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Everyday Cheapskate

Posted on Friday, October 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

Make your kitchen look like new for $300 and some sweat


mary hunt

everyday cheapskate - mary huntRecently I walked into Amy and Justin’s kitchen and my jaw dropped. It was like I’d stumbled into the wrong house. The gorgeous new cabinets and countertops made it look brand new. You could have knocked me over with a feather when these friends told us they weren’t new cabinets and counters at all. They’d refinished them themselves — all for about $300.

You may think that kitchen projects need to be left to the professionals, which of course is fine provided you’ve got thousands of dollars to work with. But if your budget is slightly under that — and you’re willing to contribute some sweat to the project — new products and methods now available can bring do-it-yourself options to any kitchen.

CABINETS. Our friends refinished their existing cabinets (the doors and face frames) with the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations Kit, which costs about $75 and covers 100 square feet.

The thing that gave Amy and Justin the courage and confidence to tackle this project themselves was the Rust-Oleum promise of no stripping, no sanding, no priming and no special skills required. While their cabinets are made of wood, this product will also transform melamine, metal and laminate cabinetry.

Of the three colors offered (white, espresso and cabernet), they chose espresso. There is no way anyone would look at these cabinets and say this looks like a DIY project done by novices who must have gotten in over their heads (what the average person would worry about, I’m sure).

A less expensive option would be to spruce up shabby cabinets with a coat of paint. For the price, quality and durability you really can’t beat Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel, $39 per gallon at Home Depot.

Replacing the cabinet hardware can completely transform the look of cabinets — even if you do not refinish them first. Cosmas makes a great oil-rubbed bronze cabinet round knob for as little as $1.15 per knob in a pack of 25.

COUNTERS. Newly finished cabinets could enliven the countertops, but it’s more likely they will make them look tired and worn by comparison. Not to worry! You may have some great options.

The folks at Rust-Oleum also manufacturer a counter Transformations Kit that will give old laminate countertops the beautiful look of natural stone (about $165 to cover 50 square feet or 20 linear feet). This Rust-Oleum product is durable, made to last for many years.

Another option to consider is the Giani Granite Paint Kit that will transform cultured marble, ceramic tile and laminate countertops into the beauty of granite (about $80 to cover 35 square feet). This water-based product promises automotive-grade durability, too.

Once you have your cabinets and countertops looking good, you may decide to tackle the floor. Should you opt for something like Armstrong Coastal Living L3051 White Wash Walnut laminate flooring, expect to pay about $3.50 per square foot. The “lock and load” floating method of installation makes this kind of flooring another easy DIY project.

Whether you opt to transform your kitchen all at once or take it one project at a time, you’ll never regret paying as you go. For more information about the specific products mentioned above please visit