Big Kitchen Make-Over on a Small Budget

Yellow can be such a beautiful color.   I’m fond of the color yellow,  just not as counter tops.

When we bought our outdated 1969 house, the kitchen was by far the room that needed the most work. With a baby arriving just a few months from the day we moved in, we knew we needed to get it up to par fast but we didn’t have it in our budget to get new countertops.

We set out to do a quick makeover on a small budget. Here’s a little insight as to how we did it, what we wouldn’t do again and how we saved so much money!

Obviously, the biggest change was the counter tops. I wanted granite. Our budget didn’t allow at the time. I looked at other options that were less expensive but i just couldn’t let go of the granite look I had always envisioned for my family kitchen. That’s when I found the $70 solution to new countertops. Giani Granite Countertop Paint.

I wish I had taken step by step photos along the way for a tutorial, but I have to admit, I didn’t do most of the project, I just supervised (6 months pregnant, remember?).

My younger sister was nice enough to take on the task. We watched the DVD that came with the kit and did a little more online research before starting.

Our $450 kitchen makeover! We made a big difference with a little budget!

While this project is super simple, but you do have to pay attention to details. Do all the sanding as instructed, take the time to take off properly and as pain staking as it is, use the razor blade to remove the tape (I’m speaking from some regrettable experience).

HUGE TIP- do not use the sealant that came with the kit. It will only give you one coat and that’s no where near enough for the traffic your countertops will see. We bought a small can of Polyurethane ($7 at Wal-Mart) and did 3 coats of that, sanding between each one.

I read multiple reviews that mentioned rings from coffee cups or bubbled from water left standing after just a month. We have had ours for 4 months now and there have been plenty of messes left uncleaned for some time and there is no damage what so ever. It’s an extra step but SO worth it.

Overall, I would highly recommend the product. You can find the exact color we used and browse all the other options here. 

Here are a few pictures I snapped along the way just so you can get a visual for some of the prep work we did.


Painting our cabinets while was the other huge game changer for the kitchen. Let me start off by saying that if I could go back and do this over, I would either 1) use a paint sprayer or 2) hire someone to do it (but then it wouldn’t be called the under $450 kitchen makeover!)

Painting the cabinets was ALOT more work then we imagined and it cost surprisingly more than I was anticipating. A good chunk of change (about $120) was spend on new hinges and handles. We used 1 can of primer and probably close to 4 cans of Polar Bear White by Sherwin Williams.

We read dozens of tutorials online for how to complete the painting, but it was still a much larger job then we imagined. It took us almost a solid week to knock it all out. If  this is something you are planning on doing, ASK FOR HELP! Bribe all everyone you know with pizza and wine and invite them over. Even if you don’t trust them with a paint brush, there is so much sanding to be done (SOOOO MUCH).

Obviously that beautiful wallpaper that was installed in the 70’s had to go. We added a fresh coat of paint and a new light fixture. And that completed our makeover! It took about 2 weeks to do and was worth every penny.

*UPDATE* Sadly, our countertop update did not last past the two year mark. It held up GREAT for so long, but started to chip around the sink about 20 months after we painted. Considering our budget restrictions, it was the perfect solution and I would do it again if in the same spot. But it definitely isn’t a long term solution.

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