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suzysm07470

HELP! My dated, white kitchen needs an update

Suzy SM
6 years ago

I have a dated, white kitchen, in serious need of an update.


But... I can't spend a lot of money.


This kitchen is in perfect condition, but... it's from 1998. I am sure in 1998, it was quite stylish.


Some details. I AM updating the appliances, and I AM getting a counter depth fridge. I was jkust going to get stainless but my DH seems to be falling in love with new darker look ones.


I can definitely do new counter and backsplash along with the appliances, because they are awful. The counters are tile and the backsplash is dreadful!! So I am changing those.


My sticking point is the cabinets. they are good quality cabinets. They don't need replacement. But I HATE white kitchens. the room opens to the family room which will be all warm, earthy tones. and it just doesn't complement it.


We are considering doing that cream type of glaze that gives almost an antique look. Since those have dark accents it might look nice with the darker appliances. The Counters and backsplash we can decide once we have a solution for the cabinets.


Little things like faucet, knobs, handles, we can definitely do.


The table is going to be replaced with something smaller as are the stools.


Any ideas?


I welcome them all!!


Two photos attached.



Comments (47)

  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You have a great space to work with, where small tweaks can have a huge impact! If it's in the budget, the first thing I'd do is knock your peninsula down to a single level. That will automatically update the look of the whole space.

    If your cabinets are in good shape, I think you should consider painting them instead of glazing them. I've always found that glaze on white cabinets just makes them look like they have a bit of a dirty film on them. Because it's such a nice open space with great lighting, I think you could look at a muted blue or green color to paint out the cabinets and it would look amazing.

    Suzy SM thanked rebeccamomof123
  • cpartist
    6 years ago

    What is your budget?

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  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the suggestions. I really like the idew about making the counter one level!!!! That is much more updated!!!

    I don’t care for painted cabinets either...I was thinking of the attached look which is traditional I know but seems to coordinate better with the open adjoining room

    is this the type of glaze you say come out Poorly?

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Budget not counting appliances is probably 5-7 at the out. It is more that we don’t want the trouble of ripping out, etc. if we can salvage the cabinets and stop them from being white and get rid of the offensive countertops and the horrible backsplash.

  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago

    Can you post a close-up picture of one of your cabinet doors? I'm not really sure the glaze would change your look all that much if you don't have grooves and detail for it to accent. If you're opposed to painting the cabinets, what about keeping the white but painting the wall a more dramatic color to change the look? Are you planning on doing the work yourself? If not, your a budget of around 5- 7K will barely get you new appliances, backsplash and counters, depending on where you live, and assuming you want some sort of tile and stone.

    Suzy SM thanked rebeccamomof123
  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago

    Sorry, just noticed that your budget is not including appliances. That should put you in a much better place!

    Suzy SM thanked rebeccamomof123
  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Actually as I am loo,Int at pictures the white cabinets with regular stainless I think I could live with them if I level off the counter and change the counter and backsplash I could love with the white cabinets


    whta do U all think?

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Yeah I am moving past glazing the cabinets

    I would rather spend the money on the leveled counter and new counter and backsplash and a new sink and hardware.

    especially since the kitchen remodeling guy said they are excellent quality.

    So now I just need to have ideas for the counter and backsplash!!

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Thank you all this is so helpful!!!

  • cpartist
    6 years ago

    What is the quality of the cabinets you have? Wood with plywood boxes?

    Suzy SM thanked cpartist
  • jhmarie
    6 years ago

    I was hunting for pics when you changed your mind, but if you change it again, green cabinet might work with your earthy tones.




    If you want to stay white, I think you can work with the cabinets as they are. Some things I will throw out - Consider putting in a hood since you have plenty of counter space for microwave - perhaps over by the glass door cabinets. There are a few "short apron" apron front sinks that can be installed on a standard sink base cabinet if that would go with your new look. Consider roman shades, curtains or bamboo / wood type shades for a more earthy look.

    Suzy SM thanked jhmarie
  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    All terrific ideas! People on this site are so creative!!

