The Dollar Tree webs also come with spider rings that you can optionally also add in. I decided to use them with some of the extra web and put them on the laundry room door, dining room mirror, and a plant.
My 3-year-old loves it when I scream and “pretend” to be afraid of spiders so I usually scream when I walk past the webs with him and then he says, “it’s ok mama, see? It’s just an itsy bitsy spider!” Then today when he got home from school I forgot to scream and he looked at me with a big smile, pointed, and said, “Hey– Mama! Look… it’s a spider!!!!!”
Of course, I screamed bloody murder so he could comfort me. “It’s ok mama. I don’t know why you’re so afraid of spiders.”
*This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions my own!*
Both of our houses have had 1990 dream kitchens/bathrooms. You know the type: oak cabinets, gray speckled formica countertops, and ugly hardware or no hardware.
With all of that orange it took all my strength to not jump right on the All White Everything trend as a knee jerk reaction to so much honey oak! But with the input of my color- and dark-wood-loving husband, we discovered that a mixture of styles can give your home a lot of timeless personality!
With that, here are my top 5 ways to class up your kitchen if you live in a builder grade twilight zone.
5 quick updates to do this winter:
Although a classic home can have a myriad of colors, there are some basic essential upgrades that I believe are best kept neutral.
A little paint and fresh counters can definitely modernize a kitchen! You don’t always need to spend $30-100K on new cabinets if they’re still in great shape! Just updating the counters can be enough to help you love your kitchen again and get it looking as good as the kitchen above!
Stone, quartz, or other types of solid surface counters always add sheen and elegance to the two most important room in a house– the kitchen! Laminate counters don’t carry a lot of practicality now that you can get granite and quartz for good prices!! Yes, they often come with a slightly higher price than old school laminate, but in my opinion, that cost is never too high to deter you from the payback of having the real deal. Not to mention that you should be able to make most of your money back if you sell! In fact, back when I was selling countertops people would often want estimates in granite and lamintate, thinking Laminate would always be TONS less expensive, but most often laminate was just a few hundred dollars less & so not worth the savings in the end.
I recently discovered PremierSurfaces Minneapolis Countertops, which is a countertop company with locations in the Twin Cities area (they have tons of other locations too if you’re from somewhere else)!!! I just talked with a super nice saleswoman who said they have nice granite options that start in the $40/square foot range and quartz that starts in the $55 range!!! Pricing includes: 1) free installation, 2) a free sink, and 3) an edge upgrade! Why am I telling you that? Because after selling countertops, I know those 3 things are often hidden costs and they can add an extra thousand dollars onto your project if you’re not careful!!
PSA: They can make your bathrooms look GORGEOUS too!!! See! ^^
2- Natural accents
Plants, wooden or stone features, and loads of natural light are some of the best ways to make a space feel classic. Premier Surfaces Minneapolis also carries a selection of wood or tile materials for accent walls or floors!
A quick diy could get you gorgeous, cozy results!
3 – Ample lighting
Don’t keep that ugly track lighting or inconspicuous can lights over your island! Instead, think about adding a chandelier or something more interesting like pictured above
For our kitchen, we ended up choosing a black and gold fixture with a 4-light pendant because then we didn’t need to pay an electrician to add extra wires to do multiple pendants. And you know what? I love how it turned out! It’s WAY more stylish, still practical and inexpensive!
Oh, and I also added a pendant molding to make it that much more special!
Here are a few similar budget-friendly options I’m loving:
4 – Cozy neutral accessories
Your kitchen doesn’t need to look like a show home in order for it to look nice with just these few updates! Look how her countertops are stone, but she keeps everything else basic. The neutrals here help make things look intentionally antique and cozy.
5 – Add texture
As an artist I think about texture in two ways: actual & visual. There are a few places that I personally love to add texture, either in how it looks, how it feels, or both! The marble looking backsplash above (left) is more visually textured, whereas the brick backsplash examples are both visually and actually textured.
The backsplash is a relatively inexpensive textural addition and it can bring your kitchen from average to gorgeous in a few weeknights worth of work if you’re a DIYer like myself!
