How would you "pretty up" this kitchen?

sas95June 16, 2014

My sister just bought a row house. The house was built in 1880, and it seems as if the previous owners put in a new floor and a couple of new appliances before selling.

My sister wants to make the kitchen look prettier, but she is on a strict budget and won't be replacing the cabinets or floor (even though she's not crazy about the floor choice). She will be getting a new range in black to match the other appliances, and wants to refinish the cabinets and replace the countertop, which is damaged in a few places.

She has asked for my help in making decisions. If I were in her shoes, I would probably be saving my pennies for a more complete redo, but with two kids in college she has different priorities. I don't think a reno is anything that she will ever want to do. What would you suggest to help her pretty up her kitchen? Paint or stain the cabinets? Countertops? They are proficient DIYers. I am sort of hung up on what would go best with the existing floor.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think changing the color of the kitchen walls will go a long way in minimizing the orange tone in the cabinets so I would start there. A paint with a cooler tone would work nicely. I would also paint the ceiling white, and add new hardware on the cabinets or remove the knobs totally.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would brighten up the color scheme that has been started, paint the ceiling white and the walls white or grey and then add some black and white decorative tile to the backsplash........and maybe change out the knobs. The finish of the cabinets seems to coordinate with the house trim, so I'd leave that and just concentrate on adding more texture and charm.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the cabinets. I would paint for sure and add a backsplash. I think some basic decorating will go a long way here.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Impeccably clean kitchens, no matter what decor, are always the best. Not saying hers is not, as I cannot see....but.. Then change the stove out, paint the walls, throw some rugs on the floor of a jute or sisal, a great canister set on the countertop and pretty flowers on the table.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 11:57

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the cabinets, too, and would never paint them, but think the black was an unfortunate choice for appliances. Not sure I'd get a black stove but buy something that will look less stark and cover the dishwasher door with wood and wait for that refer to die. I love Beverly's backsplash idea - if your sis loves the black appliances it really adds a great touch with them. If not loving the black appliances, maybe a more colorful or neutral backsplash until the black goes away. I, too, would paint the walls and get some large rugs to cover part of the floor.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 12:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You are kind of locked into gray with the flooring and black with the appliances. I like the cabinets and would leave them. What is the budget for the counter....are you looking at Formica or granite? Again, something in the gray family will go best and a backsplash with gray in it. Light gray walls. This is actually a neutral pallette...then she can add pops of color in the accessories--dish towels, canisters, or yellow would go. If she's really set on painting the cabs I would do white.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just don't think gray works with this kitchen. Go black, not gray. Throw some rugs on that floor and pretend then pretend the gray is not there.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That side of the kitchen looks pretty good. And you have gotten some good ideas - I think the backsplash idea would make a big difference.

The other side, with the radiator, garbage can, etc. - maybe that side that could be made more attractive. Is there a window to put some attractive curtains on?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You said they are really handy so I suggest they tear out the soffit and add crown molding to the top of the cabs. I have done it twice now and I am always really pleasantly suprised out it opens up the room. If she really enjoys cooking big meals then a small island on wheels with drawers would help the layout. I only see two drawers currently.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is that floor gray or beige? Kind of hard to tell from the photos. There are many people on this site much better at coordinating colors and such, but....I have to agree with patricia43, I don't really like the gray with those cabinets. If they are replacing the counters, I would not choose gray. That gray appears to make the cabinets look quite orange. I do love gray in a kitchen, but with white cabinets. For a tight budget I would keep the black appliances for now (I think they look better than the white), choose a laminate counter in a darker shade, either mostly black or with strong black accents and a backsplash that picks up some of the color in the counters. That black and white backsplash would look lovely with a black countertop to me, although those tiles look like they might be pricey and the post said it has to be budget friendly. Are the cabinets cherry? If she really wanted to do the work, they could be stripped and restained in a nice cherry shade, the kitchen looks like it gets a lot of light from the skylight so she could go darker on the cabinet color. The tonal variations of the wood are beautiful, its the orange color that makes it difficult. Stripping and refinishing is a ton of work though (we did it to our first kitchen, lots of work but turned out really nice)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really like the cabinets. They look unique and the wood looks beautiful (at least in the pictures). It looks like they coordinate well with the lovely wood trim in the house. While I'm not in love with the tile, I think it looks pretty nice. The countertops also coordinate nicely with the tile and look good with the cabinets. I think all black appliances will look nice, or maybe stainless if they all need replacing. I agree that the primary issue seems to be the paint. I think a cooler color (white or pale blue maybe) or a bold color (red, dark blue even?) would be nice. An added backsplash might also give a more finished look. Honestly I think it's quite a pretty kitchen.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 5:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

a)Try to replace the white stove with a black stove -- and a black microhood.