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    The kitchen guy said they were gop notch and it would be a shame tonremove or even paint them. When the person who could make money off the job says it would be a shame to do it.... that is my clue to not do it

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thinking something like this in terms of coloring, but a bit more streamlined and modern

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

  • jhmarie
    6 years ago

    Start with finding a warm toned countertop you love. From that, you can pull colors for walls, window treatments and backsplash and art.


    Suzy SM thanked jhmarie
  • Nothing Left to Say
    6 years ago

    I might consider doing something different with that area to the right of your pantry. The upper cabinet looks different from the rest of the kitchen? Would it be possible to take that out and install open shelves? And I would think about using a butcher block counter there and painting just that lower cabinet a different color.


    Suzy SM thanked Nothing Left to Say
  • H202
    6 years ago

    I think you have a pretty easy kitchen to update on that generous budget. Here's what i would do:

    - keep the cabs. They are nice and will stay timeless with these, and future updates. You'll regret painting or staining them.

    - stainless appliances. I wouldn't do the darker. I'd actually recommend a white gloss dishwasher. We put one in our white reno a couple years ago and got a ton of complements. Bosch dw, and blends in much better than stainless without having the retro paneled dw. I've seen a couple other friends do this in the past year. Counter depth fridge. Get a slide in range with knobs on the front.

    - level the pennisula. New stools.

    - new countertop and backsplash. I wouldn't use the color combo you picked above. That look is almost as dated to me as your current kitchen look. Very 2000s. I'd look on houzz and find white kitchens schemes that appeal to you. Lots of white kitchens feel warm and contemporary. My personal feel is that, when people add brown granite and travertine backsplashes in an attempt to warm it, to me it does the opposite -- makes the cabinets look harsh and white because they don't really work with the browns. I think matching white cabinets with a soft white marble and plain white backsplash is a far warmer look that trying to force brown against cool painted white cabinets, esp with your wood floors. But to each their own.

    - i wouldn't' describe your attached family room as "warm" colors. It looks sage green to me, which was also a trending color at the time your kitchen was put in. I think the wall color is contributing to the dated look, and making the white cabinets look harsh.

    - Update the cabinet hardware. What you have is fine, but definitely was standard circa 2000. Lots more interesting styles to update the look.

    - get rid of that upper box to the right of the pantry. Open shelving.

    - ditch the hanging light. I am never a fan of pendants.

    - ditch the knick knacks above the cabinets. I like the idea above to do some minimalist molding up to the ceiling. Or there are tons of ideas if you google this - fill it with horizontal cookbooks, do simple white low bowls, etc. It's such a short drop, you could even get someone to install your existing cabinets up to the ceiling.

    - ditch the vertical blinds


    Suzy SM thanked H202
  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    FYI sage green is the new neutral color for 2018. I guess since you waited long enough, it came back in ;)

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/2018-new-neutral-pinterest-trend-sage-green-253684

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks for all these suggestions!! Everyone here has such an eye for decor and remodeling I came to the right place!!!

    first a disclaimer - I have not even moved in yet.

    The picture Represents the previous owners decor, not mine, from the real estate listing!

    so, the attached family room will not have any green - i think I just have to change the plans for the family room to be more muted so it coordinates better with the whit kitchen

    The following are going away for sure: the table that is there, those stools, and the hanging fixture, the window treatments, the Knick knacks, the clocks, the painting, hardware, etc all bye bye

    The odd little section near the window came like that in all the carriage houses. I have seen some others in the complex who did replace it with cabinets or shelves and neither worked perfectly. We are going to live with it for a while to see if we can think of anything better

    we are definitely not painting the cabinets and going with all stainless appliances (it is kind of a package deal), changing hardware and all the decor appointments and window treatments

    Also we are definitely leveling the counter and doing new countertops and backsplashes

    I know what you mean about the effect of trying warm it up maybe doing the opposite.

    instead I just have to suck it up, I have a white kitchen that i don’t like, but since I can’t afford to replace it, I can update It to be more stylish, and then I coordinate the color and style of the adjoining room complement the kitchen!

    You can’t win em all!!

  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago

    I like crl's idea of treating the area to the right of the pantry door as its own separate space. It could make a perfect little coffee nook with some open shelving and maybe a chalkboard backsplash.

