Limited Budget Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Home Stager with Just Your Style Interiors, LLC

This kitchen presented a major challenge.  This 1980's renovation screams gut, replace and too expensive to a prospective buyer; however, the homeowner did not have the budget for a a new kitchen, nor would she recover the cost at time of sale.  Yet, something drastic was needed to turn this into an asset for the home.   


 Kitchen makeover before Kitchen makeover before 2  


The cabinet doors were flat and boring, many of the existing hinges were broken, and there was a lot of damage to the doors and frames.  And should I even mention the ugly valance hiding a fluorescent fixture over the sink with the oversized window?  The client knew she had to replace the dated countertop because it was warped and could not be repaired. 

The cabinets were not wood, so gel stain and/or Restore-A-Finish were not options.  The only thing left was paint, but how boring would flat, painted cabinets be?  Applying wood molding to the cabinet fronts would be too costly.  This kitchen also has 9’ 6” ceilings so the short upper cabinets look much too small for the room. 

My solution was simply to address the upper cabinets by stacking one plain and two decorative pieces of trim to the top and adding one small piece of moulding to the bottom.  That made them look taller and helped disguise the boring flat panel doors.  The valance over the sink was removed.  The homeowner did most of the work priming and then painting the frames and doors a creamy-white.  I found the pulls at a local liquidator, getting 30 pulls for less than $20.  Then I scoured the Internet until I found the matching hinges at a rock-bottom price. 

The total amount spent on the cabinets was just $475, a small price to pay for a kitchen that will pay big dividends.   


Kitchen After 3     Kitchen After 2

Kitchen After 4     Kitchen cabinet details

Other cost savings ideas in this kitchen: 

  1. New stock laminate countertops from a local big box store. ($125)
  2. New window valance on clearance at JCPenney’s.  ($20)
  3. New coordinating double panels for the patio door were purchased on Ebay and sewn together to create a single patio panel.
  4. The patio panel is hung on electrical conduit, cut to size and spray painted black.  That allowed me to bypass a center support bracket so I could stack the patio panels to one side.  (Conduit and paint--$16).
  5. Rod brackets left over from the owner’s Master Bedroom window treatment were spray painted to match the rod.  ($0)
  6. The backsplash and wall treatment is expanded vinyl wallpaper which looks like bead board. ($60)
  7. New ceiling light fixture was purchased on sale at the local big box store ($26). 

Great Staging does not have to be expensive!


Janet L. Jones


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Just Your Style Interiors, LLC provides home staging, redesign and interior decorating services on Maui to the Wailea, Kihei, Maalaea, Wailuku, and Kahului areas.













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Maria Tobin
Staged For Success - Huntersville, NC

Wow Janet - the transformation is amazing!  It's almost hard to believe it's the same kitchen.  A small investment for what is sure to be a big return.

Jan 17, 2011 06:03 AM #1
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Janet -- this is a really cost-effective transformation, and it looks good, too.  Thanks for sharing this great makeover with us and including all the costs!

Jan 17, 2011 09:16 AM #2
Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

i love it it looks so clean and crisp with the white cabinets.

Jan 17, 2011 02:29 PM #3
Annie Pinsker-Brown
Stage to Sell - LA Home Staging - Los Angeles, CA
Stage to Sell, Los Angeles Home Stager

Unbelievable transformation for so little money! Amazing work.

Jan 18, 2011 04:45 PM #4
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Wow....nice work. What an update. ROI will be at least 10 fold.

Jan 19, 2011 10:05 AM #5
Marianne Cherico
Interiors by Marianne Cherico - Foxboro, MA
Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island


I am so impressed-this is a great transformation that will surely help the Sellers! Kitchens are such an important selling feature. Great job!

Jan 19, 2011 05:02 PM #6
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Janet - Great job on transforming this kitchen and on a budget no less!

Jan 30, 2011 05:11 PM #7
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Aloha Janet. What a major change that was, for a relatively small budget.  Mahalo for the Dutch Boy link also.  Nice work!

Also, love the fact that you used conduit to make the slider window treatment work.  I often "get creative" with window hardware too. 

Jan 31, 2011 10:02 AM #8
Connie King
Sevierville, TN

You are so right,  staging does not have to be expensive but what a difference you have made here.   The kitchen before was a deal breaker,  no doubt.   You sure did it proud.

Feb 05, 2011 11:02 AM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This is my favorite type of home staging transformation.  Home staging does not have to be expensive and you have proven how much of a difference can be made using some creativity and elbow grease.  Fabulous job!

Feb 07, 2011 03:19 PM #10
Anna Dovger
Add Value Home Staging LLC, 281-704-6607 - The Woodlands, TX
Home Staging -The Woodlands, TX

Great transformation, Janet! Cabinets look so fresh. Love your ideas on conduit and wall paper. I also like the wall color in the dining room.

Feb 08, 2011 09:43 AM #11
Cynthia Bartch
Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio - Granville, OH
Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal

Janet, WOW!!! you and the client must have been thrilled with this outcome. This looks like a nice fresh kitchen now. You got 30 pulls for less than $ are one thrifty stager, my hats off to you!

Feb 16, 2011 01:56 AM #12
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

You did a great job on a budget and that boring kitchen now looks very chic!  That will really help it to sell.

Feb 24, 2011 07:27 AM #13
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Thanks Georgina.  I don't think great staging has to be expensive and I love the creative side of it. 

Feb 24, 2011 10:48 AM #14
Marcie Sandalow
Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate

What a transformation!  Looks like you helped them with their dining room paint, as well.  Nicely done.  If only they were all so "easy".

Mar 04, 2011 09:22 AM #15
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Janet Jones

Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
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