Budget Kitchen Reno!

Kitchen update on a budget! 

Man, this post has been a long time coming. We moved into our new home about seven weeks ago have committed to doing everything on a budget. We just recently paid off our student loans and are working on paying off our van payment and some personal debt that we have, so we were determined to not take on more debt to do the house projects that we wanted to get done. And, disclaimer, our house did not need any major renovations. Everything that we are doing is purely to make it ours, if that makes sense. This is the first house we’ve lived in that we know is going to be long-term (unless God does something crazy in our lives) and we spent five years renting, so I’m really excited to get to do some bigger projects and turn this house into our home.

**Normal disclaimer that Amazon links will take you to my Amazon storefront, where I receive a small commission for sales. All opinions are my own.**

Our first big project ended up being the kitchen. Here’s what it looked like when we bought it: 

Now, there’s a lot of things that I wouldn’t have chosen. Wood cabinets, not really my jam. Also wish they went to the ceiling. Also don’t love the countertop or backsplash. BUT a major kitchen renovation? For sure not in the budget. We managed to change the vibe of the kitchen and make it more modern for a pretty small amount of money. We budgeted a (to me) big amount of our tax return to have a kitchen island installed because the kitchen is just huge, and then everything else was small, DIY projects. We also split the kitchen into two phases: the “we can do this right now” phase and the “this will wait until round two” phase. Round two includes the backsplash (potentially, we’ll talk about this more), extending the cabinets, etc.


This kitchen was begging for an island... and I was begging for an island so I could more easily feed my four rascal children 😉 Unintended consequence: they can all now follow me into the kitchen and comfortably sit and “help”, so there is zero alone time in the kitchen. Since we weren’t crazy about the existing cabinets and countertop, we decided to go with more of a statement island: white cabinets and a beautiful white, grey, and gold quartz countertop. Maybe some day we’ll replace the existing countertops to match, but if not, I’m happy with how this looks.


We removed what I affectionately named “the snake lights” and replaced them with recessed lighting to match the rest of the kitchen. We purchased the two gold pendant lights over the island from www.bellacor.com and my husband installed them on his own. We choose gold to pull out the gold in both the island and main countertops.


We replaced all the hardware with THIS hardware from Amazon! I asked over on my Instagram and a bunch of you suggested Amazon- it was WAY less expensive than the other places I was looking at. I think adding the black hardware made the wood tone of the cabinets feel more modern and also pulled out more of the black in the countertop. We used the same black hardware on the white cabinets that we installed for the island.


We purchased floating shelves to install next to the fireplace and a giant gold circular mirror from Home Goods (where all good things come from) to draw the eye upward to fill the 10” ceilings. I also really wanted to have a cozy spot next to the fireplace (fireplace in the kitchen is one of the things that sold me on this house), so we added a midcentury chair in the corner from Target. It doesn’t have *great* reviews, but for the price point and location (it’s not a high traffic area), it met my needs. All the décor on the shelves was thrifted or stuff that I already owned. 

Now for your questions!

How did you discover/choose your style for the room?

Here’s one of the MANY problems with social media & Pinterest. There are one zillion beautiful kitchens out there. There are kitchens that I think are stunning and cozy and unique but just… aren’t me. I think you discover your style through a lot of trial and error. For example, our first kitchen in Alabama had dark coral walls, which is a color that I love, but for me, a lot of color makes me feel claustrophobic. Clean lines and neutral colors bring me a sense of peace and calm, but that is going to be different for every single person. One of my best friends (hey, Audra) probably thinks my house feels sterile, and she has a beautifully cozy dark blue den that is just not for me.

I also think it’s helpful to only search for what you have. I knew I had to keep these light wood cabinets, so I specifically searched “kitchen with wood cabinets” so that I wasn’t looking at kitchens that weren’t going to happen for me.

Last thing, I swear. Pick a color scheme for your house. Seriously. It sounds crazy but it simplifies things so much. As I share more about the house (or if you follow me on Instagram), you’ll see that we’re rocking neutrals, greens, and blues (except in the kids rooms because they ruin everything). It really makes the decision-making process so much easier.

 Are you keeping the backsplash?

Listen. The backsplash is… a situation. The contractor who installed the island looked at it and said we aren’t getting it off without ruining the sheet rock, so that’s probably not happening. We are looking at painting it? It has a lot of texture so I don’t think peel and stick tile would work… I honestly don’t hate the rectangular portion of it, but the diamonds… just… why?

 Are you keeping your cabinets natural wood or painting?

Again, this cabinet color would not be my first choice, but they are incredibly well made and beautiful, so we’re working with what we’ve got. I would like to fake extend them to the ceiling using panels and crown molding at some point.

So, that’s where we’ve paused the kitchen for now! I’m actually sitting at the island typing this while the kids work on Lego’s… also at the island. They follow me now. I’m so happy with how everything turned out; switching out just a few things can really change the entire vibe of a room. Don't feel like just because you can't do it ALL, you shouldn't do anything. To quote one of my favorite Instagram accounts (@angelarosehome), STOP pinning and START doing. You’ve got to start somewhere, friends, and it’s worth it to create a space that you love. 


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