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DIY Kitchen Remodel-Painting Cabinets & Tile Backsplash

Kitchen remodels can be expensive and your budget may limit you on what you can do to update your home. Budgets can determine whether you want to hire out the work or what kind of work you want to do to change the look of your kitchen. Whether you want to paint cabinets, install new cabinets, add new counter tops, or a new backsplash , they can all be costly remodels. However, there is always a less inexpensive way to update your spaces with minimal cost, if your willing to put a little sweat equity and do your own projects.

Painting Cabinets

The best way to update a kitchen cabinet is to paint or re-paint the cabinets with a new coat of paint. Painting my kitchen cabinets that were chipping and in need of updating was an inexpensive way to update the kitchen. I didn't realize how bad they were until I started the project.

Before Photos:

Although painting cabinets is time consuming, the techniques for painting your own cabinets are fairly simple. You can hand paint them with a professional grade brush or use a paint sprayer. It is recommended that you take off all your hardware including hinges and drawer pulls or knobs (labeling each with painter's tape to which cabinet it belongs) and placing in a plastic sandwich bag that seals before prepping.

Once the hardware, doors and drawers are removed, you will need to use a TSP solution to clean your cabinets. You can pick this up at any hardware store. Use gloves to apply the tsp solution by gently wiping with a paper towel or cloth towel without fibers that shed. Next, you will need to use a sander to lightly sand the cabinets with 180 grit paper. After sanding, wipe away any sanding particles with either cheese cloth or a damp paper towel to make sure they are free of any debris from sanding. Cabinets should be clean and dry and ready for paint. My cabinets previously was a spec home finish that was a jet black paint, heavily distressed and high poly gloss applied to the finish. Think 2005 design for this brain child. The new paint color that I chose was a soft gray black color from Sherwin Williams called Tricorn Black. I used a satin finish so that there would be some low sheen to wipe cabinets as necessary. I would use a Pro Classic paint for cabinets and trim for the best application in a water based paint for easy cleanup.

Here is what the cabinets looked like after painting:

I loved the color of the cabinets and also painted my fireplace mantle in the living the same color to match. One of the other items that I wanted to change in the kitchen was the brown stone tile backsplash. I may have been an basic design choice 10-15 years ago, but it's certainly not current in design or my style. I contemplated taking out this tile and just replacing it since I have installed tile before, but I also knew it would be a big mess. The cost wasn't as much of the determining factor as the mess because you can find some amazing tile at reasonable pricing for any budget, however the mess was a no go for me. I had been thinking of painting the tile for over 6 months. But honestly, I waited because I wasn't sure how it would look painted. If you are considering painting tile, make sure that the tile is porous and not high gloss or porcelain, otherwise the paint will not adhere well, but if you have a stone tile, I would say paint away!

I painted the tile backsplash and changed the whole look of the kitchen for around $25!! That's a win folks! If you want to hire someone to install tile it would be more expensive, obviously, but the benefits would definitely outweigh the cost, as an update to the space would improve the look more than other options that would cost more to change, like updating countertops. Speaking of countertops? I would like to talk to the wacky doodle who picked out my crazy granite counter tops. I'm going to go out on a proverbial limb here and say that the same somebody who picked these countertops, probably likes cheetah print, because these countertops are the cheetah print of the home design world. Did I mention I don't do animal prints, like ever, anywhere...and I do mean ever?

Any who, that's my rant and I'm moving on now! And if you love animal prints,'s all good, just don't be an interior designer!

I painted the tile with a Sherwin Williams soft white called "Summer White". It tends to go a little more ivory, which works for me since I'm trying to coordinate and distract from my cheetah-licious countertops. I am so pleased how they turned out!

Here's a look at the completed project: (cue music from Aladdin: "It's a whole new world...)

Painting a Tile Backsplash

Painting a stone tile backsplash is very simple, but you will need to prep the space so that the paint adheres to the tile properly. First you will use a TSP solution to clean the tile. It is recommended to use gloves and clean the tile with the solution using paper towel or cloths. Once the tsp solution has been wiped on and the tile looks clean of any residue or grease, you will allow it to dry a few minutes. Next step is to prime the tile with a Kilz 3 interior and exterior primer used for stain blocking. I applied one coat over the tile before applying the "Summer White" paint in a satin finish. I only applied a single coat of the paint, but keep in mind you might need more than one coat depending on the opaqueness that you desire. I liked the look with one coat. After completely drying, I applied a single coat, (using a different brush) of a water-based poly clear coat by Minwax in a satin finish. I believe the poly coat is important so that it is easier to keep clean.

That's it! A few steps and you can change the look of your kitchen.

I liked the painted tile so much, I was disappointed that I hadn't done it sooner! It brightens my kitchen and helps to soften the darkness of the countertops. What do you all think? If you have any questions on my DIY projects, feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email on the stay connected page.

Until next time my friends,



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