensive. I only had a $200 budget.


I did a lot of research and testing beforehand on various brands of paints and methods. I needed something user-friendly (soap and water clean up), quick drying, low VOC, built in top coat, and a built in primer for both stain blocking and adhesion. And budget friendly! Oh yeah, it must be durable, too. Well that's a tall order! In the end I selected Heirloom Traditions All-In-One Paint. Although the paint has a built-in primer and top coat, I also chose to use their base primer as added protection, especially since the upper cabinets were being painted in white over dark wood. 

My paint requirements for my kitchen cabinets.
Kitchen cabinet paint requirements.
(photo credit shutterstock stock photo)


The key to getting the project done both quickly and with confidence was practicing with the paint beforehand on other projects. I knew I didn't have time to dilly-dally on this project, and once I started it would have to be finished. I used the paint on various small projects, dressers, tables, and a couple of bathroom vanities, and a queen size bed set (you can read that article here) before I started the kitchen. Practicing behorehand allowed me to eliminate other paint brands as I ran into problems with the products during the testing stage.

(Scroll to the very end of this article for a supply list and where to buy.)


Day 1 PREP WORK: I numbered and labeled all the cabinet doors (I was super happy I did this step on day 5). Then I removed all the cabinet doors and prepped them along with the bases with a light sanding and a heavy cleaning using a deglosser product. The product did not require rinsing, so that saved me a ton of time. I was able to get one coat of primer on the lower cabinets as well. 

Day 2: I brushed and rolled two coats of French Toille (blue) paint to the lower cabinets. The first coat went on in the morning and the second coat in the afternoon.

Tight quarters required creative use of space while the cabinet doors were drying.

Day 3: Primed and painted the first coat on the upper cabinet doors and cabinets. As you can see in the photos I had to get creative with finding space for the doors to dry!

Applying primer to kitchen cabinet doors.

Day 4:  Painted coats two and three on the upper cabinets and doors. This included the back of the cabinets over the island as well as the soffits and moulding above the cabinets. White paint in general has far less pigment than other colors, so it did require a third additional coat. It would have required even more if I didn't use the primer first, so I am glad I took the extra step to apply the primer. (The lower cabinets only required two coats.)

My budget friendly kitchen makeover is in progress!

Day 5: We replaced the door pulls and hinges with new ones, and then reinstalled the doors.  The new hinges ate up a large portion of my budget, but were well worth it. The hinges were close in size to the originals, but just a little different, so we had to drill new holes which required extra time. This is the step of the project where I was glad we numbered and labeled all the doors at the start of the project!

Rehanging the freshly painted kitchen cabinet doors.

Day 6:  

Applied removeable wallpaper over the existing wallpaper. First I lightly scrubbed the old wallpaper with deglosser to make sure all the dirt and grease was removed. Application of the wallpaper was fairly easy. Simply peel the back off, line it up and smooth onto the wall. And if you goof it up, simply remove it and re-apply. The paper is thick so I didn't have any problem with it tearing.

Removable wallpaper is an economical and easy way to update a kitchen.


I snapped some quick photos of the "after" with my cell phone. Not too many, because frankly I was exhausted, ha ha. The lighting in the kitchen isn't too good, but we do have a professional photographer scheduled to take new photos for the rental website.

Kitchen makeover with a $200 budget.
Kitchen makeover with a $200 budget.

Kitchen makeover with a small budget.
Kitchen makeover with a small budget.

Cabinets painted white along with peel and stick wallpaper.
Cabinets painted white alongside peel and stick wallpaper.

(Ignore the barstools. Those will be replaced soon.)

Kitchen makeover on a really tight budget.
Kitchen makeover on a really tight budget.

Removable wallpaper is easy to apply and affordable, too.
Removable wallpaper is easy to apply and affordable, too.


I had to leave the cabinet interiors unpainted due to the time constraints. But don't worry! I had a plan to give them a finished look in no time without breaking the bank. Click HERE to read the story!

No time to paint the kitchen cabinet interiors? Try this instead.

Remember I said the condo is oceanfront? This is the view from the balcony that makes all the work worthwhile!

Remember I said the condo is oceanfront? This is the view from the balcony that makes all the work worthwhile!
View from oceanfront condo.

One plus to working at the beach is taking breaks while waiting for the paint to dry! I hope you enjoyed today's project. Thanks so much for stopping by.

My husband and I taking a break from working on the kitchen makeover.
My husband and I waiting for paint to dry.

Budget Breakdown:

I bought the paint on sale for about $25 per quart (score!). I used one quart each of primer, Linen, and French Toille. An extra $25 approximately for the degreaser and miscellaneous items (I already owned the brush and rollers). The wallpaper was about $45 and the rest of my budget went towards new knobs. I still had money left, so I bought new hinges. Those really ate into the budget, and I don't have the exact cost (lost the receipt), but I think it took me over budget a little, but I still ended up pretty close to my $200 budget.

Before and after kitchen at my oceanfront condo.
Before and after kitchen at my oceanfront condo.


Deglosser / Degreaser (this stuff is awesome and doesn't require rinsing!)
Scrubby sponge
Paint for upper cabinets, Linen (I waited for a $25/quart sale)
Paint for lower cabinets, French Toille (I waited for a $25/quart sale)
Brush and roller set (In my opinion, this set is KEY to getting a great finish. Brush and roll!)


As far as buying the products, you can purchase directly from the Heirloom Traditions website. The main benefit is the periodic sales, so you can really save some money! The downside is sometimes their shipping is as slow as molasses (ok maybe not that slow, but when I'm in a hurry it seems so). I think they do the best they can, but in my experience the timing has been unreliable. Sometimes I received my products within a few days, and other times it took a few weeks. So plan accordingly. When I am in a hurry for the product, I use Amazon Prime.


  1. Definitely a huge difference!! And that view?! YES! I'd totally be content with the kitchen as it is!! LOL Thanks so much for sharing this post!

    1. Thanks so much Steph! Yes I agree the view makes it all worthwhile. :-)

  2. Beautiful, and with that budget that was a great makeover. Thanks so much for sharing this, it is inspirational.

  3. Sometimes I see makeovers and am not super impressed or it's over the top. This is a super job done for a beach house and it's LIGHT and AIRY. I would love to cook in that kitchen. Congrats


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