Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover

Since we’re moving, we’re getting ready to put the house on the market. We’ve done some freshening and updating. It’s amazing what a little paint and polish can do to freshen a house. We live our busy lives with work and school activities then before we know it, five years have passed and that beautiful sea-foam green has faded to a boiled green bean water.

If you want to go farther than just fresh paint, you can update kitchens and bathrooms. According to several sources, the kitchen is the room that sells the house!


Be sure to check on the market value of your house before spending thousands on a new kitchen, to be sure you will get enough return on the investment. If you don’t want to go to that extent, you can freshen up a kitchen for far less money.

Our cabinets are oak in a dark stain, which I love, but apparently lighter stain cabinets are more popular these days. So, with the help of a kit from Rust-Oleum, and family, we repainted our cabinets.

my kitchen before

Excuse the mess, I had to snap this photo quickly before my husband began taking the doors off (even before I had put dishes away).


painting cabinets kit

Here is the kit we used. There are two versions, one for lighter cabinets and one for darker. Then they tint the paint to the color you choose.

The first step is to take off the cabinet doors and remove the drawers. Carefully take off the handles and hinges, clean and set aside if you will be reusing them.

kitchen without doors

Kitchen without doors

While your husband is cleaning the cabinets, you will have to empty the kitchen cabinets and counters. I crammed it all into the dining room and we lived out of bags and boxes for almost a week.

dining room

It’s best if you have lots of room to spread out the doors, so you can set up an assembly line and they can dry between steps. We set up saw horses and shelves in the garage. You use the cleaner (provided in the kit) to remove the dirt and grease that accumulates over the years. Don’t skimp on this step. The success of your painting depends largely on how clean you get your cabinets.

After cleaning the wood, you begin to paint. Usually, I get headaches from paint fumes but I was happily surprised that all the supplies in this kit have very little smell to them. You will do two coats of the paint, letting it dry 2-3 hours between coats. Buy good quality brushes or they will leave too many brush hairs behind.


cabinet doors

We chose River Birch to lighten our cabinets.


After the paint step, there is a glazer you can apply which will enhance the wood grain. Since our cabinets are oak with a beautiful wood grain we opted to use the glazer. You paint it on then wipe it off and the color remains in the wood grain. The longer you leave it on, the darker it will be. If you prefer just a painted look, without the wood grain, then skip this step.

The last step is a clear protector that seals and protects, giving the wood a slight shine. You have to let everything set for at least 48 hours before attaching the doors and drawers because the paint will be soft enough to nick and dent if you hit it while re-installing. We waited three days to be sure.

In the meantime, we replaced the counter top. Things went pretty smoothly up to this point 🙂 My next post will cover the rest of our kitchen makeover weekend.

Has anyone else refreshed their kitchen? What were your experiences?



11 thoughts on “Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover

  1. I/ we have never refreshed a kitchen, just totally tore everything out and get a new one. Once we even planned/ bought and assembled everything on our own which was (as you might guess) a terrible decision. Took us nearly three weeks to get it done, never again!


  2. Saz says:

    wow! I absolutely love the new look – I wouldn’t have guessed it was the same kitchen !

    I love big American kitchens like this, I wish I can have one some day


  3. […] If you haven’t read the first post, click Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover. […]


  4. […] (see post Clutter: Where did it all come from? ), fixing minor tasks and updating (see post Giving our kitchen a makeover) and now we are in the selling […]


  5. […] New, narrow cabinet handles we added during our weekend kitchen makeover. […]


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