How To Renovate Your Kitchen Without Spending A Fortune!

I’m sure you will agree that one of the most important rooms of any house is the kitchen.  It is one of the first things a potential home buyer will look at when viewing your home.  The condition of your kitchen will also play a major role in how fast your home will sell.  A complete remodel however, can set you back upwards of $15,000.  Thankfully there is a cheap, alternative way to improve the look of your kitchen, increase the resale value of your home and help you to sell the home faster with Cabinet Refacing.  I have had first-hand experience with this kind of project when I decided to update my kitchen in 2013.  I was thrilled with the results and I am excited to be able to tell you about my experience in my very first blog. I have also included the pictures of my before and after.  Here we go..

There are various ways that you can reface your kitchen cabinets. One way is to keep the original cabinet boxes and just replace cabinet doors, draw fronts and any exposed cabinet surfaces.  You can also keep the doors, drawers etc and just cover the surfaces by gluing another material such as laminate, vinyl or veneer panels over the top. There are many how-to guides to be found on google for this method.  Here is a link to one such site .

For my project, I decided to go with re-painting and re-staining my oak kitchen cabinets.  We had just replaced the flooring on our main level and once we did that, the dark orange stain on these cabinets just looked all kinds of wrong.  I panicked a little as we did not have the budget to do a full kitchen remodel, so I began researching affordable ways to update the look of my kitchen to match my new flooring.  After many hours spent on google, I decided to go with a two tone look and re-paint my top cabinets in a glossy white, and stain my lower and floor to ceiling cabinets in an espresso shade.   I also decided that I would take on the task completely on my own.  I didn’t want help from anyone, because I knew for this to work, it would take a great deal of patience and attention to detail.  Also, if it didn’t work, I would have no one else to blame except myself.  So, very bravely I began..  Here is how I did it;

  1. Remove all cabinet doors and drawers.
  2. Cover all kitchen surfaces, counters, appliances and floor surrounding cabinets in brown paper.  Use painters tape to protect walls or any surfaces you don’t want painted.
  3. Remove all cabinet doors and drawers as well as all hinges & hardware.  If reusing these, place in a ziplock bag.  When removing doors number with a small piece of painters tape.
  4. Wash all cabinet doors, drawers & surfaces with TSP and micro-fiber cloth.  I was amazed at how much grease and grime build up I removed.  Doors above stove were particularly bad.  Once I had them wiping clean I washed them again with soap and warm water.
  5. Fill any cracks, holes then sand all surfaces that you will re-paint or re-stain.  I used 80 grit to start then went down to a 120 grit.  You can sand just with the sheet or on a sanding block or with an electric sander.  Be sure to get in all the mouldings if your doors have them.  You want to sand down until the existing stain is removed.  Brush off dust and clean with tack cloth.
  6. To make the painting & drying process easier I bought painters pyramids off Amazon.
  7. For the white cabinets, prime all surfaces.  I used Killz Odorless and 4 inch foam rollers for flat surfaces and a small brush for moulding.  After painting moulding, make sure to go over with roller to remove any excess.  Allow to dry, flip and do other side.  After they are dry, if you see a yellow colour seeping through, sand it down a little then reapply primer. Repeat process until there is no yellow coming through.
  8. Time to paint.  I used Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in the satin sheen.   I chose Cloud White. Again use the 4 inch foam roller and a couple of smaller brushes (a really small brush works great to get in the mouldings).  I did 3 coats on all surfaces with a very light sanding between coats removing all dust with tack cloth.  Work space is very important.  I was lucky we have a big garage where I was able to set up a bunch of sawhorses, we also have a lot shelving which was great for drying.  A comfortable, spacious work area is a must.
  9. To stain I used General Finish Java Gel Stain.  To apply tear up rags out of an old white shirt, then wipe gel onto surface going with the grain, it took 4 coats to achieve a rich dark colour.   Then apply thin coats of a Gel Topcoat.  I applied 3 to achieve a nice gloss.
  10. Reinstall doors and drawer fronts and either reinstall original or new hardware.

Once reinstalled I was relieved to see that the new colour of the cabinets looked great with the existing back splash and counter tops.  I was fully expecting to have to replace those too but I didn’t, which was a great bonus.

This entire process took me 3 weeks.  However, I was still doing mom stuff for 3 kids as well as running our rental property business.  I think if you were able to just work on this project and nothing else, you could get it done in a week for sure.

It was hard work, I’m not going to lie. But I was so happy that I did it.  I was able to rejuvenate my kitchen for not even $400! For sure there were a whole lot of hours and elbow grease as well, but very well worth it.  I would recommend it to anyone that is wanting to update their kitchen in a super cost effective way.  If anyone has any questions please just send me an email

Thanks for reading!  I hope you enjoyed my very first blog šŸ˜Š.






Lisa Bancesco

Lisa Bancesco

CENTURY 21 Grande Prairie Realty Inc.
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