Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kitchen Upgrade {31 Days of Moodboards}

You know that kitchen in your new place that is a few years old, a little dated and boring but perfectly functional and there's no money for a renovation? This is the answer to the kitchen blahs!

I love the story in the last Cottage Living issue (2008) where someone gets tired of her boring kitchen and can't swing a full reno, so she does this:

You can read more of the story HERE. Seriously, if you just copied this kitchen, you'd be great! The main ingredients are these:
  • raise the upper cabinets up to the ceiling and add trim at the top and a shelf underneath
  • paint upper and lower cabinets (in this case, white and gray-green, although many other combinations would work just as well)
  • add cabinet hardware
  • update lighting
  • install new appliances
  • install new countertop and maybe a new sink
  • display pretty things on your new shelf
This kitchen upgrade could be done in stages as money and time allow, starting by raising the upper cabinets. If you just did that, painted, install the shelf and fix or change the backsplash, no one would recognize your old kitchen! A new counter, sink, lighting, hardware and accessories would be icing on the cake.

Let's find some less expensive alternatives, while we're being careful with the budget.

The inspiration picture includes a solid surface counter top. You could use a dark laminate for the same effect or go with butcher block. IKEA has great prices on butcher block, and while you're there you can pick up the new apron front sink! It's just over $300 for this double bowl style, and if that's too much, just upgrade your faucet. ($300 is a great deal on that style of sink, btw!) Our inspiration picture also has a tile backsplash, but if you're not afraid of power tools (i.e. a saw) beadboard would be cheaper.

Another difference in my moodboard is the oil rubbed bronze elements. I just like how it looks with the green cabinets and butcher block counters. You could go with oil rubbed bronze as your finish of choice and your standard white appliances would look just fine. If you did want to use stainless appliances, it's fine to mix metal finishes so you could keep the ORB or switch the light fixtures, knobs and faucet for stainless as well. Pretty pretty!

I threw in a pretty area rug just for fun. It would look nice in front of the sink, or get it in a runner style for a U-shaped or galley kitchen. It could also go in your eating area of an eat-in kitchen or it would look really cute under a kitchen island with wheels.

The last two things on my moodboard were because I originally was working on this for my Mom's kitchen. I'm not at all sure this is her style--it's definitely mine and we can be very similar, but her condo has a more modern feel than I ended up with here. Anyhow, Mom's kitchen sink doesn't have a view, so the window frame with clothespins would mimic that, and instead of looking outside, Mom could gaze at her favorite grandkids (all 4 of them!), an inspirational saying, or whatever else she'd like to hang there--like recipes! The chalkboard was just a fun way to paint her pantry door. I like how the black works with the other colors, and Mom's more of an artist than she'll admit. It would also be a great way for guests to leave their mark!

So there you have it! With a little work and a little paint, you could really change the look of your kitchen!

Please let me know if you have any ideas or specific rooms you'd like me to create a moodboard for. Hope you're enjoying this series!


  1. I really love the shelf under the raised cabinets idea. If I'd seen it before we built our house, I would've planned those in the new kitchen.

  2. I have been looking for the semi-mount and pedant white glass light on your mood-board everywhere - is there anyway to tell me where you found them? Thank you!!

  3. Hi Amy, this lamp is on sale at, so you're in luck! Here's a link to it:

    Thanks for reading!



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