    Your inspiration pic is a little more formal then some of the ideas were suggesting, so you'll have to decide if these ideas work together for the design style that you're looking for.

    Also, Google "painted pantry doors" and you'll see you can make a dramatic statement by painting out just your pantry door an accent color, for very little money



    Suzy SM thanked rebeccamomof123
  • wilson853
    6 years ago

    If you plan to keep the white cabinets, I would stain the floor darker. It will warm up the space.

    Suzy SM thanked wilson853
  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    The floors are off limits - have to work with them as they are , unfortunately!

    wish I could change it!

  • H202
    6 years ago

    I love the idea of the painted pantry door. I'd have that be the only color in the kitchen. Keep everything else white/greige/warm grey.

    Suzy SM thanked H202
  • mayflowers
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    How long do you plan to live in this home? The cabinets are still 20 years old and not getting any younger. A lot has changed in kitchen functionality in 20 years too. So I'd think about the long-term and not hold onto the cabinets only because they are in good shape. Our cabinets were only 12 years old and we sold them on Craigslist.

    You have room for an awesome kitchen but the fridge and pantry are smack dab in the middle of your prep space, forcing the sink to be on the peninsula instead of on the same run as your stove. That gives you no counter space to spread out as you prep. The hutch area is mostly decorative and is stealing more prep space. Moving the fridge down and using a pull-out pantry would allow the main sink to move to that run of cabinets. You could add a prep sink to the peninsula, which would be better for seating on the peninsula if you go one-level.

    We started with a plan to only replace our tile countertop and get new appliances, but then we wanted to change the countertop to one level and then we didn't like the pantry that pushed the fridge too close to the stove and the cabinets short of the ceiling and base cabinets that we had to get down on our knees and dig through, and then we thought it might be foolish to set all those flaws in very expensive stone. End result:

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Your remodel looks very nice. Hope U r enjoying it. We are only there for a few years and then out.

    A complete remodel is definitely not on our agenda. We will leave that to the next buyers.

    We actually did a big, complete remodel in our current house 7 years ago so I do understand what is possible.

    I actually think it easier to do a complete remodel than a salvage operation.

    But I don’t want to spend the two me or money or effort on a complete remodel.

    Plus we never cook like never and actually we don’t really even eat in there

    its located in a complex such that they are still selling very well even with the original kitchens. We bought right price so w can sell for appropriate price too

    We just want to buy ne appliances and then can spend 5-7 k tops so that we don’t feel like we are going back to Y2K every time we get a glass or water of cup of coffee!!!

  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    I would just paint the pantry door and the walls to provide a relief from all the white. Replace the appliances as needed. Why spend $10,000 of your hard-earned money for someone else to enjoy it in a few years?

    Suzy SM thanked mayflowers
  • rebeccamomof123
    6 years ago

    In that case, I'd bring your peninsula to one level as priority #1, paint your pantry door a fun color, a greenish gray could complement your wall color or even an emerald green. See if you can update your backsplash without a full removal, by either having it sprayed a monotone cream or just replace the peach (?) diamond tiles with the same color as the rest. Add in your new appliances, and a neutral granite of your choice. I'd update some of the frames on your artwork throughout, new bar stools and a new light fixture over the dining area. Done and on budget. Don't mess with bringing cabinets up to the ceiling or redoing floors or any of that, that goes along with a much more significant project.

    You'll be amazed at how much more updated the whole space will look with those changes.

    Suzy SM thanked rebeccamomof123
  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    I know what you mean. But I would spend the 5 to 7 k so that we can enjoy it for the next 5 years. :-)

    I keep trying to figure out what the original builders were thinking with that pantry and side cabinet thing!!

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    Thanks Rebecca. Btw I didn’t even move in yet. All that stuff you mention us fall going away. I did not decorate those rooms all that and more time nckudibgvstooks and tables are going bye bye!!


  • barncatz
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    What I don't especially like about your inspiration photo is the over exuberant use of the granite on walls and counters, and the lighting styles. I think that granite with a cream subway tile could work here.

    Lights really do make a huge difference. Get a new pendant and either swag it so it is centered over the table or use a chase for external wiring to do so.

