Our Kitchen Update (With Before/After Pics)

Last week when I shared my living room gallery wall, I asked y’all on instagram which home update you wanted to see first. The kitchen update was the clear winner! So today I’ll share more photos and details of our kitchen cabinet paint job + other various little updates. 

When we moved into our house in 2020, the kitchen kind of bummed me out. Our old house had an AWESOME bright and open kitchen (albeit in a house that was not the right size for our family life), and the kitchen in our new house felt dingy by comparison. 

We originally planned to just leave it as is until we did the big kitchen remodel. But we realized that the remodel is still probably several years away, I started thinking of some budget-friendly kitchen updates that we could do immediately.

Kitchen (on a budget) goal: less butter yellow and brown tones, more bright white.

Our South Austin home is an early 2000s house. So lots of the style feels very 2005. The original wooden cabinets were painted a beige/yellow with rustic brown trim and small silver hand pulls. 

The back splash was a dark brown tile. 

The countertops were (and still are) brownish/yellow granite with black. 

The kitchen doesn’t have a lot of natural light, so the whole thing felt small and dark. Here are a few before pics:  

Kitchen before and after on a budget
Kitchen before and after on a budget

I had just finished painting a (very small) bathroom vanity all by myself, and swore I’d never paint a cabinet again. It’s so much work! 

I started getting quotes for kitchen cabinet painting in Austin, and it’s not cheap. It’s also a pretty time consuming process, and some of the popular companies were booked out 6-8 weeks. 

(And I was in my third trimester with Dayton…just a few weeks away from his birth!) 

Kitchen cabinet before and after in Austin

I stumbled upon this paint/design company in a Facebook group. I reached out and got a quote (for the typical job, which includes demo-ing the back splash, removing all the cabinet doors and taking them to their paint studio, installing new backsplash, and then putting it all back together.) 

Every company quoted me roughly the same price, so I knew what the range should be. But this was the only company that really listened to my plan (“I want a short-term fix on this kitchen until we’re able to do our dream kitchen makeover in a few years”) and came up with a solution: paint the backsplash, paint the cabinets with the doors still on, and create a slightly-less-longterm (but still high quality) kitchen makeover. 


I won’t list specific prices, because I want to respect the fact that contractors need to raise their prices periodically. But I’ll say that they were willing to listen to my needs and come up with a plan that fit perfectly. 

The Details

Paint colors: Sherwin Williams Iron Ore and High Reflective White

New cabinet handles: these and they’re about $1 each if you buy a big pack. (We used various sizes for different drawers/cabinets.)

Other updates: a new sink faucet (the old one was broken!) and a new dishwasher (ditto.) The splurged on a wonderful new dishwasher that we can use in the kitchen remodel, too. 

Kitchen runners: some ruggable washable runners. Tbh, I’m not sure I love them in here. I loooove my ruggable in the playroom because it’s a big rug that has furniture on top of it. Since there’s no furniture on top of these in the kitchen, they slide around a lot.

kitchen runners

FAQs on painting kitchen cabinets

What color did you use? 

Sherwin Williams Iron Ore on the bottom, and Sherwin Williams High Reflective White on top. I’m clueless on choosing colors, but our painting/design company helped me.

How long does it take? 

This only took 5 days! I had to clear the cabinets out the day before they started (1 day) and put it all back together when they were done (1 day), so in total it was a 7 day project. 

The entire kitchen was closed off to us during that week with heavy-duty plastic tarps, so we just ate out for a week. 

Kitchen Cabinet Before and After Austin

Did you paint your backsplash? 

Yes! This paint job was a year ago, and I can now say that it has held up beautifully. There’s one small nick where I accidentally scratched it with a phone charger in the first week while it was still setting, but other than that, there are no scratches or chips.

(Pic of the scratch below, if you’re interested.)

Painted kitchen backsplash in Austin Texas
Painted kitchen backsplash in Austin Texas

How long does it last? 

Both the painted cabinets and painted backsplash typically last 10-15 years! When I told our painters that I was looking for a “quick fix” job, they were able to leave the cabinets on and paint it faster (and cheaper) than a 10-15 year job. The result is that these kitchen cabinets should stay in good shape for 3-5 years, which is exactly what I need.

Is it expensive?

Compared to a complete kitchen renovation, it’s very reasonable! But if you’re looking for a temporary fix, I think that hiring kitchen cabinet painters is a bit pricey. It all depends on what you value in your home and where you enjoy spending your money. Getting our kitchen to a less-depressing state was 100% worth it to me. 

Kitchen cabinet before and after
kitchen update in Austin Texas
Kitchen cabinet before and after
Kitchen cabinet before and after
Kitchen renovation before and after

I remember the morning after the cabinet paint job was finished, I was putting all of the stuff back in the cabinets and Nate walked in and said, “wow, I don’t feel stressed out when I walk into our kitchen anymore.” 

Mission accomplished. 

While I wouldn’t call this my “dream kitchen,” it is soooo much better than it was. It’s something I can live with for several years as I dream up the kitchen that I want to have in the future. 

Now that we’ve replaced the dishwasher and faucet, it’s a totally functional kitchen. Back when the kitchen was brown/yellow, it took up so much of my mental space! I’d walk into the kitchen in the morning to make my coffee and instantly start thinking about all the things I wanted to change, and then I’d google paint colors, and then I’d start searching for painting companies “just in case…” 

Now that it’s all done, it takes up zero mental or emotional space. My kitchen makes me happy, and I know that I can live with it (even the parts that I don’t love, like the countertops and range) for several years. 

Thanks for stopping by to see the kitchen! Even though this project was a year ago, I’m glad that I waited to share it. I’ve been able to see how the paint was able to hold up, and now I’m able to give you a slightly better review on painting a tile backsplash. 

If you want to see another little home project, here’s my living room gallery wall. I’ll share some more bits and pieces of the house soon! 

Have a great day, friends. XO. 

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