Inexpensive Kitchen Remodel -- Need Suggestions

rivkadrJune 6, 2013

I've included a picture of our kitchen; this is from when we originally bought the house 7 years ago. Not much has changed, other than our painting the kitchen a light blue, and replacing the appliances with stainless steel.

As you can see, the cabinets are orange oak, the countertop is white Corian, and the backsplash is white subway tile. The floor is currently cheap vinyl tile that badly needs to be replaced.

What I don't like about the kitchen: just about everything, but we can't afford to do a massive remodel at this time :) I hate oak, and I hate how white everything looks between the countertops and the backsplash. What I'd like to do is an expensive remodel right now that will make it so that I can bear to live with this kitchen for another 5 or so years, and then we'll probably do a full remodel somewhere down the road.

My husband has vetoed the idea of painting the cabinets, so that is not an option.

What I'm thinking of doing:

- replacing the backsplash with something a little more exciting (and colorful)
- putting in a new floor that will hopefully tie in nicely with the backsplash; probably vinyl tile again.
- new paint
- hardware on the cabinets

We're capable of doing this all ourselves, as we've remodeled the rest of the house. The one thing I always second-guess myself on, though, is things like color and design. I'd really love to hear some ideas on the following things:

- what backsplash would look good with oak cabinets and white countertops? Hopefully something *other* than white subway tile?
- what color would you paint the walls to hopefully try to make the orangey-ness of the cabinets not quite so orange?
- what kind of hardware would you add to the cabinets? Knobs or pulls? The rest of our house is brushed nickel, but I'm debating how good that would look with the orange oak.

The rest of our house is Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, slate tiles, and earth tones in most places. I'm not expecting to get the kitchen to the same attractiveness level as the rest of our house, especially with a limited budget...I'd just like to move out of the 1980's a bit...

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think that the updating of this oak kitchen below is pretty impressive. Do you have a soffit all the way around? If yes, then the added moulding won't work, but still it gives you a idea of what's possible. Link below.

For starters, I would:
Remove that wood bridge over the sink.
Remove the lace valance.
Remove the pictures on the soffit.
Add new light fixtures
Add cabinet hardware; probably pulls; maybe black
Paint the walls a light color, maybe a light sage/green or gray

I actually like the backsplash.
I'd add some color with the floor or with a window treatment and accessories.
And I'd paint the chairs.

What floor is in the adjoining rooms?
You could also look into gel staining the cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: updating oak

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 6:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

If he doesn't want to paint the cabinets white, then maybe pick another color to paint them. Green. Red. Navy blue. Do something bold and funky. You're not going to live with it that long, so you can afford to do something that's not a boring neutral. Once you bring some color to the cabinets, the white counter and backsplash will be the perfect touch to keep things from going into clownsville. For the floor, if you choose the snap together wood look vinyl tiles, and order extra, you can remove them and reuse them down the road when you do your gut remodel. However, the wood cabinets on wood floor only really works if you've got some contrast, and that means either dark or light unless you paint those cabinets. That cabinet tone would be OK as a floor. Medium floors hide dirt.

BTW, it's better to go ahead and tackle the paint project yourself. Men have a wierd relationship with even ugly wood and hate to see it painted. But, the generally come around after the project is done. You don't need his permission, just a bit of forgiveness after you've completed the project. Maybe start by checking out Habitat for Humanity's ReStore for some extra cabinets to make an island out of and get rid of your table right there. Paint those a bold accent color, or even just black or white.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You might consider checking into buying a showroom cabinet display. We were not going to remodel our kitchen for a few years. I had read an article about how someone had purchased a showroom cabinet display for around one-third of the regular cost. A few days later I was at HD where they had KM display I've always loved, so I asked the KD if they ever sell them and they had just sold it the week before, I rushed home and after three hours of calling all HD's within four hours found one that was not sold. After numerous trips to HD to check measurements and figuring out how to make it work we bought it, at one-third the cost. Now two years later we still love it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know what they did to the cabs in nosoccermom's pics, but the cabs went from glossy to matte, and it makes a world of difference in how that kitchen looks.

I'm linking to a "Design Around This" thread where we tackled golden oak. If you weren't around for the DAT threads (we haven't done one in a long time), we would pick a theme and folks would do a design board around that theme. This particular thread was "Keeping the Golden Oak"--could we make it look good? I'm not sure how well we succeeded, but there are lots of ideas there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Design Around This #9: Keeping the Golden Oak

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello, Rivkadr. In spite of the cabinet material, it's really a pretty decent kitchen. You know, so many people did like golden oak when it was in style, many loved it and did the happy dance when it went in. Same material today as then.

