Make Your Kitchen Look Like New for Around $400 and Some Sweat

Recently I walked into Amy and Justin’s kitchen and my jaw dropped. It was like I’d stumbled into the wrong house. The gorgeous new cabinets and countertops made it look brand new.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when these friends told us they weren’t new cabinets and counters at all. They performed this kitchen makeover themselves—all for less than $400.


You may think that kitchen projects need to be left to the professionals, which of course is fine provided you’ve got thousands of dollars to work with. But if your budget is slightly under that—and you’re willing to contribute some sweat to the project—new products and methods now available can bring do-it-yourself options to any kitchen makeover.


Our friends refinished their existing cabinets (the doors and face frames) with Rust-Oleum Cabinet Coating Transformations Kit that covers 100 square feet, available online and at home improvement centers like Home Depot.

The thing that gave Amy and Justin the courage and confidence to tackle this project themselves was the Rust-Oleum promise of no stripping, no sanding, no priming, and no special skills required. While their cabinets are made of wood, this product will also transform melamine, metal, and laminate cabinetry.

Of the three colors offered (white, espresso, and gray), they chose espresso. There is no way anyone would look at these cabinets and say this looks like a DIY project done by novices who must have gotten in over their heads (what most of us would worry about, I’m sure).

A less expensive option would be to spruce up shabby cabinets up with a coat of paint. For the price, quality, and durability you really can’t beat Behr Premium Plus Ultra Satin Enamel, about $40 per gallon at Home Depot.


Replacing the cabinet hardware can completely transform the look of cabinets—even if you do not refinish them first. Cosmas makes a great oil rubbed bronze cabinet round knob for as little a $1 per knob in a pack of 25.


Newly finished cabinets could enliven the countertops, or more likely, make them look tired and worn. But not to worry! You may have some great options there, as well.

The folks at Rust-Oleum also manufacturer a counter Transformations Kit that will give old laminate countertops the beautiful look of natural stone. This Rust-Oleum product is durable, made to last for many years.

Another option to consider is the Giani Granite Paint Kit that will transform cultured marble, ceramic tile, and laminate countertops into the beauty of granite. This water-based product promises automotive-grade durability, too.

Once you have your cabinets and countertops looking good, you may decide to tackle the floor. Should you opt for something like Armstrong Coastal Living laminate flooring, expect to pay about $3.00 per square foot. The “lock and load” floating method of installation makes this kind of flooring another easy DIY project.

One more thing: Whether you opt to take on your kitchen makeover all at once or take it one project at a time, you’ll never regret paying for it as you go.

Photo credit: Critter-Cozies

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4 replies
  1. Jennie Kearney says:

    I just checked out the Amazon reviews for photos, and the Rustoleum products look great. I have them on my wish list now for a kitchen revamp project!

  2. tboofy says:

    I used the Giani Sicilian Sand kit(s) almost three years ago with great results. The only problem is getting a good top coat that nothing can scratch through. I used an epoxy-type coating in my basement bathroom, which worked great, but it’s really difficult to work with. Multiple coats of polyurethane work fine but I’ve had to do some touch-ups. But the cost was so low and the different so dramatic, it’s worth it! Wish I could attach pictures.


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