Mom’s kitchen: Dark & gloomy to bright & airy!

Apr 04 2016
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It has been said millions of times: It is amazing what paint can do! When my mom asked if we could paint her kitchen cabinets white I told her YES without a second’s hesitation. If there was ever a kitchen (or house) that needed some new paint it was my mom’s new little place that she had downsized into! She added a breezeway, front deck and two car garage last year and that had helped the house work substantially better. However, it remained small (and felt even smaller) the walls were damaged and everything was in a shade of a dark brown or pink (and several little tykes had lived here leaving lots and lots of crayon artwork on the walls). This little place needed a makeover BADLY. Especially her kitchen! So, we got to work planning to paint her kitchen cabinets white.

(NOTE: Guys, thank you so much for all of your kind words last week following the death of my dog Diesel. It was one of the hardest (and worst) things I have ever gone through. It has been a week and a day and my house remains far too quiet and far too empty. I am not yet back to the person I was before my big beasty died in my arms and, quite frankly, I probably never will be. This was a terrible shock and time for us and all of you helped me so much with your kindness. THANK YOU! This makeover I’m posting today we completed just three days before my big wonderful dog passed away.)

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Is that pink painted on the walls? Yes, yes it is…

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

How can a house so small showcase SO MANY shades of brown!?

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Her cabinets were actually in far worse shape then they looked in the pictures but I would have painted them regardless. Mom has only 600 square feet on her first floor and those dark cabinets just made it feel so much smaller! Funny thing is I always thought her kitchen was just tiny, it turned out to be a lot bigger then that when you’re painting six coats on all of the cabinets!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Mom and I took two days off from work with the plan to paint her entire first floor plus her kitchen cabinets white. I knew the time line would be extremely tight and warned my mom that we probably would not get everything finished. We started by taking all of her cabinet doors off and pulling her drawers out and setting them up in the garage. I wanted to paint the backs of the doors first so we wouldn’t be turning the freshly painted faces down to paint the backs later. So, I knew with how many coats the doors would take and, not being able to do the fronts and the backs at once, that we would probably not finish in two days time. However, I knew we would be close and only two days later she and I both had Good Friday off, so the plan was to finish up on Friday which we actually accomplished! Though, I will say we were both just SHOT! We never stopped moving except for lunch!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.
Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Once we had all of the doors and drawers out in the garage she tackled taping off all of the trim in the rest of the house (dining room, bedroom, hall, living room and bathroom) while I sanded down all of the doors, drawer fronts and then main cabinet boxes in prep for primer. I knew the first thing I had to do was start the process on the cabinets asap. So, with everything taped off and ready I started on the boxes, the backs of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with the first coat of primer. The weather was really working against us and everything took forever to dry in the garage because it was literally hovering only around forty degrees with full on freezing at night.

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

Every surface in the kitchen received six coats. We used two coats of Kilz acrylic primer, then two coats of acrylic primer and paint in one (in a satin finish) and then two coats of poly acrylic (also in a satin finish). Was it enough? Well, honestly, the cabinets really could have used one more coat of paint but we are both extremely happy with how they turned out. We put in two ten hour days and by the end of the second day (both of us extremely sore and moving quite a bit slower at this point) the entire first floor of her house was freshly painted and completely finished, the cabinet boxes and drawer fronts were done and the backs of the cabinet doors were done. We made the decision then to bring the cabinet doors inside and finish painting their fronts down in her basement which saved my backs, my knees and my sanity worrying about the freezing temperature outside. (Below freezing and water based paint just don’t mix.) We did the first coat of primer on the cabinet door fronts before I went home for a much needed hot bath. She did another coat of primer that night and then Thursday night after work I ran over there and did the first coat of paint on the cabinet door fronts and she did the second coat when she got home later. Then, Friday I came over and we hung the doors deciding to get them hung and getting all of the hardware on them before just painting on the poly acrylic with them in place. (Poly acrylic dries quickly and because it is clear it is really easy to apply.)

