See our step by step kitchen renovation, complete with before + afters, kitchen renovation costs, and how we transformed our kitchen for less than $16,000.
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Last year we bought our first home which was in desperate need of some updates. Originally built in 1980 the kitchen had been semi-updated, but needed a complete overhaul.
Since I spend most of my time in the kitchen (it’s basically my office) I wanted to make sure it was not only beautiful, but functional. We DIYed most of our kitchen remodel, and in this post – I’m sharing all the details!
Before we go any further, I want to clarify that Tyler and I have little to no skills in terms of renovating a house. We’re very lucky to have such great families, who not only taught us how to do things, but helped us along the way. This kitchen renovation was a HUGE under taking, and knowing what I know now.. I don’t know that I’d do it again, but it’s done and it’s beautiful 🙂
Kitchen Remodel Before + After Photos
Ok.. here is the before!
Annnnd.. here’s the before/after side by side!
How we renovated our kitchen:
We did a lot to our kitchen. Here’s a list of everything we did:
- Removed wall between kitchen/dining room + put up beam for an open concept.
- Ripped out tile in foyer/hall/kitchen and replace with hardwood
- Installed new island in different direction to open up the room
- Painted cabinets
- New hardware on cabinets
- New refrigerator
- Tile backsplash
- New lights
- New sheetrock/ceiling
- Painted walls + ceilings
- New windows
- Electrical work
How much does a kitchen renovation cost?
On average, kitchen renovations can cost anywhere from $20,000-$35,000. We were able to completely transform our kitchen in under $16,000. Here are the costs of everything:
- Remove wall/beam: $1,500
- Rip out tile in foyer/hall/kitchen and replace with hardwood – $700
- New island in different direction to open up the room – $5,000
- Painted Cabinets – $2,000
- New hardware on cabinets – $90
- New refrigerator – $1,500
- Tile backsplash – $900
- New Lights – Our friends at LightsOnline gifted us our gorgeous lights, we will get into that later – but had we bought them, their prices are so affordable!
- New Sheetrock/ceiling – $1,000
- Painted walls + ceilings – $100
- New window – $200
- Electrical Work – $2,500 (just one of the many things my Dad helped us with. He’s an electrician, and didn’t charge us, but this is a rough estimate of what it cost for parts + labor of what he did in the kitchen had he did. For accuracy, I’ve included it below in the total cost)
Total Cost: $15,490 (this doesn’t count the blood, sweat, and REAL tears that went into this, and the countless hours we + our families spent on this.)
If we were to have had to buy all new appliances or granite for our existing countertops, our costs easily would’ve gone up by about $7,000-$10,000. We kept them, so we saved a lot there!
You guys asked for details, so I’m sharing details on each thing!
Removing the beam:
When we first bought the house, the kitchen and dining room were separate. It made both of the rooms small, and awkward because there was a very tiny hallway on the side. We knew right from the start that the wall had to come down.
While we physically demo-ed the walls, we needed a professional to put up a beam. They were load bearing walls, and needed a beam to support the structure of the house. It wasn’t something we had the skills to do. We worked with an amazing contractor who did an awesome job.
Here’s the before/after of opening up the wall.
Ripping out tile + replace with hardwood
We rented an air chisel for the day at Home Depot to help break up the tile in our hallway/kitchen. It was physically challenging and tough work, but required basically no skills (anyone could do it!).
We had an outside company lay hardwood + finish our floors. We wanted our floors to be beautiful and match the rest of the house. We left it to the professionals.
New kitchen island
The previous island in our kitchen wasn’t really an island. We think they pieced together leftover cabinets. It was awkwardly place, and made the kitchen smaller (in addition to being ugly!)
We didn’t like the island to begin with, but when we decided to take down the walls it had to go. We decided to place the island parallel to the cabinets, and went with white to match our cabinets and black galaxy stone. The stone is different from the granite in the rest of the kitchen, but because it is black it matches just fine.
We designed our island to have shelves on the left side, a wine fridge in the middle, and trash on the right. The wine fridge was totally unnecessary, but Tyler wanted it, so we got it! (It’s really the only thing he asked for in the kitchen!)
Painted Cabinets + New Hardware
We painted our entire house ourselves, but I wanted a professional to paint our cabinets. You definitely can paint your own cabinets (this is a great tutorial), but with the amount of use our kitchen gets.. I didn’t want any hiccups.
I wanted to make sure that the paint would not only look nice and have a beautiful finish, but that it would be painted properly and the paint would stay on.
