Kitchen Facelift

Kitchen before the "facelift"
Kitchen before the "facelift"
You can carefully remove wallpaper w/a putty knife.
You can carefully remove wallpaper w/a putty knife.
Kitchen after the "facelift"
Kitchen after the "facelift"

Q: I can't afford to rip out and remodel my kitchen, but I'd really love to give it a facelift. What are some projects that are budget-friendly?

A: (from DIY home improvement expert, Brad Staggs) You can do a lot to a kitchen without spending a lot of money. In this demonstration, we spruce up a kitchen with new countertops, paint and a few details -- all for less than $500.


  • We began the project with the idea that one of the quickest ways to improve the looks of the kitchen was to replace the old, damaged countertop. We consulted numerous laminate samples before deciding upon one that was satisfactory for the homeowner -- a neutral blue. Simple squared-off edges were selected as a money-saving option. Rounded and bull-nosed edges are typically more expensive. Total expense for the materials required for replacing the countertops was under $200.

  • Before removing the old countertop, the kitchen sink must first be disconnected and removed.

  • Next, remove the screws that hold the old countertop in place on the cabinet bases. The screws are accessible from underneath the countertop, and are easily removed.

  • With the fasteners removed, lift out the old countertop and move it out of the way.

  • Position the new countertop on top of the base and install new screws.

  • Reinstall the kitchen sink and reattach the plumbing.

  • The next phase of the project we undertook was the removal of the old wallpaper border around the kitchen walls. A specialized tool called a "paper tiger" makes short work of removing old wallpaper. Thetoothed-blades are rolled over the old paper to perforate it with small holes. A mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid is then sprayed over the surface of the wallpaper using a spray bottle. The holes allow the solution to penetrate underneath the paper, causing the adhesive to begin softening and loosening.

  • After the solution has soaked in for a few minutes, much of the old paper can be peeled away by hand. Remove any remaining paper or residue by carefully scraping with a putty knife. Use caution to avoid gouging the drywall with the putty knife. After peeling and scraping, go back with a sponge and warm water to remove any remaining adhesive from the drywall.

  • Once the wallpaper had been removed, we began the next phase of the kitchen facelift: repainting. A fresh coat of paint and a newly selected color is one of the fastest, most dramatic and least expensive measures you can take in most room facelifts. Our homeowners chose a soft blue wall-paint to tie in with the new blue countertop. Final cost of removing the wallpaper and repainting the room was less than $50.

  • The kitchen cabinets were in good shape, but we opted to spruce them up with some new cabinet hardware. New holes were required to install these since the fastener placement for the new hardware was not exactly the same as the old.

  • Faux-wood blinds were added to the kitchen window. The plastic material is much easier to clean than real wood blinds.

  • Finally, we added a wall-mounted organizer for kitchen utensils, accessories, spices, etc. 

  • Once the renovation is complete, the "freshened up" kitchen had a more inviting feel

A project like this can be done in a single weekend, but it may be more practical to spread it over two successive weekends.

Kitchens: Plan, Remodel, Build
ISBN: 1580110495
Author: Creative Homeowners Press Editor
Order this title from Amazon.
Creative Homeowner Press

Kitchens: Planning and Remodeling
Model: 0376013478
Author: Sunset Books Editor
(January, 2000)
To order this title from Amazon, click here. Sunset Books