I know, I’ve been promising it for months now, but today is the day! It took me ages to reveal our kitchen because it’s not exactly what I want. The hideous tile backsplash still graces the sink area, and one counter is still green ‘marble’. But considering we had to do this makeover on the super cheap, it’ll do for now. Just how cheap? Under $400! Friends, welcome to our on-the-cheap copper and white kitchen.
This makeover is meant to tie us over until we have enough funds to completely overhaul the space. I have to say, putting in the ‘counters’ made a world of difference. Ever since we got rid of all that hideous green ‘marble’, and painted the walls from the ‘banana split puke’ that covered the entire house to a crisp white, I’ve felt much better about the space. Care to see what we lived with for months beforehand? I warn you, it’s not pretty.
These photos were taken during our walk through, so apologies for the horrible quality. But they really do give you an idea of just how awful the kitchen was. Some things we changed immediately (the hideous lights above the kitchen sink) and others were recent changes such as the fan we got last month.How did we keep our kitchen makeover super cheap? We avoided having to buy three kitchen large ticket items – flooring, cabinets, and counters. The flooring we kept the same, but the other two we reused and re-beautified what we already had. It was a ton of work, but well worth the hours.
For the sink area, we wanted it to have an open feeling, so we left four cabinets off to create open shelving. This was great as it resulted in less work.
We kept our original cabinets, but sanded them down, filled in the holes from the old hardware, and painted them all white.
For the drawers and a few key cabinets, we made our own handles with copper piping, an idea I first saw at Upcycled Treasures. A warning: The longer handles with two anchors work perfectly. However, we had a lot of trouble with the smaller drawer pulls (see oven photo below). The part that holds it together keeps distorting and the rods keep falling off, so we have to pull from the bell hanger rather than the rods. A few we’ve just given up on and just use bell hangers as the pulling mechanism, as you’ll see on the top left drawer beside the oven.
We originally were going to buy new hinges as we figured ‘hey they’re cheap’. But there’s a lot of them when you’re dealing with kitchen cabinets, and at $4 a pop that adds up quick. So instead we decided to use what we had, but didn’t want the stark black colour to disrupt the look. So we picked up a copper leaf pen and painted all the cabinet hinges to match with the copper in the room. It worked perfectly.
This is what really made a huge difference in the kitchen. I couldn’t stand those hideous 1980’s countertops and wanted to get rid of them entirely and replace them with butcher block. However, since we plan to completely reconfigure the space in the future, we knew that would be a waste of money. So instead I turned to pinterest for ideas and found a video of someone who recovered their bathroom counter with granite contact paper. I figured hey, copper contact paper is a thing – let’s do this!It was a lot easier than I expected. We followed the tutorial in the above video and were pretty successful. The trickiest part was getting it cut properly around the sink. We didn’t do that great a job measuring around, but the mister applied white cocking around the sink to give it a clean finish and hide our mistakes. Plus it helps to seal in the contact paper, preventing any water from seeping underneath.
We’re careful with our counters, making sure not to cut on them and to wipe up any spills so they don’t get in between the cracks. Even so, we thought it might last us about 6 months. We’re on about month 8 and, while you can see some nicks and scratches up close, it still looks really good.
As you can see, we didn’t cover the back counter (which used to be an old 1980’s style ‘office’ area, hence the space for a chair). To save money we intended to just paint it with left over paint from the dining room. Yeah we never got around to that. But it sits a little separate from the kitchen so it’s easier to ignore.
I really wanted to put in a hanging garden or fun shelves on this big wall, but it back onto the chimney so we’d be drilling into concrete. I didn’t want to mess with that so instead I taped up my perpetual harvest prints. It adds a lot of colour to the space and is a good reminder to get outside and garden!
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we didn’t forget to paint the wall under the counter ‘desk’. We left it uncovered because we liked the bright teal the kitchen used to be, and it’s a fun reminder of all the hideous wallpaper we removed from the space and the adjoining dining room. We stand there looking at that space and often say “Oh man…do you remember what this kitchen/dining room used to look like?”
So just how much did we spend on our kitchen makeover?
Copper leaf pen: $20
Overhead sink lighting: $30
Ceiling Fan: $80
Copper contact paper: $100
Copper piping and accessories: $100
Yep, a complete kitchen makeover IS possible on the super cheap. Sure, our flooring is still blah and that tile backsplash makes me cringe every time I do dishes, but why spend thousands of dollars when you only need to spend a few hundred? Especially if it’s only meant to last a year, or two….or three. We’ll see when we get our butts into gear to redo the kitchen properly.
