Dated Kitchen And No Money – Can It Be Saved?

Dear Laurel,

This is a suggestion for a blog post.

I have a dated kitchen. It was done 25 years ago, but still we just don’t have the funds for a total re-do.

I’m attaching some photos but as you can see, the countertops are dark green Caesar Stone. And, the cabinets are oak.


Dated kitchen - oak kitchen


My problem with making this dated kitchen up-to-date is what paint color would look good for the cabinets?


I want something that will downplay the outdated green.

That’s just one example. Many of us are dealing with trying to update our kitchens on a budget so I think this would be very relevant for many of your faithful blog readers.
Thank you for your consideration!


P.S. — I love your blog!


Thanks so much Susan. And, thank you for the photos.


Actually, budget kitchens have been addressed before, but since we’re ALL on a budget and kitchens are big on the list, it’s good to revisit. However, if you’d like to see the other budget kitchen posts, here they are.

I Can’t Afford 150k to Redo My Kitchen

Need a Cheap Kitchen Remodel Can You Paint Stained Wood?



The first thing I’m going to say is that when doing this kid of “easy fix” of a dated kitchen, it can easily become a Pandora’s box with no end in sight.


Suddenly, one thing gets fixed but then other things look off and on and on…

However, this is a very good example because a lot of people have oak or some other wood stain cabinet they’d like to change. And, they also have countertops and usually a backsplash that’s dated as well.


So, the question is what can stay and what should go so that the kitchen looks fresh, up-to-date and appropriate for this home.


And, that includes the part of the world she lives in.

I didn’t ask Susan, but I took the liberty of looking her up as she’s a subscriber and it says that she lives in Israel!

Wow! How cool. No, actually, not so cool– in temperature, that is.

I looked up the city and it’s mild to hot all year round, day or night.

At first glance, there is nothing hideously wrong, but this is a dated kitchen.


If you don’t already know, cost saving measures are my favorite renovations. They’re quicker and far less painful. And, less expensive!


And, interestingly, when it came to doing kitchens, the bulk of them were not total do-overs; but, what I called “a kitchen facelift with botox.” ;]


Botox alone is just painting the cabinets and maybe changing out the hardware. A facelift with botox usually means all of that plus, new appliances, countertops and backsplash.

In other words; everything, but the cabinets are new.

What do you call it if the cabinets are new, Laurel?

Cheeky, are we? I call it botox, facelift, along with a tummy tuck, cataract surgery, and replacement of both hips and knees.  And no, thank God. I have not had any of that (yet) which is why my kitchen is a mess. lol

However, my kitchen botox/facelifts with freshly painted cabinets, always looks like a brand new kitchen. I love that!

Still, just doing all of that (with new appliances) could easily cost 50k or more. Sometimes the floors needed to be changed as well. I never saw the price tag. I only specified paint colors and helped make selections for the rest. Usually these clients were working on other parts of their home simultaneously.


So, let’s take a closer look at Susan’s dated kitchen; there are some issues that I find unusual and I’d like to address those first.


I don’t have the liberty of seeing the entire home which makes this exercise a little difficult. However, I can see that this is a contemporary home.

Above and below are shots from the dining room.

As you can see, there’s a lot of oak.


And, there’s a lot of this ceramic tile. Now, I imagine that tile floors in Israel are pretty common. One possibility would be to paint it. Remember this lovely home in Dubai with the lovely white tile floor?

Actually, my bad. It’s not white tile. It looks like some sort of travertine or sandstone. But, it’s very pale and far more neutral than this gray-blue.


If this were a real client and I was starting from scratch, this look below is how I envision a contemporary home in a warm climate.


House Seven Design - contemporary living room - green and white kitchen

House Seven Design


But, I think that we can still use this as a possible model to move in the direction of.


Moving into the dated kitchen. I’m perplexed by the location of the range and wondering why the countertop dips down like that. And, why isn’t it centered? It’s not a good design. Nothing lines up. It’s a hodgepodge of cabinet and drawer styles.