b)Paint everything -- ceiling, soffit and cabinets in white. Don't worry about a backsplash. Or look for a simple fresh white subway tile .... keep things every fresh and simple.

c)Add updated silver hardware on the cabinets.

d)Build a radiator cover with a white tile top.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Once upon a time I did not have a "real" backsplash, just sheetrock and wallpaper. I wanted something besides chicken and rooster paper. I wanted a "clean" kitchen. I painted over all the wallpaper and yes, it can be done and can look as though there is no wallpaper there. That is beside the point. I found an anaglypta wallpaper and placed it just as I would have a backsplash. I painted it the color nearest what I wanted. I put a glaze in an oak stain color over the green paint on the anaglypta. I dry brushed it with copper and then antique-glazed it once more and when it dried, I burnished it with a fine grade steel wool. I had that for years and anyone who did not know better thought it was tiles.

This is how it looked. See the last one with the green look.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

but it is the dark coppery green one. This could be done instead of using tile if you are financially strapped.

Try this one. It's in here.

This post was edited by patricia43 on Mon, Jun 16, 14 at 19:09

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Must be quite a pleasant space to work in with that skylight! What stands out most to me as something I'd want to change is the floor. I have seen successful vinyl floor DIY paint jobs - it is possible if you use the right products. Then on top I would put one of those indoor/outdoor rugs that you can just hose off - a sisal or persian-type one, depending on the look desired. Looks like new cabinet knobs might help. Not sure I'd push forward with buying more black appliances - the black fridge feels overwhelming and if I was making the decision, I'd probably paint that too.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New counter tops in a lighter color would really brighten the kitchen up. There are some really nice laminate or solid surface options for folks on a budget and the color choices are amazing today.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the cabinets. The counters are okay, but I like gray with wood that color. I'm not loving black appliances at all, and think a stainless (maybe with black trim) stove would look much better than another chunk of black.

The floor. It wouldn't be so bad if it didn't have a huge bulls-eye right in the middle. It forces you to notice it. I would seriously consider doing something with the floor.

I think there's too much yellow in the wall color for those cabinets. Maybe something with a touch of sage?

Getting rid of the soffits would be awesome, but the electrical/lighting would need to be addressed.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the cabinets and love the black appliances. Black appliances are either love or hate'm thing.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

I think you can benefit from a design seed. Go with the grayish taupe for the walls, then find art that pulls the colors together. You've got the golden tones in the cabinets and the black in the appliance already.

Go more neutral...

Or better yet, add interesting colors to the palette.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 9:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much for all the input. Such good suggestions. I have not seen the place yet-- she is several hours away-- and the pictures are from the listing so it is hard to tell what really is. I'm going down in a few weeks and so I'm already thinking about what to suggest. I'm going to send her the link to this thread, as I know she will appreciate the advice.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Black appliances show every fingerprint and bit of dirt so I'd go with a stainless range. Pick a new paint color, add a backsplash. The backsplash wouldn't have to be black/white. For example, if the walls were a watery green/blue you could use a similarly colored glass or ceramic tile. Colors like Restoration Hardware's Silver Sage and other greyed blue/greens are lovely with wood tones.

Beautiful cupboards! The skylight is very nice, too. Switch the knobs, see if four more pieces of the plain flooring are available to replace the medallion.

When replacing the countertops I'd move away from grey.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lazydaisynot said exactly what I was thinking. Personally I'd replace the black appliances- black shows every little smudge and fingerprint and makes the room seem smaller.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the color below would work very well or one like that, this is just a visual of what it would look like.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have had every color appliance almost you could think of from white to stainless, and in between, almond, black, red. harvest gold, avocado green, coppertone and stainless steel shows the finger prints and everything imaginable. None of the others does. That black or white shows more fingerprints or wipes than anything has not been the case for me.. Stainless steel is the worst offender.