Want to get the look with an easy project? Try out the DIY Suspended Copper Pipe Paper Towel Holder
Sarah Stone says
I think it looks great….and considering the pricetag, SUPER great! If you really are so bothered by the tile backsplash, it might be worth it to replace with subway tile. My father and husband just did this in our kitchen a few weeks ago. It was a bit time consuming, but REALLY cheap. I think we spent about $50 for all the tile, plus grout and sealer. It took the two of them an afternoon (3-4 hours) to cut and and lay all the tile. You have to wait 48 hrs before adding the grout, which my husband did himself in about an hour. Then another day of waiting, and the sealer and adding caulk took less than an hour. If you were to just to the area behind your sink, I’m guessing you could do it much faster and even cheaper! Just be sure to buy the tiles that have a slight groove around the edge….this helps you space the tiles perfectly and make all the grout lines even without any measuring. Hope this helps!
Tan of Squirrelly Minds says
Yes subway tile has been our plan! We priced it out to about $30, which is nothing. The hassle comes in our wall mounted sink. We could do it, but cutting circles in the title would be a complete pain in the arse, which is why we keep pushing that project aside :/ we really should soon before baby though otherwise we never will…
Sarah Stone says
Hmmm…that certainly would be a pain. I wonder if you could cut small squares that are just big enough for the pipe to fit through, and then have the circular part of the faucet fit over/hide the cut? You could also consider mounting something in between where the faucet touches the wall and the tile, just to hide the tile cuts.
Rachel | The Crafted Life says
So beautiful Tan, and what a price! Completely do-able and affordable, I love it 🙂
This is amazing! Those copper counters are amazing and I love that you made so much of the space without ripping everything out. Let’s face it – brand new shiny kitchens are awesome and super alluring, but also out of the reach of a lot of us so this is brilliant!
Amy W says
Gorgeous!! Love all the effort and I think it’s definitely paid off!
What about painting the ugly border with ceramic paint or something similar? Or try Rustoleum’s countertop finish.I know the turquoise is nostalgic, but really it just looks unfinished 🙁 Take a picture and paint that baby!
That’s the plan!
This is so awesome renewal! Great job! We are remodeling our kitchen with low budget, so it’s wonderful to see these new ideas, and to find your beautiful blog too! An idea came to mind.. What would it looked like if you used that copper contact paper to cover those colorful tiles on the wall above the sink? Or could you paint them? I have hideous tiles in the bathroom too, that I haven’t yet done anything to.
Robin Moody says
This is so exciting, while I have loved my 1950’s pine cabinets for 15 years I am ready for a change. The hardware is already copper toned. So all I will have to do is paint it white.
I am afraid the white will get dingy or oily or chippy with time.
Any tips on what is the best type of paint for cabinets exeriors and interiors?
In all honesty one drawer has a fair bit of chipped paint, but that was the one space we didn’t thoroughly sand down. All the other cabinets are fine, so I HIGHLY recommend you sand all your cabinets down completely before painting. We just used wall paint and it worked fine, but I might look into a furniture paint. Not sure what different it would make, but since you have pine cabinets it might be best to use a paint that’s proper for wood
Your kitchen looks great! I was wondering if you could tell me where you got the fan?
Thanks Dawn! The ceiling fan is from Canadian Tire. We got it on sale for something like $60 a few months back
Cheri Bywater says
Good for you, making the most of what you have! And that copper leaf pen idea is pure BRILLIANCE!
I love the copper handles. Did you seal them with anything or are you letting them get a natural patina?
The tile- even though it’s not your favorite actually looks hip-retro and matches your fiesta ware color scheme very nicely.
One more thing – the art print grid makes me happy. It actually caught my eye in your sidebar and made me click over to the post. Do you sell those?
Thank you so much for your kind words Cheri! I didn’t seal the copper handles and two years later they still aren’t patina just yet. They are a little worn looking for sure though.
I don’t sell those art pieces (aren’t they gorgeous?) but there’s a link for them up in the post!
Cheri Bywater says
Ha, I see that link now. I popped over to Amazon and I see the artist also has a How to Draw Food book/journal. What a great find. Thanks again!