And uh oh… Did they actually use the floor tile as the toe kick? I hope Susan is not taking this personally. But, I prefer my floors to stay on the floor.


But, what’s bothering me even more is… Can you guess? (hint: look up) ;]


No, not the stuff on top of the cabinets. But, yes, the eccentric crown moulding. What the hell is going on with that?  Please forgive me. I don’t like to tear people’s homes apart, but this is in the interest of improving what’s there with as little money as possible.

Okay, Susan is probably going to hate me, but yes, get rid of the appliance garage. In fact, get rid of ALL of the upper cabinets.

Yes, ALL of them.

Thank you.


Oh, but there won’t be enough storage.


Please stop whining. ;] I’m not finished. There will be more storage! Thank you again.


Dated kitchen - oak kitchen


Let’s look at this image again. Yes, off with all of the upper cabinets and the crown over the sink.

Well, what about lights?

We can do lights in the ceiling or have a pendant light over the sink.


Next up. We can leave the floor to ceiling cabinets. Well, except that they aren’t to the ceiling which they should be, I think. I am hoping for a new counter-depth refrigerator and a new dishwasher. The corner cabinet is almost useless. I would prefer to have something going parallel with the side of the fridge. It could be shallow storage if space is tight or a bookshelf. But, I can’t see for sure what’s going on.


dated kitchen storage - oak cabinetrySee? There’s plenty of storage in this kitchen.

The countertop height table and chairs seems to move around the room.  Actually, maybe it’s not counter height. And, the room does not appear to be a rectangle. I’m confused, because I have no floor plan, but no matter.


Dated kitchen - oak kitchen

I would love to see a real island with storage here. And, from what I can see it should be parallel with the cooktop wall. But, again, I have limited information.  It just seems too cramped with the table and chairs. I might be wrong about that. But, I think a real island with storage is the way to go.


Let’s talk countertops for a minute.


dated kitchen appliance garage


I agree that the color is not so great.


So, what are the options for this dated kitchen countertop?


Leave as is and work around it?

No, and here’s why.

I’ve thought about it all day long and I can’t come up with any way to make this color work.

Besides, I’m not fond of the bull nose edge. That is also dated. And, it’s also not the edge I would’ve chosen for the traditional raised panel cabinet doors.

I would prefer it if the countertop was changed. I’m already feeling so much better.


So, what would be a cheap non-tacky fix?


Well, I looked up “countertop resurfacing.”

Yes, there is such a thing.

It’s basically a polymer coating which dries to a hard, plastic shine to resemble


They say.

I’m calling bullshite on that one. What say you?


Someone please tell me what stone looks like your three-year-old took your red lipstick, some Elmer’s Glue and some gray shoe polish and smooshed it all together? It would work as a great weight control device, however. Looking at that makes me lose my appetite immediately!

Feast your eyes on more. (if you dare) Yes, a couple of them aren’t bad. But, they’re still going to look like plastic. Plus the stuff must be noxious AF.

(please don’t ask me what AF means. It means exactly what you think it means.) ;]


But, if someone could make something that looked like concrete or soapstone, that you could paint on, (and would be durable), I’d be all in.


Now, I’m sure that a talented decorative artist could do just about anything and make it look believable. But, after you’ve shelled out 10k for him/her to do so, you might as well have put in the real thing.


So, is there anything else?


I don’t know if you recall, but Wilsonart has some beautiful laminates. And they have laminates without that funky black line. You can see some in this post

And, in this one as well.


I’ve seen them in person and while some aren’t my cup of tea, some are truly beautiful.

Below, I did a couple of ideas in their simulator.


Wilsonart laminate countertops

A classic soapstone counter out of laminate!


Wilsonart laminated countertop

A marble look out of laminate from Wilsonart


A word about painting the cabinets. Wood can be sawn in one of four ways.


sawing-grain-patterns via Grandior

via Grandior

The graphic above is an excellent representation of how that might impact a paint job. I added this after I saw a terrific comment by Tsippi.


