Kitchen Refresh on the Cheap!

Hello hello ya'll!  I hope everyone is having a terrific morning.

You know my kitchen, right?  I know my kitchen.  My kitchen is perfectly functional, is a very nice size with a space for a table and chairs (which we use all of the time for dinners), and has a ton of potential.  However, the cabinets are builder grade medium oak wood and, having been in a rental for  many years, are pretty worse for the wear.  

As much as I would love to paint them white, I recognize that (a) this is a rental and they do not belong to me and (b) the effort in painting them is really a wasted one, as they need to be replaced and ... this is a rental and they do not belong to me.  Add to that, the trim under the big window in the kitchen is grey.  I'm not sure why ... but it is.  

The rest of the trim in the kitchen is white.  The grey has bothered me.  The cabinets have bothered me.  But I am limited in what I can do.  Still, I put on my thinking cap and tried to figure out how I could make the kitchen easier on the eyes and a bit more "me".  The answer was simple: add cabinet hardware and paint that grey trim white.

The Trim

This was easy enough.  I have a quart of white semi-gloss that I used in the kids' bathroom when I painted that space.   I rolled up the curtains and made that weird grey trim better with a few coats of crisp white.   Easy.  Done.  Why did it take me so long to do this?  Now when I glance over to that window, I smile instead of cringe.

The Cabinets

Sigh.  You *know* these cabinets break my heart.  I am a sucker for white kitchens, but that's just not in the cards.  So I trolled Pinterest for ideas to minimize the oakiness in the oak cabinets.  One of the things that seemed to make a difference was hardware.  Yes, this isn't my house and buying the hardware would be money lost when I eventually move, but I knew I could buy inexpensive hardware and keep the cost low.  That's just what I did.

First, I needed to clean the cabinets.  They were kind of gross and shabby.  I bought good old Murphy's Oil Soap, followed the directions on the bottle and cleaned the cabinets.  They looked (and smelled) great.  Those pictures above are actually taken after I cleaned and polished the wood.  

Then hardware.  I decided to go with simple brushed nickel knobs for the doors and brushed nickel cup pulls for the drawers.  I already had a near full pack of cup pulls in my stash (I had wanted to add them to my first home's kitchen, but we ended up selling before I could).  I bought another pack of the cup pulls at Target. I went with cup pulls because they're substantial and will hide more of the wood.  The knobs are from Lowe's and were $1.60 each - not bad!  They're very simple, and for the look and the price, I couldn't pass them up.  I have 18 doors and 8 drawers.  Total cost for the hardware was a little less than $50.  And I still have a handful of cup pulls left over.  

Installing the hardware wasn't bad (though the cup pulls took a lot longer than the knobs).  It took about 2 hours total.  Here's an action shot that my photographer took while I wasn't looking.

And ... voila!  Look how much better!

Yes, it looks better but it is so much easier to open the doors and drawers!  Part of my frustration with the cabinets has been how annoying it is to have to grab the cabinet doors or drawers themselves to open ... and now, I can simply grab the hardware.

This little tweak has made me so much happier.   The kitchen is done for now.  Depending on how much longer I stay here and how fast I attack my other projects, I may paint the kitchen.  I think a warm white (like Sherwin Williams Alabaster) or a deep dark charcoal (like Sherwin Williams Peppercorn) would look really good in here and tone down the oak.  But that's way down the line, if it happens at all. In the meantime, you'll find me randomly walking in my kitchen and opening the doors and drawers, admiring the new shiny hardware.  Or maybe kicking back with a Hop Devil and thinking about doing that.

yet another picture by my 6 year old paparazzi 
See you swoon,


  1. Wow, the hardware really does make a difference! Looks much more fresh :)

  2. Before and after differences was the perfect and gives positive vibes. Thank You for sharing such a nice information. While Home Buying agents in Linden NJ visit them and check out professional services.