    I agree that marble look alike quartz and white tiles are a warm look with white cabinets. However, if quartz blows up the budget, you don't need to choose gold or brown granite. A honed or leathered gray or black or green could read warm. There are also many lighter 'white'granites to consider, some of which will have gold or brown tones in them.

    I also agree the space would look better without the non-matching glass cabinets. I would leave the counter the same since it's on an already busy wall facing the living space. If you chose a marble look alike counter, or a honed black, gray, or white granite, I love rebecca's idea of a chalkboard wall in that area instead, with shelves.

    Suzy SM thanked barncatz
  • Anthony C
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    based on what you said on the values of the condos I would do as little as possible. For an update I would:

    1) replace tile countertops with a solid stone/quartz, change out the backsplash to something with a little dark in it.

    2) replace cabinet pulls

    3) replace that glass front cabinet by the sliding door with a full width and undermount the microwave there

    4) install a vent hood + new appliances.

    5) replace kitchen table with something more transitional/modern

    6) replace light fixture over kitchen table

    7) undermount sink

    Stainless steel appliances (or the charcoal ones), darker table, cabinet pulls and light fixture might be enough to break up the whitewashed monotony of the kitchen.

    I personally like the two level peninsulas and for whatever reason they dont look dated to me. Plus they are functional to keep water from the sink from going over to the other side. When we have parties it works great as a bar for serving drinks. In our new house we got rid of the two tier, but are replacing it with a single tier bar height peninsula. Not for everyone for sure..

    I personally prioritize function over form so dont worry as much about what is in and out of style (that is my wife's job).

    Suzy SM thanked Anthony C
  • wilson853
    6 years ago

    Since you are planning to sell in a few years, I would install black granite countertops which can be had rather inexpensively, (uba tuba) and paint the pantry door. Virtually any color works with black and white, can easily be painted if you change your mind and will also look good with your floors. Black and white kitchens have never gone out of style and never will. I definitely would not do any type of low end speckled granite which upon install would automatically date the space, and is much harder to work around. Many shades of blue have been popular the last few years, like navy islands, so I would go that route on the pantry door. If the MW is vented to the outside, I would remove the uppers over the stove and install a stainless hood like the hood that mayflowers used and tile all the way up to the ceiling. You could then re-use one of those adjacent cabinets next to the MW and make a straight cabinet run on the refrigerator wall or just install shelves into the corner. It would be a much cleaner, bright open space.


    Suzy SM thanked wilson853
  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    With a table so close, do you really think you'll sit on uncomfortable bar stools? When we lowered our bar by removing the pony wall, we added 12" deep cabinets on the back side. You will need to remove the pony wall and I doubt the hardwood goes under it, so cabinets are a solution if you're willing to eliminate seating. You might just get new cabinets for the peninsula because a sink base is cheap and you could change the drawers to a trash pullout while keeping a top drawer for silverware. You might also consider a cabinet for glasses and barware on that short peninsula wall where you won't have to walk them across the room to be put away. With a one-level peninsula, you'll have room for a wall cabinet. The entire peninsula could then be a different wood or color than the kitchen.

    Suzy SM thanked mayflowers
  • mayflowers
    6 years ago

    The cabinet wilson posted is very nice and that could go on your peninsula wall to provide a display area and glass storage. With a peninsula, you can only open the cabinet closest to the edge of the counter and it needs to be hinged left, which is why when I redesigned my peninsula uppers, I left the last cabinet open for display.

    I will say that when the cabinets stop short of the ceiling, neither a chimney hood nor tiling to the ceiling is my favorite look. A SS canopy hood is a better choice. The stove wall isn't a focal point anyway so I'd shoot for function instead of looks.




  • cpartist
    6 years ago

    The kitchen guy said they were gop notch and it would be a shame tonremove or even paint them. When the person who could make money off the job says it would be a shame to do it.... that is my clue to not do it

    Absolutely! My mom moved into her house in 1983 and the cabinets were top notch too. Totally custom and gorgeous oak. She stained them a darker color and when the house was sold in 2015, they still looked fresh and beautiful. (The rest of the kitchen, not so much. LOL)

    I like the idea of making the peninsula all one height.

