Before I became a homeowner, DIY projects scared the pants off me. I assumed anyone who could self-transform a space from murky to magical was far more gifted and creative than I could ever hope to be. Luckily I was born in the day and age of blogs, where ordinary people post super-crafty-full-of-awesomeness tutorials, pictures, and explanations of things they’ve done to their house that supposedly aren’t “that hard.” The more I saw photo after photo of kitchens going from outdated and gag to beautiful and wow for incredibly affordable price tags, I started saying to myself, “maybe it really isn’t that hard.” The next thing I knew, I was knee deep in paint, primer, electric sanders, grout, tile spacers, and a whole bunch of other things I never pictured myself spending money on. We transformed our once early 90s style, Formica counter-topped, maple cabinet outfitted kitchen to a fresh, fairly modern gray and white themed space.
We saved major moolah by buying the tile from a local online marketplace. The second biggest money-saver was doing all the grunt work ourselves. It meant 100+ man-hours of sanding, priming, painting, tiling, grouting (is that a word?), and sealing. Was it a complete pain that took over our lives for a couple of weeks, requiring us to give up all our spare time and eat only fast food? Yep. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
I strongly suggest hiring an interior designer for an hour consultation to help pick the right colors for your new space. My uber talented designer friend spent an entire evening with me in my kitchen picking the perfect shades of white and gray. I had heard one-too-many nightmare stories of DIYers who spent the same amount of hours on their projects, only to find themselves unhappy or underwhelmed by their final product. The most common reason people listed for disappointment was poor color choice.
Our project isn’t picture perfect. We certainly have a few uneven spaces between our self-tiled backsplash, and there are definitely a couple of visible brush strokes on our cabinets if you look really closely. But the money we saved allowed us to create my (almost) dream kitchen at least a year or two sooner than we probably would have invested in having it professionally remodeled.