I like the color yayagal has shown with this kitchen. It's fresh, it's color without being too bold and it brightens up the kitchen with natural vegetarian color..The white backsplash is a great, fresh idea.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The kitchen space is nice but right now it is a mishmash - transitional floor, cottage cabinets, different color appliances, clashing undertones everywhere.

Which decorating style does your sister like? What does the rest of the house look like? Does she like the cabinet grain?

Since the floor is a given, I would use that as a base for my changes. On my monitor the floor and the cabinets clash. If your sister really likes the cabinet grain, new wall color or lighting may help things look more cohesive. Personally, I think painting the cabinets would make a huge difference but I know some people really like wood grain.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The black is very heavy. They do show everything in my experience. Since she wants to paint the cabinets, I would start there to figure the rest out.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Annie Deighnaugh

I have black ovens right now and have not had trouble with fingerprints....I have heard a lot of people complain about stainless though.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The black refrigerator and dishwasher are new so she would not be looking to replace them. I think a stainless/black range would be an interesting idea rather than going all black. I am interested in getting down there to see what the cabinets look like in person. I do agree that a new, fresh wall color will make a big impact right away.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 8:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love beverly27's tile suggestion, but it look's very expensive. I might try finding vinyl wallpaper in a similar pattern for the backsplash and change the countertops to Formica Basalt Matte laminate. Paint the walls and ceiling white and add a small butcher block island with black or white legs, change the stove out to a black and stainless model, stainless exhaust fan and add stainless cabinet hardware and a few other stainless décor items.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it were me, I would just start by painting the walls a color such as SW accessable beige. Its a great greige warm color. I personally like the white range. I guess that is just my preference, white appliances over black.

I would then add a nice, fun rug. Then, I would stand back and see what, if anything else might need or not need to be done. Its a nice space and the cabs look in wonderful condition.

Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New wall paint, rug on the floor, new accessories. And maybe look into backpainted glass for backsplash. If you google it, you'll see that it can be done DIY relatiely inexpensively.
Love the cabinets!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 11:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Palest green paint, light countertops, black stove . I've got a black oven and dishwasher, and they don't show fingerprints.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Think white on the ceiling above the soffet.
That skylight is wonderful!
The cabinets are beautiful! They don't make them like they used to, Mabey update the hardware, but nice hardware is pricey.
I would change out the counters for a nice light blue counter top. She is on a strick budget, but they have nice laminates now that appear like stone and marble. They are amazing.
That alone will brighten the kitchen so much.
Won't cost arm and a leg either.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If a tight budget is the reality, probably best to leave the black appliances. I like them better with those cabinets than the bright white. Yes to new laminate counters, but I wouldn't do blue counters, I'd stick with something neutral, like black, something dark that will allow the black appliances to blend in. Paint the walls, perhaps a light beige or pearl gray. New knobs or pulls, yes, these can be pricey if you go high end, but you can find decent looking ones at HD and Lowes that won't break the bank. Add some accessories with pops of color such as Anniedeighnaugh's color palettes. (such great colors!) Wait on the backsplash until everything else is done, post photos and let the GW experts help with the backsplash too.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had great luck with the rustoleum counter top product. It was cheap, easy and we had no issues with it during the 3+years we had it in our kitchen.

As for knobs, again some of the rustoleum paint is really amazing. I have used it for knobs and for some brass ceiling fans and lots of light fixtures.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 4:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Biggest issue currently, to me, is the wall/ceiling color clashes with BOTH the floor and the cabinet color, and badly.

Assuming that the wall and ceiling paint will be done anyway, I would recommend first determining if they want to change the cabinet color or not. If they paint the cabinets, then there are a wide range of wall colors that will work. If they prefer to keep the cabinets, then a tighter range of wall colors will do the best to work with floor color, counter color, and cabinet color.

Suggest trying to get actual paint swatches that match up to the flooring color, counter top color, wood of the cabinets, and then the black of the appliances. Use these to see the undertones and get that fixed.