I mention this later on in the post, but painting our cabinets completely transformed the kitchen. They look fantastic.
Before we painted the cabinets we removed all the hardware. I bought new matte black handles from Wayfair. They were super affordable and we love them!
When we bought the house the fridge was old and outdated and didn’t match any of the appliances.
All of our appliances are GE, so we bought a GE refrigerator. My dad got an awesome deal on the fridge through a discount program where he works, and we bought it on a Memorial Day sale so it was almost 50% off.
The fridge is great and works fine, but because of our cabinet depth we needed to get a counter depth fridge. It is very tiny on the inside, so unless you absolutely have to do this.. I wouldn’t recommend it. We have to use the fridge in our garage because there isn’t enough room in the one in the kitchen. (We also probably have more food in our fridge than the average household!)
I’m a sloppy cook and knew we needed to have a tile backsplash in the kitchen, or else the walls would be stained. We just went with super basic white subway tile that you can get anywhere. 3×6 is standard size.
I didn’t want to learn how to tile, and wasn’t going to practice learning how to tile on the focal point of our kitchen… so we hired someone who did a beautiful job!
The lights are one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. We partnered with LightsOnline to pick out our kitchen lights and they were so great to work with. Shopping for lights (and really anything home decor related) can be very difficult because it’s hard to imagine it coming to life in your home.
I worked with one of their free design consultants who reviewed photos of my kitchen and some photos of lights I liked on Pinterest. She was able to suggest lights that were my style and got it right on the first try.
We went with their Savoy House Octave Line in Matte Black. Our kitchen has two pendant lights over the island, a chandelier over our dining room table, and a matching semi-flush mount lighting fixture in the foyer.
The black finish matches the black on our cabinet handles and helps the black of our island granite stand out.
Aren’t they beautiful over the island?!
We had to demo pretty much all of the sheetrock in the kitchen walls and ceilings to fix poor electrical work that had been done.
We were able to do some sheet-rocking on our own, but sheet-rocking/repairing ceilings isn’t easy, so we hired professionals. They had it done in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken us to do it.
Painted walls + ceilings
Our kitchen walls/ceilings totally needed a fresh coat of paint. We used all Sherwin Williams products throughout our house. Our kitchen is Reserved White, which almost has a greenish hue to it. We used it throughout all our hallways as well.
We also used A TON of Kilz primer. I think it’s why our paint adhered so nicely.. it makes all the difference.
We got new windows throughout our entire house, but the kitchen window really needed to go. It had a big sill that stuck out into the back yard, and it was cracked. The window we have now is much simpler and more modern.
My favorite parts of our kitchen/any must haves:
I honestly love everything about the kitchen, and feel like if we had skipped on any of these steps.. it wouldn’t come together the way that it does now. However – I think that removing the wall/painting the cabinets is what made the biggest change in the room.
The wall blocked natural light coming in from the front of the house, and closed off the kitchen. Having an oddly placed island further closed off the kitchen making it difficult to navigate, and then having dark cabinets made it a dark cramped space.
Taking down the wall + painting the cabinets instantly made the kitchen look huge and bright!
Anything we would do differently?
Honestly, there is nothing I would do differently in terms of renovation – but there are still a few things that I would like to do. I want to get rid of our cooktop/our microwave-oven set. Our cooktop is an electromagnetic range – and it is truly the worst stove I’ve ever used. Pans don’t ‘stick’ to it, it’s super finicky, and it’s incredibly difficult to control the heat. I would not recommend it to anyone.
I’d prefer to have a gas stove, but we don’t have a gas line on our street so until we do or this one breaks – we’re stuck with it.
The oven/microwave combo works fine, but we just don’t use our microwave. (It’s been broken for months and we haven’t bothered to fix it) The microwave wastes valuable space that could be used for a double oven. Unfortunately they’re connected, so if we were to get rid of one, we have to get rid of both. Since there isn’t anything wrong with the oven (and we can fix the microwave – my dad is an electrician) we’ll keep it.
If I’m being totally honest… I think the next house we buy (if we ever move!) will have to be move in ready. I absolutely love our home, but it was incredible stressful and far more expensive to renovate than I ever expected. If you are renovating your home, or plan to.. I would urge you to really research the cost of things. Everything adds up so quickly.
The other thing I would say is to get ready to work, and for nothing to go as planned. We renovated our entire home so it was far more than just the kitchen that had work done to it. I wouldn’t hold on to deadlines, because you’re at the mercy of contractors, and things always popup that are unplanned/an additional expense!