Next up is the backsplash.



At first, I said to myself, “Is that Zellige?”

Ummm… no. So, I say let’s get rid of that too.

I’m thinking white subway tile.

Here are some inspo pics.


white subway tile - dark green cabinetsSorry, there are a million of this image on the internet, but I could not find the original source. If you know, please let me know and I’ll add it in.



Lovely vignette by Jaclyn Peters. You can see much more of this lovely on her insta page.

Those counters are a quartz product by Cambria (this is an excellent post)


house seven design - stunning black and white kitchen

Another contemporary stunner by house seven design


DeVOL kitchens - green kitchen - white backsplash tile

DeVOL kitchens – green kitchen – white backsplash tile

Talk about stunning! They really know how to style and photograph their kitchens!


kitchen-backsplash-ideas - DeVOL Kitchens

Another shot of the same space, of course.


But, Laurel, subway tile up to the ceiling is not in the budget.


Oh, right. Well, Wilsonart just came out with a laminate for that as well.

BTW, Wilsonart is not sponsoring this. I would tell you if they were. :]


wilsonart subway tile_metro_white

I don’t know anything else about it. And, I hesitate to recommend fake tile. However, it might be a viable option. This one has a beveled edge, it appears. I prefer it to not have that. But, again, maybe in person, it’s lovely. If anyone has seen this in person and wants to weigh-in your opinion, please do so.


Finally, I have a couple of shots that are not right for Susan’s kitchen but I wanted to include them because maybe someone else will get inspiration and I love them, too.


Plain English Kitchen Green kitchen marble countertops

Above and below by Plain English Kitchen


Plain English Kitchen - fabulous dark green kitchen


Well, that’s pretty much a wrap.


But wait, Laurel, you didn’t say anything about the cabinet colors and what they should be and what should get painted what.


Well, please feel free to chime in. But, also definitely look at Melissa Tardiff’s kitchen, designed by Nancy Keyes.


I would do a range hood like hers and floor to ceiling cabinets white and the bookcase in the dining room, also white.

Also, always look at Nancy Keyes’ gorgeous kitchen. I never tire of it.


Oh, one last thing.


The Fridge and pantry doors were installed a couple weeks ago for Mrs. F’s lovely white kitchen. Please go and take a look. I love how it turned out!


And for more great kitchen inspiration please check out the following posts.

20 timeless kitchens you’ll love forever

12 of the hottest kitchen trends, awful or wonderful?

Is the unkitchen trend here to stay?





PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales and also the fully stocked holiday shop– over 200 new items!


37 Responses

  1. There are certainly a lot of bad examples of resin coating cabinets, BUT if you want to be environmentally friendly it is a good option. New MDF cut to size gives a nice modern size like a marble slab. I redid my mom’s kitchen counters and backsplash for about $500 and it looks like very convincing marble (but I am an artist and I have always loved marble so every time I’ve visited Europe I take a lot of pictures of the stonework). If you don’t want to hire an artist like you said, go for a solid color. Or do it yourself, it really is approachable if you watch a lot of YouTube how tos. It can be honed also so that you get the sheen you want.
    If I were this person I would hire a carpenter to put in new MDF for the counters and make them all one height, then I would paint the counters and cabinets the same color, and then I would coat the counters in a solid color resin (probably white or grey).

  2. The missing source of the industrial shaker (glass ceiling) kitchen shown above is:

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. Hey Laurel, Thanks for your advice on worktops which are stunning and durable to make perfect kitchen worktops.

  4. I don’t know if Susan is reading these messages, but if you are Susan, I would recommend that you watch the ChrisLovesJulia Instagram account Stories (1-Ktchn phase 1-4) on their 2 week kitchen DIY update. Their kitchen had some similar issues as this one and they talked about their design process which you may find helpful.

  5. If the backsplash is too much to change, you can glaze the existing tile white. The square might not be preferable, but white squares would be way better than what’s there.