And what a great layout!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Overall it's a nice space. I think the grey countertops don't work with anything but the floor, and if she can change anything, change out the counters. The grey doesn't look good with the cabinets or the black appliances imo, but the cabinets and appliances look nice together. I'd start with a new countertop, then if budget allows, a backsplash if so desired and some fresh paint, and that kitchen will look great!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 5:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry I havenâÂÂt read all the replies but I would live with the countertop for a while, sell the black appliances and put that money towards new stainless steel appliances. I would paint the kitchen a light warm gray, add an indoor/outdoor sisal look rug, some colorful art on the walls and call it a day. Down the road I would think about the countertop once I had the money to get something I really wanted.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 6:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What did your sister end up doing?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2014 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

how's it going on the kitchen?

I'd go with SS on the stove even tho I normally don't care for it. seems the 'bridge' in this case.

and surely there is a decent formica that isn't black! we read on here often how blk counters (and stoves) show every tiny bit of dust that lands. It also sounds gloomy.

painting the walls and ceiling should make a miraculous change. a sage grn often tones down the orange in cabinets.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 12:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have not read everything...but what about black lower cabinets and white uppers? Use a wall color she likes (blue, green, pink, etc.) and find a lighter countertop. Maybe a faux marble or butcher block?

The floor is easy....area rug! LOL On the uppers, with the white paint, maybe take a few doors off or use glass uppers for accent. For the backsplash...use the same wall color as the rest or maybe some cute tiles or maybe those vinyl stick-ons from Target. Leaves, flowers, etc.

Have FUN with this! It's just a quick and inexpensive fix, so don't worry too much about choices. As long as she likes it, she'll enjoy walking in every morning :)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 9:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not waste any money on prettification until the homeowner is ready to change out the appliances. All the changes suggested will not remediate the black holes (and white hole) in the kitchen. That said, I think black and white are a terrible foil for the orange tone of the cabinets. The design seed Annie posted shows a nice palette of colors for that orange tone, but the owner must ask herself if she likes the cabinets well enough to let them drive the color scheme and decor not only in the kitchen, but the surrounding areas--- so the kitchen looks intentional. If not, she should paint the cabinets and do whatever she likes. Regardless of what color she chooses for appliances, I do thing they should all be the same,

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 8:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kswl is right about the cabinet color driving the color scheme and about making it look intentional if one keeps that color. I have cabinets very close to that shade but mine is in an open plan which is tough to deal with. I chose SW Amazing gray for the walls and the ceiling is a tint of the floor color. In my set-up I took out two wall cabinets and replaced with same wood open shelving (that made a great difference). Plus, I love to take the off white colored everyday dishes out of the dishwasher and stack them there because itâÂÂs easy. It breaks up the vibrancy. With stainless appliances, different wall & ceiling color and some open shelves and a little faux sisal rug it looks real nice (not my style but everyone else seems to like it). It will never look good with black appliances. My extra wall cabinets now have a home in the utility room.

Edited: I forgot to add that I also had the wood doors to other areas. I painted those the same color as the walls except I used a different sheen. That really helped neutralize the area further. I am only leaving a few doors throughout the house in the stain.

This post was edited by jterrilynn on Thu, Sep 25, 14 at 9:37

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 9:13AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Is this a great statement or a great ugly mess?
Hello to all I could use your input here I have a mid...
Budget kitchen remodel
We relocated to a new state, and bought this home last...
Why do you decorate?
I'm sure this has come up a million times before ....
Bright solid or bold print to reupholster settees?
Anyway, I bought a pair of vintage settees for my 'formal'...
Wood filler when sanding isn't possible
My toilet paper holder is attached to my vanity. I...
Sponsored Products
Homelegance Mably 3 Piece Counter Height Table Set in Warm Brown Cherry
Beyond Stores
Atomic Island Cabinet
$899.99 | Dot & Bo
Trim Molding
CliqStudios Cabinets
Biker Couple Salt & Pepper Shakers
$9.99 | zulily
Toscano Dining Table - Black Wood Black
Joybird Furniture
Trademark Global 14 in. Charlotte Bobcats NBA Chrome Double Ring Neon Wall Clock
$79.99 | Home Depot
Rachael Ray Paisley Mugs - Set of 4 Multicolor - 58219
$19.99 | Hayneedle
Philips Range Hoods and Accessories Edge 2-Light Satin Nickel Bath Wall Fixture
Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™