Budget-Friendly Kitchen Refresh

Last week, I shared a few snapshots on Instagram Stories + Snapchat of our rental kitchen. It was lackluster, to say the least. I hinted that we were in the process of doing a refresh and I received a lot of excited messages from you about the project. I’m excited to finally show you the reveal of this budget-friendly kitchen refresh.

When we first moved into this rental, we talked about refreshing the kitchen because it was so boring. However, we had to keep in mind that this was a rental and there was only so much we could actually update/change. With that said, I’ve saved about a million different ideas to my Pinterest board and I’m excited to say that my favorite pins have finally come to life! Thanks to my good friends at Lowe’s I was able to turn this boring rental kitchen into a bright + beautiful focal point in our main living space.


What I Dislike: When we first moved in we knew that this house was only temporary until we found something we wanted to buy. To be honest, we were so excited to have a kitchen that was actually a part of the main living space that I didn’t care the backsplash was outdated or that the counter tops were laminate. I was finally able to cook + wash dishes while the TV played my favorite shows. SCORE!

When my husband was stationed in San Diego, we lived in a tiny 900 square foot home that had the worst kitchen on the face of the earth. Okay...maybe that’s being a bit dramatic but seriously, it was bad. I was thrilled to see that our new place had nice cabinets, an actual back-splash (even if it wasn’t my preferred taste) and a deep sink with a functioning garbage disposal. There are a few dislikes that I have with this kitchen.

  • Discolored Laminate Counter Tops

  • Dark Lighting

  • Dark Cabinets

  • No Island

  • Tall Bar Counter Top

  • No Pulls on Cabinets

  • Mostly Outdated Appliances

  • Bad Decor (outdated wine theme)

What I Like: I like that this kitchen has such a high ceiling that it makes the small space feel a bit more open. I also enjoy the (only) updated appliance in the entire kitchen, the microwave. As mentioned, I was thrilled to have a kitchen that was a part of the actual main living space. Plus, there’s a ton of cabinet space throughout. Our garbage disposal in San Diego NEVER worked, so it was an entirely new experience being able to actually use this feature. Here are a few of my biggest likes:

  • High Vaulted Ceilings

  • Pantry Statement Wall

  • Abundant Cabinet Storage

  • Newer Microwave

  • In Main Living Space

Budget + Product Selections: I wanted to make this update functional, stylish and budget-friendly kitchen. I created a total budget of $2,300 for the entire makeover focusing on the important updates like replacing the outdated refrigerator, upgrading our broken faucet, adding pulls to the cabinets and most importantly...adding a fresh coat of paint to the pantry wall that would really *pop* with our new decor. If my budget didn’t allow for all of these updates, I can honestly say that a stylish painted wall can make a world of difference in any space!

TOTAL SPENT: $2,250 (after taxes)

After Reveal: I’m absolutely stunned by how amazing this budget-friendly kitchen looks! I’m in love with our new Whirlpool stainless steel refrigerator and I think the satin nickel cabinet pulls + Moen kitchen faucet are the best decisions I made during this entire project. I was nervous about choosing a paint color that would match the outdated back-splash yet bring bright color to this rather dull and dark kitchen. The Lowe’s associates at my store were extremely friendly and super helpful when it came to picking out my statement paint color for the pantry. I love this color so much that I decided to take it one step further and paint this under the bar top, as well. Since we really disliked the counter tops, we added white marble contact paper to them. This was so much easier to do than I expected. If this wasn’t a rental, I’d definitely want to upgrade the counter tops, consider repainting the cabinets and update the back-splash. But overall, I love how everything turned out and I’m excited that I finally have a kitchen that doesn’t include outdated wine-themed decor and boring beige walls.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Lowe’s for working with me on this project. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


I've been getting a ton of messages from you asking about the faux marble contact paper. Here are the instructions:

You'll need:


  • Start by cleaning the surface you will be covering in contact paper. Wipe it with a damp cloth and allow to dry.

  • After cutting the paper to size, peel the edge of the backing. Then carefully and gently place it over the sticky edge, leaving the 1 inch allowance.

  • Lift the edge of the contact paper and place it over the edge of the counter and press it into place. Then flip the surface over so that the contact paper is on top.

  • Next, take the wallpaper smoother and press the adhesive side of the contact paper down onto the counter while slowly peeling back the paper backing. Go in smooth strokes, pushing out any air bubbles a small section at a time.

  • Work slowly to push out all the bubbles so that the surface looks smooth. If any air bubbles do get trapped, you can pull the adhesive back and try to smooth it down again. If there are bubbles at the end, an easy fix is to poke them with a pin to release the air and then press the sticker down

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