    1. Hi Lily,

      Thanks so much for your input. They might call it a glaze, but it’s really an epoxy paint and noxious as hell, I understand. I’ve written about it before on one of the old kitchen posts linked to which discusses ways to make a dated kitchen look better without spending a lot of money. It’s definitely an option. But, I think the brick pattern of the subway tile would be more timeless. Just my opinion.

  6. I just finished opening the can of worms in my kitchen. I went backwards and thought a refresh was the way to go so I replaced the old laminate with new laminate and planned to paint the oak cabinets. The oak texture was too strong- looked terrible and I didn’t love the new laminate. I looked at laminate samples for months

    . I would recommend a through dejunk, clean countertops off, paint the walls, then when you have the money, do the job properly. You will be much happier in the long run with the kitchen done how you want. We ended up gutting the kitchen and it was the right choice- It would have saved me hours of time and money to have waited to do the job right the first time.


    This is an affordable option for changing the countertops while saving for replacements. I’ve used the product and got very satisfactory results by closely following the directions. A DIYer can definitely do this. The website has an instructional video for those who’d like to be investigate the product. Not affiliated with the company; just a satisfied customer.

    1. Hi Priscilla,

      I actually saw this video the other day when I was researching products. I’m glad to hear that you had a good result with it. It was difficult to tell from the video if it had a good finish or looked super plastic.

  8. The simplicity of an eased edge is nice in a contemporary space, especially a small one, but can look underdone with raised panel doors. My instinct is to change out those door fronts. I’m thinking maybe the lower stove top counter is one of two things – either they needed more room between the stove and the upper cabinets due to codes, or, since the dishwasher doesn’t seem to fit (it’s too short) maybe the sink counter was raised for height (tall owner perhaps?). If someone felt compelled to keep some upper cabinets, I would rehang them at ceiling height and put a shelf underneath for the everyday plates and glasses. I’ve said this before, but buying remnants at a stone fabricator often allows you to get real stone for a fraction of the price (and I tolerate the one rationally-placed seam very well with my honed absolute black granite). I put beveled tile in a kids tub/shower and regretted it — the cuts at the corners and edges are awkward with beveled tile. In this kitchen, simplification is going to be the key!

  9. A cheap, temporary solution for the backsplash is to put up removable wallpaper. It’s very easy to install, and wipes clean. I’m using it in our kitchen until we finish remodeling and install tile backsplash. Ps Ikea cabinets are not bad, and budget friendly.

  10. Hi Laurel! What a great, in depth post on updating a kitchen. I will peruse your other postings too on this subject, but my questions are: A) what happens for folks who painted their wood cabinets when wood cabinets come back in fashion – $$$$? B) how do people work with wood cabinets in their kitchen who LOVE wood? I happen to get very confused sometime with design inasmuch as is there a true “right” and “wrong” cabinet color/type? I am particularly attracted to “value” because of the small budgets when one is retired. Thank you.

    1. Those are all great questions. There are numerous kitchen posts and I do have a few wood kitchens that I think look nice. But, there is not a lot of cabinetry like this.

      In addition, wood is not coming back. Believe me when I tell you this. Yes, I can see the future. ;]

      In the history of kitchens, the 20th century went through a massive change from the previous 5,000 years. Wood stain began in the 50s and from there, it was downhill. The only exceptions are some Victorian pantries which are lovely and in my pantry post. And, also of course, the Arts and Crafts movement in architecture from the early 20th century.

      But, what we have here is late 20th century builder’s idea of traditional. It’s not traditional. But, of course, it’s fine if you like it.

  11. Whether or not Susan plans to totally redo her kitchen, at some point, I think doing less is best right now. With all the different shifts in horizontal planes (counters and cabinets), simplification is key. I would start by removing everything from all visible surfaces and be very selective with what returns. I would think about complementary colors: Pink & red will accentuate green. Yellow/orange (oak) will pull out blue. So the pink blind needs to go. The decorative tile along vent hood dates the space as does the cabinet rail above the sink.

