The Big Reveal: My Kitchen Makeover After Photos!

Grey kitchen with open shelves

I am so excited about this post! Last Monday I shared some before photos of my kitchen makeover as part of Sherwin-Williams' National Painting Week. Now I'm practically leaping out of my chair as I type because I am so proud of this work. With two weeks and less than $2000 I transformed my kitchen from a claustrophobic eyesore to a space that radiates light and positive energy!   

Open shelves in the kitchen

Because I rent rather than own, I did need to clear this makeover with my landlord. We agreed that the removal of some cabinets would make the new paint job go even farther towards opening the space, so I kicked things off with some very satisfying demolition. The next step was to choose colors from Sherwin-Williams' vast range. I've always loved the serene sophistication of a gray kitchen, as well as that hue's ability to feel both modern and timeless at once. I selected Classic French Gray as it's dark enough to anchor the space but light enough to brighten the tight quarters. The walls got a coat of Extra White, a clean white that's neither too cool nor too warm. The result is a neutral yet very dynamic palette.

Grey kitchen cabinets

Then came time for the finishing touches. Because most of my budget went towards labor—a handyman for the demo, a professional painter for all those finicky cupboard doors, an electrician to install new fixtures—I kept the accents simple. Shelves and hardware from Ikea have a calm, utilitarian presence. In the absence of new flooring, a rug borrowed from my mom at least disguises the weird linoleum. My one splurge was sconces and a ceiling pendant from Cedar & Moss. They're a small touch but they make a big style statement. Finally, accents ranging from Ikea cheapies (that mortar and pestle was a steal!) to handmade wood cutting boards by AHeirloom add personality on the open shelving. 

Grey kitchen with vintage stove

Even though these pictures demonstrate a pretty remarkable visual transformation, the biggest change is how I feel when I'm in my kitchen. I cook a ton so I spend a lot of time in this room, and in its former state it felt downright oppressive. Now I love to make my morning coffee as the sun peeks in through the windows, to set up my laptop on the counter and write emails in the brilliant noon light, to prepare dinner as shadows fall at the end of the day. 

Gorgeous grey kitchen makeover before and after

As a bonus, I thought I'd post some side-by-sides to illustrate how radical the transformation has been. The kitchen truly does look like it belongs in a completely different house. Plus the new wall and cabinet colors, as well as the subtle but sophisticated decor touches, make the elements that I wasn't able to change more bearable. (If you squint hard, the mottled tan counters almost look like butcher block!)

Open shelves kitchen makeover before and after

One of the most impactful changes was the removal of that upper bank of cabinets, which always felt like they were closing in on me as I cooked. Of course I did sacrifice some storage when I replaced them with open shelves, but now I'm forced to be more efficient with the space that I do have. And I love being able to create a rotating display of my favorite ceramics.

Grey kitchen makeover before  and after

Last but definitely not least is how much cleaner the new kitchen feels. In the past it seemed that no matter how much I scrubbed, a layer of grime coated every surface. Now not only has the baseline level of clean been raised significantly, I'm even more motivated to keep it sparkling all week long. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, this one now beats out a very happy rhythm indeed!

P.S. Head to the Sherwin-Williams' National Painting Week site for more photos and more beautiful blogger projects! Disclosure: I received product as well as budget to complete this kitchen makeover in collaboration with Sherwin-Williams. I'm so grateful for their help and to you for supporting the brands that allow me to create content that inspires us all!