Kitschy kitch’

We’ve remodeled many rooms in our lovely home, but there was one we had left untouched since we moved in. Due, in part, to the massive undertaking it would be, we had left our plain ol’ kitchen as it was. But, after watching many hours of HGTV during a recent stay in a hotel, we had the inspiration to finally do something with the kitchen. Byron has been wanting a full-blown IKEA kitchen for a while, but we don’t live near an IKEA and I wasn’t ready to shovel out that much money. So, we compromised and decided to do it ourselves for a temporary fix. Little did we know just how much work that would be! For example, our air conditioner decided to stop working halfway through the project (and, of course, on one of the hottest days of the year).

In case you haven’t seen the kitchen before its transformation:



We came up with our game plan and hit the store. We had read many blogs about painting laminate countertops, so we knew what we needed for that, the walls (also, horrendously, laminate), and cabinets. We picked up:

  • Primer (Bullseye 1-2-3)
  • Valspar in yellow, brown, and grey (the paint clerk at the store was probably like, oh no…)
  • Painter’s tape
  • New brushes for our very overused paint rollers, and paint liners
  • Scrubbing sponges by 3M
  • Sandpaper and a drill accessory for sanding (note: this didn’t work for us, and we ended up using a full-blown sander; it might work on other drills, but not ours!)
  • Polycrylic (not pictured, but if you want to undertake a similar project, best bet for finding this product is a place like Sherwin Williams)


The first step was to remove all the cabinets. You really don’t realize how many cabinets you have until you start removing four screws from each one.


Byron was smart enough to suggest a numbering system to keep track of which cabinet went where. I’m very glad he thought of it, too. This may not be an issue with most kitchens, but our 50s-renovated kitchen features cabinets of all different sizes.



We had read up on laminate countertop renovation, so we knew to scrub down the counters to remove any dirt or grease.


Next, we used the sanding sponges to lightly sand the countertops. This helps remove any set-in dirt and give the primer a surface to stick to that is less slick.


It’s important to tape around surfaces when you’re painting. Less mess (which we already had enough of, by this point!)


We painted two coats of primer on the counters to give the paint a better surface to adhere to.


Next came the paint of our choice! This yellow color is really delightful in our kitchen, especially when the sunlight hits it. It took us a few coats – up to 5 in some places! – and we used a mini sponge roller to get in places our big rollers couldn’t reach. I highly recommend picking one of those up if you plan to undertake a similar project.


Our living room soon became a workshop. We laid down a dropcloth (tip: the Dollar Tree has these puppies for a whopping dollar and they do the trick!). This process introduced the second time we realized just how many cabinets we have! We painted each cabinet either yellow or gray and I’ve never been so thankful for only needing to paint one coat!


We painted our countertops with Polycrylic to lock in the color and protect them from wear. Polycrylic is a great material for this because it doesn’t yellow over time like Polyurethane and it really isn’t that strong of a smell. We did two coats of Polycrylic, 24 hours apart. We read that it needs to cure for seven days, so we won’t be using it too much until that time. To protect our counters from the elements as we finished the project, we laid down another drop cloth and got to work on installing the newly-painted cabinets. After putting the cabinets back into their respective places (cue instance number three of “we have sooo many cabinets!”), we were ready to move on to the walls. I’d like to point out that this is where our air conditioner formally retired from his job. It was about 90 degrees in the house when we were hanging these things up. I’m forever grateful for central air, and for people skilled in fixing it!


The last color of paint (brown) was reserved for our walls. The walls previously had laminate (WHY?) tiles on them, so we used the same process to prepare them for painting as we did the countertops. Sand, scrub, prime!


Painting all of the remaining areas with the brown paint felt like it took forever. We were up really late this night, but I’m proud of how it turned out.


Below is the finished product! Please enjoy the before/after shots and little trinkets from around our new kitchen. We still have to paint the ceiling, which also features laminate tiles, and figure out what to do with the floors. But, we are very pleased with the results!








P.S. – Matt, we love the wall shelf display you gave us to initially use for our mugs. We were inspired to use it for a different room, though, so you’ll be seeing it in its full glory when we get to that room!


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