Speaking as someone who never wanted it, ever, not in furniture or cabinets, if it were mine I'd try to find a look I do like that it could be a part of. I'd ignore eras and trying to "update" and just focus on what I like. Musing, if it were mine:

Even though I'm more a "cool" color person, what I do like about it best is its golden warmth (the "orange"), so I'd build on that. (Not heading for a typical "brown" kitchen, though; I've never wanted that either.)

I know what I personally would not do is paint the walls white or some light color that showcased to the ultimate what I don't like: "golden oak cabinets bolted to walls." So, since I can't have everything, I'd make a mostly medium-tone kitchen that was especially beautiful when glowing under artificial lights.

I like harmony in the kitchen, mostly monochromatic schemes, so I'd do the walls in something in the warm brown to medium honey range, including, for now, a painted drywall backsplash--and let the cabinets sink quietly back into that. I'd cover the counter with sheet Formica in my honey-cream/honey/cognac/golden brown/somewhat deeper brown range. Same for the floor; maybe invest more here if I could in nice, cushy cork or good-quality sheet Marmoleum.

Big blocks of white in appliances would absolutely ruin the look, stainless would be more retiring but yuck in this setting, and I emphatically don't like how big blocks of black would change my picture. I could keep the limited black in the stove and MW, but I think I'd really just have to paint everything else I could on the appliances maybe a fairly dark, retiring brown, not so dark it drew attention to them, though, just the opposite.

Then I'd bring in a few accents of a deep but vibrant blue, because various hues of blues and oranges together, everything from very muted to very bright, are a favorite of mine, and little sparks of white to perk it up. Maybe some brass.

Hmm! For the first time ever I imagined a golden oak kitchen I could really like. It's not my ideal, but I like it.

Is there a picture you could like, or do you hate gold-brown and orange-brown wherever you see them?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I read "white countertops and white subway backsplash" my first thought was stain the grout grey and paint the walls a light grey.
We have 4"x4" white square tiles in the guest shower with grey grout and it looks so good that even 7 years later I still love it.
"Stylizing" the kitchen will go a long way to updating it with little money: new lights, decor, hardware, change the window dressing and definitely get rid of the wooden valance over the window.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have you considered restaining the cabinets in a deep brown stain? I was at a number of show homes last fall and one in particular was stunning. The decorator was there and we talked quite a bit about his choices. He said oak had gotten a bad rap because of the golden color but it is a gorgeous wood that is very hard. He had done the floors and trim in a dark brown oak and it almost made me change my mind about oak. It was also a nice neutral so didn't limit the selections.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 7:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Try looking for a color that will make the golden and white part of a tri-color scheme that is pleasing to you, then use that color on the walls, soffit and window treatment. You might not want to change the tile after all with the right colors.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

General Finishes Gel Stain ... change the cabinets to a mellow brown oak. It's fairly easy. Use Antique Walnut, and add a bit of the Java to make it even browner.

Replace the floor with something tidy.

Sit back and enjoy the new look.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That's the first time I'd seen a "design around this ..." thread (cawaps posted the link) ... that was fun!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rivkadr, I would stain the cabinets a dark cherry color and add stainless steel hardware as well as change out the counters. I would also change out the floors. If the backsplash still bothers you, then I would change that also. Please post pictures along the way so we can try to help you.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My first thouught was sand the cabinets to natural oak. Then either slate or cherry floors. With slate, the grey grout and paint would look good.

If the cabinets cannot be stripped to natural state, then I'd stain them darker.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:21AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Question for those who have Painted Conestoga Cabinets?
Curious if you went with mdf or paint grade center...
top cutlery tray on Kitchen Aid Dishwasher
Is the extra (3rd) cutlery tray on the higher model...
what metal finish with a Chambers stove?
I'm planning a kitchen remodel. I already have my white...
thoughts about Grabill and/ or Superior Woodcraft kitchen cabinets
Hi, everyone. Does anyone here have experience with...
Large cove moulding?
I am looking for large cove moulding. I can't find...
Sponsored Products
Charcoal Linen Square-Back Paige Dining Chairs, Set of 2
Cost Plus World Market
Safavieh Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Safavieh Rugs Veranda Chocolate/Terracotta 8
Home Depot
Fathom Dining Chairs Set of 6 in Tan
$1,404.00 | LexMod
Teak Serving Cart
42" Heartridge 60/40 Offset Double-Bowl Copper Farmhouse Sink
Signature Hardware
Southern Trail Blend 1/2x1/2 Marble & Glass Tile Squares
$15.99 | TileBar
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™