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

We also decided to spray paint the ugly gold hardware in her bathroom. All of her door handles are gold but all of her light fixtures are bronze so now with the gold hardware in her bathroom painted bronze all that is left to eliminate all of the gold in her house will just be her door knobs. That is a job for another day! 🙂 She plans on adding a bronze towel bar to the dummy drawer in front of her kitchen sink, she also plans on probably replacing the counter tops one day as well as adding a back splash. We still have to paint the stairwell and all of her basement but the big job is now done!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen. Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.

I don’t know about you but when it comes to my wonderful mother I just love being able to do things for her! This little house was never quite her cup of tea and when she downsized from a 4,000 square foot home that was spacious with incredible amounts of daylight (that she designed) into this 1,200 square foot box where none of the choices were her own I know she really kind of hated it. (Especially when Joe, Diesel and I were squeezing in here with her when we were renovating my house!) But now with us out of here she has grown to like her little place and it made my heart glad when she said she wanted to make it her own. I knew then that the place was really becoming her’s and she was starting to like being here. Paint does truly amazing things to a house and this light blue/gray (Three Wishes by Valspar) she chose brightened everything up to such an extent that it is almost hard to believe. Her bathroom (which has no window) was painted in a really dark brown and now it literally feels like we added a window in there with how much the paint lightened it up! I plan on posting more makeover pictures and another post or two of her entire house, especially the bathroom. And, she spent less then $400 all in when it came to paint, hardware and supplies!

Thank you again everyone!

Taking my mom's kitchen from dark and gloomy to light and airy by painting her kitchen cabinets white, her walls blue and adding new hardware. DIY kitchen.Painting out an entire dark and dated kitchen with white paint and new hardware makeover before and after diy do it yourself tutorial

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75 Comments on "Mom’s kitchen: Dark & gloomy to bright & airy!"

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Susan the Farm Quilter
Guest

Absolutely amazing difference between the before and after in that kitchen!!! Love what you did and the colors she chose – doubled the square footage visually! Still praying for you.

Ruby
Guest
So sorry for your loss of Diesel. I too lost my dog Sadie. I have also moved from a large farmhouse to a very small 1500 sq. foot house. I have changed my living room to 3 walls of red. Which I love, however the kitchen is a small galley kitchen with very dark cabinets & woodwork. I do so want to paint this white. This has really inspired me. I will flag this site so I can continue being inspired. I will also have to hire some help to help me with this, but I feel it will be… Read more »
Kimberley
Guest

Hi Tarahlynn,
Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment!
I am so sorry for the loss of your dog Diesel…we have gone through that once and it is so hard!!
What a transformation to your mom’s kitchen – you both worked so hard and it looks amazing!
Happy almost Friday!
Kimberley

Jacki Salinas
Guest

Looks great! What a good daughter you are, and as a mom, I know how much your help meant to your mom.

Cecilia Styles
Guest

My you do beautiful work the colors are wonderful the style is great ,thank you for sharing and letting us see
thanks GOD bless .
Cecilia

Diana
Guest

So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog, Tarah 🙁 You sure blessed the sox of your mother! What a wonderful transformation. Thanks so much for linking up with Vintage Charm–

Sue
Guest

Your kitchen transformation is amazing! I’m planning on doing the same, painting my cabinets white and I can only hope it turns out as beautiful as what you had done. What is the color you painted the kitchen, it looks fantastic…I’m finding it so difficult to find the “right” colors to update my dreary, dark and dull little house

Helen at Pleasures of the NW
Guest

what an awesome difference! You’ve inspired me! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

Cathy Lawdanski
Guest

It looks fabulous. Do another post when she replaces her counters and back splash! Great job. Thanks for linking with #overthemoon.

Bibi (@simplesummit)
Guest

I have painted the (top) cabinets in my kitchen white – it refreshes the whole kitchen I think. You did a wonderful job,what a big transformation of the kitchen! And I love the flooring 🙂

Best,
Bibi

https://simplesummit.blogspot.com

Angie @ ambient wares
Guest

I’m so sorry about Diesel Tarah 🙁 The fact that you helped your mom with her kitchen is great and the way it turned out is just incredible! Great job and thanks for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!

