Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kitchen before and after: the huge difference paint and accessories can make

When I put together my spring home tour a couple weeks back, I found some older photos of the kitchen and couldn't believe the difference. I wanted to share so you can see what a huge difference mostly paint and cosmetic changes can make in a space.

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Sooooo...big difference, huh?  I do love the spanish and mediterranean accessories I had -- even the hand-painted backsplash. Honestly, I cringe at how horrible the photography is, but the styling is not really that bad -- aside from the medium-toned-wood overload.

After our built-in microwave over the stove caught on fire, I replaced it with a low budget hood and tiled behind the stove. 

I had kind of an English cottage look going on.

I took the doors off the cabinet below the sink and made a ruffled sink skirt. I had painted over the backsplash, but never liked it as it just blended into the wood. Not sure what I was thinking when I did that.

Then, I found a paint color from the old house and painted the kitchen blue. I totally changed out the accessories for vintage, farmhouse, and country items I found around the property, which was originally a pheasant farm.

Then we made wood countertops from antique wormy chestnut boards, and replaced one upper cabinet with open shelving.

That made a huge difference and one that was well worth all the work. 

From there, I have frequently changed out the sink skirt, window treatments, rugs and accessories.

I went with blue and yellow for a summer look.

After finding the floral fabric at a local fabric shop, I changed out the cafe curtains for longer window treatments and brought back the bamboo shade.

Last Christmas, I added the red back in and loved it with the blue.

After Christmas, I painted over the blue with a light, neutral gray and kept the red for a totally different look.

Then, I brought back in the pink for spring and simplified the colors to mostly cream with pops of hot pink in the rug, towel and flowers.

As summer came, I added even more color in the accessories, and brought back the global feel with an Indian sari made into a sink skirt, brass accessories, blue and white Japanese porcelain and a floral rug.

The island countertop actually got a spray-painted makeover a couple years ago and has held up well.

I traded the sari sink skirt for the plain muslin one and changed the rug to an Afghan kilim.

After Christmas, I changed the rug out to a different Turkish kilim and simply draped a sari across the rod for a more Bohemian look.

I have to say I am really in love with how it looks now. There are things I have collected from all around the world next to family treasures and thrifted items.

Yes, there are things I would love to change, like removing the cabinets by the stove and replacing with open shelving, a new range hood, and totally redoing the island to a rectangular shape with quartz countertop.

...and I'd love to change the chandelier to something gold/brass and more mid-century modern, as well as different bar stools. And on and on.

But in the meantime, it's amazing what simple changes can do to totally change the look of a room. 
Textiles, paint, accessories and color can really give a tired space a new look without a lot of commitment or cost. And that's the kind of decorating I like best. 

What do you do to freshen up the look in your rooms?

I'll be joining:
Wow us Wednesdays
Sundays at Home
May Before and After


  1. Omg! Love all the looks! I especially LOVE all your sink skirts!!! You have inspired me to change up my look! I am a red and white gingham girl!! My skirt is such as well as tablecloths in my farm kitchen! Pove your open shelving with the row of cups! Would you consider making me a ruffle sink skirt like yours!! I'll gladly pay you! My email is papjohngram@yahoo.com! Thanks Anita,Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy, thank you so much:-) Yes, I can definitely make a skirt for you...I'll email you.

  • Kathleen GeorgeApril 12, 2016 at 6:20 PM

    Your travel treasures, family heirlooms and thrift finds makes your home full of love and memories. Wonderful ideas on your wish list . Always love your dishware collections and your moms:) What a difference without the cupboard and adding the beautiful wood counter.
    Kathleen in Az

    1. Thanks Kathleen! We love those changes with the wood too!

  • Wow. I can't believe the changes you've made over the past few years Anita. I remember the first look that I thought was so dark and heavy and enjoyed the change to the soft blue walls and cottage look, and now the newest look. I enjoy changing out accessories in my home decor through the year/seasons and am lucky to have a lot of things to choose from. Sometimes I get in a rut though, as we all do, and this spring I introduced more aqua and coral which is so bright and cheery. I still need to get the backsplash done in our kitchen which is now 5 years old!! Talk about procrastination. Have a great day.

    1. Thanks Pamela!! I have yet to actually choose and commit to a backsplash, so I know how that goes:-)

  • I loved all of the looks, too! Lots of color, everything neat and clean. Looks like the perfect kitchen.

  • All the looks are beautiful! Honestly, though, my favorite is with the blue walls. It's a beautiful shade - can you tell me the name of the paint color? Thank you!

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  • Do you a blog post and how you redid the kitchen cabinets? I love the color you used and wonder what is is and how you did it.

    1. I tried to click on your comment and accidentally removed it, so glad there were two!! There is a post on "The Blue Kitchen" but I revamped them since then. I sanded lightly and painted the cabinets with two coats of "Grand Smoky Mountain" by Colorplace at Walmart. I then sanded lightly and distressed then went over them with dark wax. I used minwax, but there many more options now. Hope that helps!


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