Synthesizing your design plan:
If you’re thinking of fixing up your ugly kitchen like I did, a great place to start synthesizing your design plan is on Pinterest, but then you’ll need to take a step back and look at your kitchen realistically. Ask yourself, what will it actually take to get my kitchen looking how I want? Do I have the budget for a complete redo, new countertops, or just a little paint (for now)?
Now let’s do an exercise. Look back over the images above (or in your Pinterest board) and see if you can find a pattern. What do you notice in the following categories?
Which countertop color or material do you love?
Do you like things ultra modern or do you notice any natural accents?
Do you see lighting that makes your heart sing? 🙂 If not, keep looking or check out my options above if you haven’t already!
Are there neutral accessories or accents? Even black or gray?
Consider your ideal textures in your kitchen, even if it means you decide you want most things high gloss & smooth.
Now ask yourself, which images on this post look most cozy to you? How many neutral/natural accents are there? This may help you as you plan your kitchen!
Once that old kitchen was gorgeous and “Pinterest-worthy,” we sold our house and moved into this… and it would have been completely depressing if it hadn’t excited me again to take on another project.
I snagged this pic from our current house’s listing, don’t judge. 😉
Both of our houses have seemed like 90s builder-grade specials because they both have that ugly honey oak wood galore and popcorn ceilings for days!
I’m not against oak as a species, just against orange oak everywhere; so my must-do in any house like this is to 1) scrape and repaint the ceilings and 2) stain or paint the kitchen cabinets so they don’t look like giant orange extensions of the floor.
You can also see in this picture that I used a countertop painting kit to check if I wanted cooler white granite counters or if I wanted some warm brown tones in it. It turned out I liked the warmer brown tones!
How to Remove Popcorn Ceilings
Removing popcorn ceilings is a pain in the rear no matter what and this project made me realize there are different kinds of popcorn ceiling. The old house had a texture that was more like plaster when it was being scraped off, which meant tons of dust and we needed to use lots of water (sprayed from a spray bottle) to get it down. This house, however, had a texture that was more like styrofoam and it was static-y and stuck to everything as it fell. Water didn’t seem to help remove it or to help lessen the dust that fell so I ditched the spray bottle about 1/3 of the way through. Either way, you need plenty of disposable drop cloths because you will want to wrap them up and toss them in the trash asap!
If you want smooth ceilings after scraping, you’ll need to really get down to the sheetrock and you may even need to touch it up with sheetrocking mud; but if you don’t mind a little texture, I think it’s fine as is.
After scraping, make sure the ceiling’s pretty dry before beginning to paint. Know you’ll need a few coats if you had to remove popcorn ceilings.
Find the Best Paint for Your Cabinets
I have to admit, at this point, I somewhat regret my paint choice for a few reasons. First, I got paint on sale from Lowes because it was $3/gallon and I was excited for that, but it tinted weird and I didn’t get the off-white color I wanted, which was why it was on sale. Second, I listened to the advice of a guy who probably isn’t a perfectionist because he said I could use a particular liquid sander and would have perfect results. Well, I can tell you now, I completely regret not sanding these cabinets as well as I did last time! I have a few spots I need to touch up because the paint took so long to cure.
I recommend going with a hard finish paint, preferably low VOC, in a brand that is trustworthy. Go into a specialty store so you can talk with someone who is knowledgable about your actual needs for your project.
Painting a kitchen the right way is a lot of work. It takes for.effing.ever. It means sanding and lots of coats of primer and paint. It requires you to take off (and label) all of the hinges. DON’T THINK YOU’LL BE ABLE TO PUT THE HINGES BACK THE RIGHT WAY IF YOU DON’T LABEL THEM!!!! Sorry to yell at you, but for real… I labeled everything the first time and everything went well with the hinges, but this time I thought I was better than that and– well — I felt like an idiot when the time came to put hinges back in because none of them were the same and nothing fit. It took me hours to finally piece things back together.
Oh, and another tip is that you need a small smooth roller to smooth out the paint. Don’t just use a brush. I usually used a brush to get the paint around the edges and around the recessed panels on the cabinet doors and then I rolled over all of it with my smooth little roller.
