Cheap ‘n’ Cheerful Kitchen Makeover

One thing I’ve gleaned from obsessively watching real estate TV shows is that agents are quite fond of selling hesitant buyers on ugly, dated kitchens by saying, “All you need to do is paint the cupboards and change the hardware and you would have a brand new kitchen!”

They make it sound like it’s only slightly more time and energy consuming than picking up a carton of milk. Yeah, no.

I did kind of know what I was getting myself into, thanks to the detailed steps of this article at This Old House. I also figured that it would take twice as long as I thought. And, after one sleepless night, I now know that the first coat of a dark colour always looks like crap and not to freak out – the second (and third) coats do get progressively better.

But, like anything worthwhile, the end result is fantastic! Once my aches and pains were gone, I immediately forgot how much work I did. The teal ended up taking 3 coats, 4 if you include the tinted primer. I found out that I’m pretty good at painting and it’s true – the right brush really does makes all the difference. I splurged and bought good ones – this paint job is supposed to make me feel like I don’t have to gut and renovate my kitchen any time soon.

It took me several months to figure out exactly what colours I wanted to use in here. When my idea to use teal first popped up,  I had trouble visualizing it and couldn’t find anything like it online or in magazines. I grabbed several paint chips in that colour range and took my time picking the best one. I decided that only the lower cabinets should be dark teal in order to balance out our heavy mahogany dining table. I chose to do the rest of the kitchen in the same pale cream that runs through the rest of the main level.

Picking out cabinet hardware was FUN. I leafed through decorating magazines to get ideas for handles that I liked and ended up with some great drawer pulls and cupboard handles from Lee Valley Tools. As happy as I am with the paint job, the hardware really finishes the kitchen nicely. Props to Jeff for helping me paint, trusting me on the colour choice (even during the horrid first coat stage) and replacing the hardware.