My tiny 80s kitchen recently got a mini makeover! Keep reading to see how we updated our small kitchen to make it lighter, brighter, and more functional.
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Okay, I know home projects aren’t really the focus of this website, but since this one happens to involve my kitchen, I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve been working on for the last month.
Of course, I can’t take all the credit. There’s no way I could have tackled this beast of a project on my own, so I’m lucky to have the best construction crew around: my dad, mom, and husband! Between the four of us, we were able to knock out this project in just a few weeks.
So can I take you on a tour of my kitchen?
Please note that this isn’t a kitchen makeover tutorial. I’m not a handyman so I can’t explain how my dad did some of the construction updates. Rather, this is simply a fun kitchen tour to show you some before and after photos!
What We updated in Our Small 80s Kitchen
When we first bought our house at the end of 2016, the kitchen had apple green walls, brown cabinetry, brown trim, a shallow stainless-steel sink, and a 27” drop-in range that had one questionable burner and an oven capacity that couldn’t even fit a standard baking sheet. The entire kitchen was dark, dated, and felt smaller than it really was.
(Don’t get me wrong. It is a small kitchen. But it felt even smaller with all of that brown-ness everywhere!)
My kitchen lacked function AND style, and that was a serious problem for this avid cook.
Shortly after we moved in, I painted the walls white to brighten up the space a bit. And last Christmas we finally replaced the old sink with a deep single basin, replaced the faucet, and added a garbage disposal.
But the real magic happened during the most recent makeover. Here’s what we did:
- Cut a space in the cabinets so a standard range could slide in
- Replaced the beige drop-in range with a stainless-steel convection range
- Cut a space above the range to fit a microwave hood
- Replaced the beige hood with a microwave hood
- Boxed in the cabinets above the hood to create an open display area
- Added extra shelves in two of the upper cabinets for more storage
- Cut out the divider strips in the bottom cabinets to make the shelves more easily accessible
- Painted all of the cabinets and drawers white, both inside and out
- Replaced the hinges, cabinet handles, and drawer pulls with brushed nickel hardware
- Replaced the shelf and drawer liners with fresh white ones
- Swapped out the pendant light over the sink with a flush-mount LED panel
- Swapped out the main light fixture with a much larger flush-mount LED panel
The end result?
A bright, functional, pretty kitchen that I actually enjoy cooking in!
Now, we didn’t update everything in the kitchen during this makeover. We’d eventually like to replace the dishwasher and countertops, add a pretty tile backsplash, and expand the pantry. But I’d say the updates we made this time around are pretty impressive!
Before and After
Let me show you the before and after photos.
I wish I had taken more detailed shots of the “before,” but these will have to do.
This is our small drop-in range. It was 27″ wide, but a standard range is 30″. My dad had to cut into the cabinets on either side of it to make space for a standard slide-in range.
This is what it looked like while he was cutting. He even cut into the upper cabinets so I could have room for a microwave hood! Our old microwave took up my precious counter top space, so I wanted an elevated microwave that would be out of my way.
You can also see inside our cabinets here. The builder of our home never even painted the walls inside the cabinets!
This photo gives you a nice overview of our small kitchen. When the house was originally built, it had a galley kitchen with a hallway where the back wall is now. The previous owners boxed in that hallway to expand the master bathroom, so now we have a small pantry behind those bi-fold doors.
These next few photos show my painting progress. I used this painting tutorial to learn the basic steps of painting kitchen cabinetry, but I didn’t use her paint brand recommendations. Instead, I used original Kilz to prime the cabinets and Behr Premium Interior Semi-Gloss Cabinet & Trim Enamel in the color “pot of cream.” That’s my favorite shade of warm white!
Let’s get to some after photos, shall we?
Big difference, huh? You can see that the room feels bigger and brighter overall now that light can bounce off of the white cabinets.
And I love how this side of the kitchen turned out! The Samsung convection oven and Whirlpool hood microwave gleam next to those white cabinets.
I also polished the refrigerator with a little bit of mineral oil to get those pesky smudges out.
Here’s a view of the other side of the kitchen. And since I’m human and have dirty dishes just like you, I’ll even let you see my dishes drying next to the sink. 😉
Pebbles is my little supermodel! She’s sassy most of the time, but she’s pretty sweet too. Apparently none of the other kitties felt like participating in this photo shoot.
You can see that I painted inside the drawers too. It was tedious work, but I’m happy with how bright and clean they look now! I also put in some new shelf liners in all the cabinets and drawers. I used this smooth top EasyLiner and couldn’t be happier!
I’m really pleased with the work my dad did to the lower cabinets. These cabinets used to have a thin strip of wood running vertically down the middle of the cabinet face. The inside of the cabinet was still wide open, but we had to angle our pots and pans to get them around that dumb piece of wood. My dad removed the wood strips on three of my lower cabinets, and now I can easily slide my cookware and other kitchen essentials into the cabinets.
Lastly, here’s a never-before-seen angle of my kitchen. You can see my popcorn ceiling in all of its 1980s glory!
Alright, that’s it for my small kitchen tour. I hope I convinced you that even tiny, dated kitchens can transform into bright beauties!
I’ll catch ya next time!