This is how it looked when I finished the perimeter
How to Make a Cohesive Open Concept
One challenge I faced while doing this project was figuring out how to match the living room to the newly painted kitchen. Beckett and I finally decided on matching the island with the fireplace mantel. Then I begged Beckett to let me tile over the old ugly beige tiles on fireplace surround with these gorgeous blue tiles and he let me because it was my birthday, pretty sure.
The final touches were to prime, paint, and add “shiplap” to the kitchen island, install cabinet hardware, put wallpaper in the space above/around the fireplace, replace light fixtures, and to save up for new granite countertops/ a backsplash.
So here are a few shots of the living room from a post I did a few months ago about how to organize kids’ toys:
our hardware. Can you see the nicks? That is why I wish I hadn’t taken the guy’s advice about the liquid sander! Gorgeous pulls are linked here b/c I couldn’t find the exact, but here are similar ones I like! Both are about as price-conscious as you will find!
This is how the kitchen looked while waiting for countertops…
The “shiplap” is just real wood veneer I bought at Lowes, cut (with a scissors) into 6″ strips, glued and nailed into the island back and sides. It took a good afternoon, but was really easy!
About our Countertops
Then, finally, after a few months we went and got our countertops! We got tons of price quotes before settling on a place called Exquisite Stone, even though we had worked with them before and liked them. They ended up having the best price for what we wanted and we knew we could trust their design and install team. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, I recommend Exquisite Stone. They may be out in the boonies a bit, but I think they were worth it.
In all our remodel cost somewhere in the ballpark of $2500 total, including the countertops, new faucet, and backsplash. It is still a lot of money, but we could have easily spent all of that on countertops if we hadn’t found a good price.
Here’s what our countertops look like by the sink! I think they are perfect with our brass faucet and gold cabinet hardware!
The Backsplash & Final Touches
For our backsplash, I choose a porcelain marble-look tile that had a lot of grey and honey brown colors in it. I wanted it to tie in the orange-y floor color as well as mimic some of the grey tones in the countertop. I think it was on sale for $1.50/sq. ft. at Tile Outlet in Rogers, MN. I’m all about the deals, can you tell?
I installed it myself and learned that it’s best to invest in a tile saw instead of trying to do a whole kitchen with a scorer.
What do you think of this kitchen remodel? Do you like these colors better than the first kitchen remodel? I do still miss our greige kitchen!
You’ve likely clicked on this post because you are in need of desperate help to organize your kids’ toys. I should preface this by telling you I’m no expert, but I’ve picked up a few tips from friends, family, and other blogs that I’ve found helpful. Then, I looked for ways to make the storage solutions not just practical for our lifestyle, but also to look good in the process.
Sort: The first thing I did to get organized was to sort through the toys to categorize it. Creating piles of things my son would play with together. For example, he has a wooden castle set and a wooden knight set. It makes sense to put those things together.
Designate a Space: Come up with a shelving solution to put things on. We have these huge open shelves in our living room that were totally useless and we wanted to be able to put Wolfie’s toys on them without it looking like we were a daycare. If you don’t have open shelves, it’s easy to find a budget-friendly storage solution on an app like LetGo (just be safe about it). Or you could get one of these storage shelves from Walmart, Target, or Wayfair seem pretty handy and they look nice too. I’m personally not a huge fan of the baskets that typically come with the Target shelves and I would go to HomeGoods and snag a few pretty baskets for roughly the same price if I were you.
Check for Fit: Once you have your shelving figured out, make sure the toys will fit into the size of shelf and baskets you got. Measure bigger toy sets so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the store.
Add Accents: Add other sentimental or decorative items to the shelves if there’s room. Consider using a color theme for the accents and pepper the items of similar colors throughout the shelves. My accent color was gold for my shelves, but I also wanted to bring in some earth tones and organic textures so I added a plant and a healthy dose of brown.
Arrange Decorations for Visual Balance: Rearrange the items as needed so you come up with the perfect look that’s also functional. Also, consider safety too. Make sure the shelves are secured to the wall and that breakables or potential hazards are out of a child’s reach.
Did you find this post helpful? I would love to hear from you! And if you aren’t signed up already, I’d love for you to join my friends list found on the sidebar of my site.