    I would do an under mount sink.

    Paint the walls not the cabinets.

    New granite or quartz or whatever you prefer.

    New cabinet pulls and knobs.

    I would consider changing out the pantry door and doing one that has frosted glass on the top half and then painting it a fun color.

    One other thing I'd do is to create a large crown molding so it appears the cabinets go to the ceiling.

    New backsplash.

    BTW: I agree about not using beige/tans.

  • bpath
    6 years ago

    I keep trying to figure out what the original builders were thinking with that pantry and side cabinet thing!!

    The side cabinet thing doesn't look original. I suspect there was a desk-type area there, and the previous owners added the base and wall cabinets. They don't match the other cabinets, and a kitchen desk was almost a given in that era.

  • vintagestuf
    6 years ago

    Coincidentally, I am in a similar position: white cabinets, honey oak floors. My white cabinets are also good. House built in 2002. My cabinets have what is called a foil overlay, and I do not think paint would adhere properly. Before you knock down raised counter along peninsula, keep in mind that your sink (and any sink messes) will be quite visible from your living space. Mine is exposed and wish i could get a raised counter. As soon as I clean up my sink mess, I’ll share a photo. Lol. If your sink was not in the peninsula, I would agree with others that it would look more updated. Your kitchen already has a nice open layout.

  • wilson853
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You can get a 30" Bertazzoni hood and range at Designer Home Surplus and its available with a recirculating kit if you don't have outside venting. Since you never cook, I would not worry about losing the cabinets on either side of the hood, but if you need them you could knock out the panel and add glass. I bought my Capital range top from DHS and it shipped to me with no problem. I agree with cpartist. I would take your cabinets to the ceiling with fascia and crown.

  • Chessie
    6 years ago

    If one never cooks, why would one want to spend so much on a range?

  • wilson853
    6 years ago

    That's entirely up to the OP to decide where she wants to put her $$$. We all know that kitchens sell houses and even if the OP is just boiling water, it doesn't hurt to make the space look pretty. Off the top of my head, I can remember one kitchen reveal on here that had every bell and whistle, and an owner who made no bones about not cooking. I pass no judgment. Not everyone loves cooking. Its nice to have a kitchen that you love, even if all you are doing is heating up takeout most of the time.

    MAS304GASXE.php

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    To vintagestuff - that is a good point about the sink on the island, but... I never cook. I mean like sometimes for weeks I don't cook. So, while I recognize that concern, I am not too worried about it. There is rarely anything in my sink and I don't mind the sink being seen from the family room.


    to wilson853 - I am definitely looking at hoods, I think it changes the look a lot, and I like them. We are definitely considering adding the fascia and crown. I have that in my current kitchen and I love it!

    To chess: actually, I am not considering that beautiful range in the pictures. I am looking at a pretty cheap LG :-) I don't need expensive appliances, just decent and stylish.

    To BPatHome - We do not know if the post-pantry weird stuff was original, we can't find an original owner. I can't imagine why they liked that back then! It's kinda weird but... it's mine soon lol

  • Chessie
    6 years ago

    Suzy, I didn’t think you were looking for anything like that either - it did not make sense from what I had read so far-I just thought perhaps I had missed something. That was why I made the comment

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    To Chess, no, you read it right. I could actually deal with a much smaller utilitarian kitchen, but... this kitchen is pretty prominent in this townhouse so we want it to look decent. Even if I am not using it much, I will be looking at it a lot, and the way the previous owners had it, doesn't make me happy when I look at it!

    I am separately going to post the bathrooms. Just wait til you see them :-)

  • mayflowers
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    You could beadboard the wall above that end cabinet and hang shelves. The beadboard could be painted a color.

    Or you could use wide beadboard for a more modern farmhouse look.

  • Suzy SM
    Original Author
    6 years ago

    I cannot thank everyone enough for all the good advice and great ideas! You are all so talented! Once we move in we will be making decisions and I will be sure to post the results, whenever it's done!!

    This week I will be posting photos of the bathrooms that we will eventually redo once we move in and asking for advice on them too.

    Thank you all again!

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