    Both need to go; install fresh new lighting over the sink. Make the vent cabinet a subtle focal point. I agree that pulling out upper cabinets, and bringing in an island would be really helpful. Pulling out uppers means backsplash tile will have to be replaced and an inexpensive choice like the subway Laurel suggested would be good; tight grout line. I would paint the lower cabinets in a white that works with the flooring & current countertop (no yellow or pink undertones) and the white appliances will become less dominant, until they can be replaced. An alternative would be painting lowers in same color as countertops so counters disappear and then keeping everything from counters up, white, with wood open shelves. (I would use flat/matte/satin paint.) Wood shelving would relate to buffet cabinet in dining space. If opening shelving was used, Susan’s nice collection of pottery could move up off the counters. An island could store appliances.

  12. Reading the comments, Valerie & Colleen have made me have another think. Valerie’s ideas are great, and painting the buffet next door would really help pull things together. She’s right about all the accessories: far fewer of them would be a lot better.
    Yes, repetition of colour is a key here, so perhaps the system of pale uppers and dark lowers would be another idea for the cabinetry.
    Colleen is right about the hood: it does indeed look as if it was covered with spare doors. I think this, and the tile edge, are what makes it objectionable rather than the size. So perhaps clad the front with a sheet of thin wood (if the existing mouldings allow it — otherwise remove the wood and replace with a flat surface) which could be painted as metal. Here in France I’ve found a terrific product which comes as a powder to mix with water. It’s very disappointing once painted (that dreaded oh what have I done moment), but then you sand it, and wow! By painting a very smooth coat, or by pouncing the paint on, you can get a sleek or a hammered finish, and of course you can have any metal you fancy.

  13. Hi Laurel, fabulous article on many directions this kitchen could take. I wanted to ask a question about one of your comments on the countertop detail. My husband loves a traditional raised panel door, I can’t get him to go to shaker! You mentioned that bull nose is not a good edge detail, as it is dated. What edge detail do you recommend for a traditional cabinet? Husband won’t go for a square edge detail, so I’m just curious about your other recommended options?

    1. An ogee edge is what I usually recommend for a traditional kitchen. You can still do it with a more simple panel. Maybe not a Shaker, but a flat panel with a bead, is also fine, IMO. Sometimes, I also mix edges. For instance doing a square edge on the counters and an ogee edge on the island.

  14. I love your ideas for her kitchen. I, too, cannot get enough looks at Nancy Keyes’ kitchen!
    But she’s got a very small budget, so don’t think she can spring for new appliances & a new real island, etc. even though they would be great! And the flooring even goes up the stairs, so she has to work with that color palette. I would suggest these baby steps first:
    -PURGE 3/4 of the things on display; many are pretty, some useful, just far too many!
    -new window treatment; perhaps neutral (faux) roman shade
    -Remove the horrible molding on the uppers & light bar. I have seen other blogs that made nice with light bars-search for them if you can’t afford an electrician & new lights.
    -Remove the appliance garage
    -remove tiles on stove hood-save $ for new smaller hood
    -just on either side of sink, take off upper doors &/or install open floating shelves
    -paint the cabinets a creamy white that goes with the flooring
    -Cover the toe kicks with thin plywood painted to match cabinets (amen to flooring should stay on the floor!)
    -if no $ for a new dishwasher, insert a small panel matching the cabs to cover the open space above it-do not use to store newspapers!
    -the tall open bottom cabinet needs help:perhaps shelves with baskets? Or put the diagonal wine shelves there, giving more open shelving above.
    -ditch the chairs and placemats! If chairs are needed for kids, just 2 (new ones, or paint those to match cabs) if possible.
    -The green counters, though dated, do seem to have a blue undertone which matches the flooring and backsplash. Deep green and all shades of blue are having their moment right now, so it may not look at dated with minimalist decorating and white cabinets. Also, they are Ceasarstone, so a craftsman can hone a straight edge getting rid of the bullnose. Since Ceasarstone is made in Israel, people there would know for sure.
    -If a new island is not in the budget, add plywood sides, molding & furniture feet to island; paint to match countertops. Maria Killam says if you repeat a horrible color 3 times in a room it actually becomes tolerable. Read her post on that.
    -paint the tall cabs the same green.
    -new hardware
    -Square backsplash tiles are also having a moment, so they may look okay with the white cabs. If not, she could first try some fairly inexpensive peel and press subway tiles to go over existing.
    -paint & hardware for buffet in DR (could go with the deep green or the creamy white) A new top, if affordable, would look great!
    All that would be lots of woman hours of DYI, but could be done in stages for very little $ while she saves up for the counter depth fridge, counters all of the same height (I pity her back working at the stove!), etc.

