Sunday 7 April 2013

Kitchen Makeover for under $120 - Decorating Tips, Plus How To Style Your Kitchen For Selling Your Home

If you follow my blog you will know I have been spending the past 6 months leisurely re-decorating my mothers house which has just sold pre-auction and over the next few weeks I want to share some of the room makeovers and styling tips, when presenting a home for sale.

I took a dated  kitchen in my mothers 1960's weatherboard house and gave it a mini makeover for the price of some paint a few accessories and some hard work and here's how;

Decorating steps for kitchen cupboards and woodwork:
  • Lightly sanded back all the woodwork including windows, doors and insides of cupboards 
  • Applied  primer/undercoat to  existing woodwork that had previously been painted
  • Applied a "sealer" to cupboard doors which had previously been stained
  • 2 white undercoats on top of the sealer because I was going over a dark colour
  •  Using a medium sized roller I applied 1 top coat of gloss enamel, I used a water based paint for speed and ease of cleaning brushes, however I  personally prefer oil based. I used Resene "Alabaster" which is a soft white
  • I matched the ceiling colour to the cupboards (Alabaster) but would normally use a brighter white for a kitchen ceiling. 
  • Previously painted walls were wiped down with sugar soap and then given 2 undercoats and a final top coat of Resene  low sheen "Rice Cake". Rice cake is a safe neutral white with a slightly green/grey undertone.
When it comes to styling, I've included some simple tips below. With my mothers kitchen, on the open day I added some lemons to the large white fruit bowl and some lovely smelling Rosemary from her garden in the French jug. I used mainly pieces from my own home, and a few smaller items I bought such as the black and white tea towels. If I was a professional stylist and had the furniture, I would have used a small round white tulip table and a couple of Louis ghost chairs at the end of the kitchen,  not having such items at hand I simply added a pretty black wrought iron tray stand.

I'm sharing a before photo but please bare in mind that the state of my mothers kitchen (before), is due to the re decorating of her house, items are scattered around which normally would not have been there. I had to add this as my mother would be horrified at the mess on the benches. I wanted you to see the previous dark wood doors that drew the eye, giving the appearance of a narrower room. Overall the new look appears more contemporary, lighter and brighter with the illusion of more space. All achieved with the use of paint and some styling. Any potential purchaser can live easily with this makeover, until they decide to replace it completely.

Kitchen Styling Tips:
  • Keep the colour of your kitchen light, shades of white work well as they help create a sense of space and will lighten up a dark or dingy room
  • Replace old kitchen handles with something more modern (I replaced some dated ceramic knobs with polished steel knobs, this way I did not need to drill more holes)
  • Remove any frilly or overpowering window treatments, including net curtains. Keep windows bare if possible to create an uncluttered, clean look to the kitchen
  • Make sure your windows are spotlessly clean prior to open homes
  • If you want to introduce colour use a few accent accessories but keep to a minimum. A large fruit bowl, a few accent mugs. Personally for styling a kitchen that is going to be viewed by potential buyers, black and white looks stunning.
  • Be careful when using very bright colours such as red as in an all white kitchen they can overpower and not everyone may like red.
  • Don't over accessorise - remember, less is best
  • Use a scented candle to eliminate paint smells. Unless it's the middle of winter, make sure all the windows are open when potential buyers go through
  • We all know that freshly brewed coffee is an inviting smell
A friend of mine recently styled a small kitchen for a property.  Again a black and white theme was followed by adding a few accessories such as the black canisters and glasses in the little open cupboard, the white lantern on the bench and the wall art.  Little touches that bring life to an area without cluttering it.

Decorating Musts:
  • Always use the best brush you can buy, the finish is only as good as the brush you use, you don't want hairs in the paintwork or poor application
  • A really good cutting in brush can cut down the need for masking tape if you have a steady hand
  • Use a sealer first on raw or varnished wood. Note: this is not an undercoat
  • Use a small/medium fine roller when painting cupboards or doors for a faster, stroke free finish
  • Clean stainless steel with detergent to remove grease then wipe over with baby oil applied to an absorbent kitchen towel for a perfect shine. No need for expensive, nasty supermarket chemicals, baby oil works every time and gives a fresh smell.
  • If you are painting over wallpaper and there are little areas that are not stuck down properly, use a simple white pva glue that will dry clear
  • If painting over wallpaper in a kitchen area, first use an undercoat and then use a water based paint suitable for wet areas
  • Vinyl wallpaper is best removed, however I did paint over some vinyl paper in one of the bedrooms and it is perfectly ok, as long as you prep the surface before hand by using a suitable sealer
  • Don't forget to paint the inside of the cupboards, you don't want someone to open the doors and see aged paintwork, it will spoil the overall effect and appear as if it was a rush job

A home that has been styled will always be far easier to sell than an empty house and so often worth the small expense it may cost. I will talk more about how to present your house for sale over the next few weeks.
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Next week I'll be sharing the makeover of the sun room, repainting and a little styling gave it a fresh new look.


  1. Nice change. You really updated the kitchen to look nice and new. Thank you for sharing this. Blessings Paula Lusk

    1. Thank you Paula for taking time to comment. The makeover was to present the house looking fresh and modern rather than its previously dated look.

  2. Wonderful makeover. The updated and modern approach is very inviting and would appeal to many buyers.

    1. Thank you Linda, a very simple makeover to give a fresh look to the kitchen. I had thought about updating the kitchen fully but to be honest when your selling, its highly likely the new owners will want their own style kitchen. This way it is clean and fresh, they can move in and change in their own time.

  3. Great change and for such little cost. It totally looks like a whole new space.

    1. Thank you Brandy, yes a simple coat of paint in a lighter colour can work like magic!


  4. Nowadays, kitchens have become one of the most important areas in a house which is why several homeowners are venturing into renovating their kitchens for either personal convenience or to increase home resale value. These tips you gave imparted are all so useful. Readers will surely benefit from all these. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for your comment, I don't usually accept comments with links back to business websites, however in this case I have allowed it as your comments are relevant.

      Lee :)


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