Nikki Gwin
Guest

Everything looks so much more cohesive now! I love how much lighter it looks and that pink… haha I know she is glad it is gone. Great job girls. I think it would have taken me a month to do it. And I do want to do my cabinets, I just haven’t quite got myself psyched up to tackle it yet. I guess maybe I need to do like you and take a couple of days off to get it done.
🙂 gwingal

Brandi Puga
Guest

What an amazing change! I have always feared the white cabinets but I may have to check this out for my own kitchen now that i see how wonderful yours looks!
#happynowlinkup

Debrashoppeno5
Guest

The kitchen looks amazing. Great job and I bet your mom is thrilled. I am so sorry to hear about Diesel. It is always so hard, one of the most difficult things in life.

Jann Olson
Guest

Light, airy, and beautiful! What hard workers you are. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
hugs,
Jann

Leslie
Guest

So sorry to hear about your dog. That really is heartbreaking. You are such an awesome daughter for all the things you do for your mother. The cabinets really do look awesome now. I can’t believe it took six coats to get them that way!

Jess
Guest

This turned out SO great! 🙂

I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

Sarah
Guest

Wow, a beautiful renovation. Much lighter and brighter, well done!
Sarah
enrichmentality.com

meena
Guest

Looks amazing!

Carla a.k.a Mrs. R
Guest

The white cabinets look amazing! I love how you left the wood trim. It brings in some texture and a natural element to the room. Love It! xo

Theresa
Guest

I have similar cabinets and have been waning to do the same thing! So inspired to get started. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared

smiling notes
Guest

Love how the kitchen has turned into something so beautiful and airy!! Really inspiring 🙂 Thanks a lot for joining us at the Family Joy blog link up party 🙂
-Shamira

Mother of 3
Guest

A stunning transformation! I love how bright and airy it looks now.

Lisa Ehrman
Guest

What an amazing difference! All those coats of paint really did the trick. I love the wall colors, too 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Together on Tuesdays!!!

Jessica
Guest

oh my goodness! the white cabinets make the kitchen look so bright and open! well done!!!!

Ann Marie at Iris Abbey
Guest

Light and airy, indeed. Your cabinets look wonderful and I know they took effort. Great job!

Debbie
Guest

Thanks for the inspiration. My cabinets look exactly like your mom’s did before. Now I know what they can look like! Thanks for sharing at the Blogger’s Pit Stop!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com
Guest

Tarah, what a difference! All that prep and 6 coats — you do great work! And I’d much rather have a 1200SF place than a 4000SF.

Cristina
Guest

It looks so much better in white! What a big difference.

Leanna
Guest

First of all congratulations on being so good to your Mom, its obvious you have a terrific relationship.

The difference is remarkable, it went from being a cave to a clean home. Dark kitchens really are the worst, they always make me think there are unseen germs everywhere.

I really enjoyed reading this post. Hats off to both of you.

Amber Harrop
Guest

Amazing how the paint makes so much difference – great job by you and Your Mom Tarahlynn and totally worth all the effort.

Gentle Joy Homemaker
Guest

I love how paint changes the whole look and feel of an area… and I use it often to do that. Your project turned out great! What a huge difference… and a small area is especially in need of being light to help it feel more spacious!

Katherines Corner
Guest

WOW!Thank you for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things, pinned and featured xo

April J Harris
Guest

It really is amazing what paint can do! What a wonderful makeover! Your Mom’s kitchen looks so light and bright, Tarah. Scheduled to pin and tweet. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of Hearth and Soul.

Ann Caliri
Guest

That’s beautiful! We have painted two sets of kitchen cabinets over the years and people always think they are new replacements of the old ones. Thank you for sharing this with us at the Homestead Blog Hop, we really enjoy your submissions!

Michele Morin
Guest

So sorry about Diesel. Very sad.
And what a HUGE difference that white paint made!

Emily
Guest

Wow, that’s made such a difference! Amazing! Thanks for joining #ThatFridayLinky

Pen
Guest

Wow, well done. You have absolutely transformed the kitchen. It looks fantastic. I love your choice of wall colour too. I see what you mean about the pink walls. they were absolutely hideous. Your mom is very lucky to have you. All the best . Pen x #thatfridaylinky

Iris Nacole
Making a shoe rack and closet storage out an old ladder

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