    1. Wonderful advice Valerie! I especially love the one about repeating a color. I’ve often said something similar that if you don’t like a color, then create MORE of it and then it acts as a neutral. I don’t think I love that in this case, but maybe I’m wrong. I wish I had a good computer program that could do easy and accurate color simulation.

  15. If I had the money, I would replace the countertop in my mid-1990s condo kitchen and have an undermounted sink. As far as these photos are concerned, I would get rid of all the clutter above the cabinets, on the countertop and in the niches. I would paint the upper cabinets white and the lower cabinets the same color as the countertop. And get rid of that table in the middle of the kitchen.

  16. Love Love Love this post. Thank you Laurel- you’re the best!!! It’s so interesting to read your suggestions, you teach us so well. Seriously stunning ideas. So much better and now I’m so excited to get rid of my parents kitchen cabinets lol. I haven’t planned that before but your post make me so excited and I will find some dated kitchen cabinets. Can’t wait to try your advice and get those ugly cabinets out of business!

  17. Laurel, Painting the cabinets and changing the countertops will make a HUGE difference!! Also, there is a product called ‘Rustoleum tub and tile’ that can be used to change the color on a backsplash(or tub). Rustoleum also has products that can be used on the cabinets and countertop. I have never used them so don’t know how good they are but painting the backsplash might be a good first step. And I agree about the Wilsonart countertop…I lived in a rental house several years ago and there was a very nice looking ‘marble’ laminate countertop in the kitchen.

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Thanks so much. Yes, there are numerous products for getting special effects. Of course, someone skilled could do a bang-up job with a faux finish, but most of us lack the skills and patience. I took a decorative painting class nearly 30 years ago. It was a helluva lot of fun, but before the week-long intensive class began at Parson’s in NYC, the instructor inquired if anyone might be pregnant? lol I was about to be but not for another three months.

  18. This is a great post. Thanks Laurel. I wonder if this kitchen was one of those husband-wife compromises, where he wants a high counter and she wants a lower one. It looks like he agreed to do all the dishes if he got a taller sink. . .

    One word of warning to future readers of this excellent column: I learned through hard experience that painting oak cabinets is dicey. First of all, unless the painter skim coats the cabinets with wood filler and then sands, the grain will be quite prominent. I realized the grain would be there, and I was okay with that. What I hadn’t fully considered was how noticeable the textural difference would be next to the newly painted trim and boxes. The other issue is that the cabinet doors that have been hit with a lot of steam and heat over the decades may not want to “take” the paint. When I had my cabinets painted, the GC refunded my 6k, as he agreed several doors did not look good due to small drips and cracks. Part of this was the sub being a little lazy or inexperienced, I think, though the boxes and trim came out looking great. My point to the GC was that, if he knew he couldn’t get the doors to look good, the sub should not have taken the job, and the GC agreed. In retrospect, we both wish we had ordered wooden replacement doors and finished them to match the painted boxes. It would not have cost much more money. (Actually, it would have cost the GC a lot less.) Also in retrospect, we also wish we had had more than one cabinet painter bid on the job. The GC used his “regular” guy, but I doubt he does that anymore.

