Did you happen to catch the Kitchen Makeover on The List? If so, The Diva of DIY, Leanne Lee, breaks it down and shows you how to transform your kitchen to get the same fabulous results! Are you ready?

felling kitchen from the list
This kitchen looked like most of the homes built in the early 1990’s…Golden Oak cabinets with a Golden Oak floor, 4″x 4″ glossy white ceramic tile, and Formica countertops.

I quickly came up with a plan to take this space from outdated to outstanding in less than 4 weeks and this is how I did it:

The first thing I always do when scheduling a kitchen remodel is to assess the cabinets. These cabinets were in great shape so there was no need to replace them; they just needed to be refinished (Color to be determined last)

Next is choosing a countertop. I always say pick this out first because there are fewer choices of countertop options than anything else.

Next is picking out your new backsplash tile that will go with your new countertop surface.

I prefer that either the countertop or the backsplash be the star of the show, with the other material playing a supporting role. So if you pick an exotic granite with a lot of pattern, I would choose a subtle backsplash so that they aren’t competing with each other.

The most popular choice by far for kitchen backsplashes is porcelain or ceramic tile.  The last several years have seen a large increase in the variety of styles, colors, shapes, and designs that are offered by tile suppliers and they are readily available either online or at your local home center store.  Secondly, tile is very easy to clean and maintain with many off the shelf cleaning solutions thereby supporting tiles status as the most popular choice for kitchen backsplashes.

Aside from ceramic tile, there are other materials that also would make a nice choice for any kitchen backsplash design.

Glass Tile:

This material in either mosaic sizes or field tile sizes is always a good choice for the kitchen backsplash area of the home.  Glass tile is easy to clean and maintain and is a great way to add a bit of color to any kitchen.  The colors available with glass tile make a nice match with many of the popular countertop choices out there, especially with granite counters or any nice porcelain tile.

Natural Stone Tile

Travertine and tumbled stone in various sizes are gaining in popularity as backsplash material especially in the west and southwestern parts of the U.S..  The only downside in using natural stone as a kitchen backsplash is that this material is porous and must be sealed every 12 – 18 months to prevent any permanent staining.

Metal Tile

Metal tile can be installed as an entire backsplash in a modern or contemporary kitchen.  Or, metal decorative tiles look great as accent pieces in a ceramic tile or natural stone backsplash installation.

Next decision:  Are you replacing your appliances or keeping the ones you have?

Next decision:  Are you going to refinish your floors?

Last but not least,  choose your kitchen cabinet finish and/or color.  All of the decisions above dictate the color you choose for your kitchen cabinets.

Stained Cabinets

Your existing cabinets can be sanded and refinished in the same color or re-stained in a darker color. At this point, an aging glaze can be added to the creases and crevices to accentuate the detail.

Painted Cabinets

This is a great option if you want to lighten your cabinets or break up some of the wood in your kitchen. Once again, a glaze can be added to bring out the detail in the cabinetry.

Most common questions when doing a kitchen makeover:

1)  Should I choose a different finish for my island?

A)  I think this is a matter of preference but this is my rule of thumb…If you choose the same countertop color and pattern for your outer cabinets and island, then choose a different finish your island.  On the other hand, if you choose two different countertop surfaces, then keep the cabinetry the same.

2)  If I paint my oak cabinets, will you see the wood grain?

A)  This answer depends on several factors:

1)  How the cabinets are prepped

2)  The depth of the wood grain

3)  How the cabinets are painted

Make sure you get references and see examples of the finishes the painter is experienced in. Also, have the painter do a sample on the back of one of your doors prior to starting the entire kitchen.

3)  How long will the finish last?

A)  Once again this depends on several factors:

1)  How the cabinets are prepped. The prep work is the most important part!

2)  The products used

3)  The method of application

4) What type of finish coat is applied

Buyer Beware:  Get references.  I have been refinishing cabinetry {shameless plug for Rekindled Spaces! and YES you can hire me to remodel your home!} and furniture for over a decade and I have seen some really bad jobs.  You get what you pay for with this…don’t bargain shop this portion of the project.

Other accessories to consider in your kitchen makeover:


Cabinet Hardware

Kitchen Sink

Faucet Type

I hope this helps you when planning your kitchen makeover. Whether you are tackling these projects yourself or hiring it out, get a plan before you start.




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