{From Gloom to Glam} How We Upgraded Our Kitchen on a Budget

November 19, 2017

One of the many home improvement projects that Will and I have on the list is to modernize our kitchen. We actually have a decent and functional kitchen now, so we don't need to do a complete overhaul like my parents' home few years ago. But, the colour and hardware aren't exactly to our liking so we're making updates from time to time.

But, we didn't want to break the bank to transform our kitchen to that of our dream. So, we decided to tackle the project ourselves and find ways to do our own upgrades to save us some costs.

Here's a guide to how we upgraded our kitchen for less:

Replace the cabinet hardware 

When we bought our home, the kitchen cabinets came with antique looking metal knobs that was a little dated for our taste. So we wanted to start off with the simpler task. And that was to replace all of these completely to more modern looking handles.

But, the cost to replace all 27 of these knobs add up if we were to purchase them in places like Home Depot. And although, some of their knobs and handles are offered in a value pack of 10, the choices are limited. So, we ended up buying some nice ones from Taobao. Taobao is an online marketplace that is very similar to Amazon except that they are all suppliers from China. And you know what that also means? Prices are very very competitive. We spent about $3.60 each per hardware. Alternatively, you could also purchase in bulk from Amazon for a more hassle-free experience.

We went with the handles that complement well with our counter top and cabinet doors, and a design that don't catch onto our clothing. We first measured the distance between the holes of the handle and drilled into our cabinet doors using a cardboard template (Michelle from Lovely Impressions had a tutorial here).



For the hardware on the drawers, we didn't want to fill in the current holes and drill more holes to fit the handles. So instead, we purchased classic brushed nickle knobs from Home Depot, which costed us about $4.28 each.

We love how this simple change had made our kitchen look more modern already!

Replace cabinet hinges to soft-closing hinges

Next, we wanted to replace our hinges so that when we close the cabinet doors, they will close slowly and quietly. This wasn't something anybody would notice. It was more of a functional change than for aesthetics. But for me, it was an important one. Will is a bit rough when he closes our cabinet doors. As a result, all the banging doors keep waking me up every morning and it has become quite annoying.

We purchased our soft-closing hinges from Taobao again which costed us approximately $2 CDN each. You could also buy from places like Ikea. Since ours was from online, we wanted to be careful and bought half the number of hinges we currently have. We installed 1 soft-closing hinge and kept the other hinge original for each door. That way, if the quality was poor, at least we would have less to throw away. But, in the end, installing 1 soft-closing hinge is enough for the effect we needed. And now, we actually spent less than we originally needed! I absolutely LOVE these soft-closing hinges and this was one of the best improvements we did. I recommend everyone to invest in these little gems, especially if you have kids ;)

Add under cabinet lighting

For our under cabinet lighting, it was a little bit tricky. The first thing we did was to plan how we wanted our wires to go so that they could be plugged into one outlet. We didn't want the wires to show on the outside so we had to find a way to hide them as well. We wanted to install lights along the side where the stove is but the range hood also sits in between the cabinetry. With so many considerations in mind, we purchased these LED under cabinet lighting in soft white colour. They not only fit our bill but they are also very versatile and well made with a touch sensor to activate the light. The lights didn't seem too complicated to install as well, all we needed to do is stick them up under our cabinets with the 3M tape that came with them.

We measured the length of the cabinets on each side and selected a similar length for the LEDs. We also asked the supplier to provide us with an adapter to connect both of the LEDs together.

Our plan was to utilize the space inside the range hood cover and hide the adapter. We measured where our LED light would stick, and drilled holes into our cabinet to run the wire inside. We made sure the wire runs along and close to the wall of the cabinets as much a possible. Luckily for us, there's an outlet behind our microwave in our cabinets. We routed the wires to come out to that outlet so the plug could be hidden away.

And that's it for now! In total, we spent about $200 for the entire upgrades and that was pretty good! For those of you who're willing to tackle things on your own, I'd suggest you to plan all the logistic ahead, especially where the wiring would go BEFORE you buy anything.

This is how we hide our wires inside the cabinets

Other upgrades that still need to be done

As you could probably notice, we have drawers in the kitchen. These are not "bang proof" at the moment. So, the next step for us is to source the proper soft-closing tracks for them so they could also be quiet and smooth like the rest of the cabinets.

After all these are done, perhaps we'll be in a better place to start painting our cabinets in a dreamy white colour. It's a huge project and we're still waiting for the best time to start. Stay tuned!

Our kitchen before upgrades

Kitchen after our upgrades

What do you guys think?

Disclaimer: This post was based on our personal experience and research. We found that Taobao offered the most affordable products that fit our needs. While everyone's needs are different, the usefulness of these links will depend on how much money you want to save and the extra mile you're willing to take to source these for your project. We're not affiliated with Taobao and this post is not sponsored by Taobao in any way.

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From Gloom to Glam - A Guide to Upgrade Kitchen on a Budget

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About Me

About [span]me[/span]
Hello, I'm Lorita. Hoping to inspire you to explore and create things that make life a bit more fun and beautiful.