    1. Hi Tsippi,

      Another great point about the grain. Some oak doors are more prominent. Some depends on the grade of wood and some might also depend on whether the direction the wood was sawed in. I added a graphic in the middle of the post which shows what I’m talking about for those unfamiliar and there’s also a link to an excellent blog post explaining the differences. Great point, Tsippi!

  19. Yes..her kitchen is quite outdated (to us anyways), but you know, there are tons of people that would still redo an entire kitchen in oak cabinets. Another option would be to get them all sanded down and re- stain them in a totally different colour? So many stains out there these days. She could also get them recovered. If a new granite or quartz or whatever countertop isn’t in the budget, either live with it, or just out a different laminate one for now. Or live with it. I personally would wait to do the entire makeover when I had the funds to do so. for those cabinets, I wonder why none of them line up with one another? I also cannot stand a range hood covered in wood…and whoever did it ,looks like they took cabinet doors and covered it with was almost wondering if they made a platform to sit the bottom cabinets on? However, the floor tile as the kick plate is ok. In my master bath I used my floor tile as the baseboard. Then no dust sticking to damp wood. It actually looks very nice. Trimmed all in black to match the black trim of the shower and my black stand alone tub.

    1. Thanks so much Colleen. I do agree after spending 12 hours with this kitchen that a total redo would serve it better, but since that would mean the floor too, it would mean all of the floor. And, it looks like it might be the same floor in every space/room on that floor. That’s what I mean by Pandora’s Box which I take to mean a project which keeps expanding due to the nature of things.

  20. There is a product in europe called Ekopel 2 which could coat the counter top. on you tube there are videos making it look like marble. If you muck up then you could probably do a whole new countertop. It depends on how much diy you like. Ekopel was developed for resurfacing bathroom fixtures. But they have added some colors recently and experimented doing a marble look. refinishedbathsolutions on youtube.

  21. I’m puzzled about the layout too: peculiarly angled walls, different height countertops. Is the hob area lower than usual, or is the sink area higher than usual? But I think the first question is: does the kitchen as is function well for Susan (aesthetics apart, that is)? And I assume that’s an extractor hood over the hob, which probably needs to stay.
    If so, then here are some thoughts:
    Your fixed finishes (floor, countertops), go well together. If they’re in good condition and you keep them, the rest needs changing. I notice that many of the inspiration pics show variants of your counter colour — only the colour isn’t on the counters! My idea therefore is to reverse Laurel’s colour system, and keep the counters, but paint the cabinets a warm white. Paint the walls the same colour. Paint the backsplash the same colour. I do agree that the cabinets on the window wall need to go, but I would keep the rest, with any luck re-using one cabinet to take the hob wall uppers straight into the corner. I would remove the piece of wood on top of the hood, to have a straight line right across.
    After this, the white appliances will look awful, and better-sized and coloured (steel, black?) ones can be added as budget allows.
    To finish, all the accessories and small appliances need to be reconsidered in the light of Laurel’s inspiration pic from Jaclyn Peters: relentlessly colour-themed: black, shades of green to go with the countertop, steel, pale wood/straw. And the hardware on the cabinets needs upgrading, perhaps brushed steel or nickel.
    I must say I’d get rid of the current table and stools, there isn’t enough room for them, and there’s an eating area just a few feet away next door. If you want an island for extra prep space, it needs a pale butcher block top and the structure painted to match the counters: Ikea Bekvam would be a cheap solution. But if you’re desperate to keep the kitchen table, re-do the finishes as suggested, and change the stools for something visually lighter — something like the Riviera stools in Laurel’s post on Mrs F’s kitchen!

    1. Hi Gilly,

      Wow! Thank you for taking the time for such a detailed comment. And, especially for addressing the areas where I clearly ran out of steam such as the dining area, appliances and hardware.

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Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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Laurel Home Interior Design Guides 2023
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Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books
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