before and after

before & after: tiny kitchen makeover

by Kate Pruitt

I know the downsides of a tiny kitchen, but in some ways a small space can be a blessing; little spaces can allow for very dramatic design decisions that would be overwhelming in a larger room. This kitchen makeover from Kristin of The Hunted Interior has so many lovely drama points — like the gilded drawer corners and the black wall and tile — that bring just the right amount of elegance to the small space, and it’s awesome to know that this look can be achieved on a very reasonable budget. Nicely done, Kristin! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: under 1 week

Cost: under $100

Basic Steps: Not having the money to completely redo our kitchen, we decided to work with what we had. Painting a full chalkboard wall was first on the list. I love the texture it gives to a room and how functional it is for our family. It instantly gave a richness and depth to our tiny kitchen. We then painted the upper cabinetry white and decided to add on simple metal L braces from the hardware store to help create a campaign-inspired look. Since custom cabinetry was not an option, the new hardware gave the cabinets a custom look for next to nothing. We also added new pulls and knobs to carry out the look. Our finishing touch was creating our new pendant fixture out of a $3 thrift store bowl that we simply flipped upside down and to which we added a light kit.

While a chalkboard wall may not be for everyone, you can easily incorporate it within a door panel, cabinetry or a large frame. My personal opinion is to go big . . . it’s just paint. The addition of the L brackets is such a simple and inexpensive way to update builder-grade cabinets. This is also a great solution for renters in need of a little extra style. — Kristin


Chalkboard Paint: Rustoleum Chalk Board Brush-On Paint in Black
Hardware: All from Home Depot
Pulls: Martha Stewart Living Bedford 3 in. Awning Cup ($1.98 ea)
Knobs: Martha Stewart Goblet Knobs ($1.98 ea)
L-Brackets: Everbilt 2 in. Satin Brass Flat Corner Braces (4 Pack) ($2.47)
Light Fixture: Goodwill + a light kit from Home Depot

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  • I love before and afters where people work with what they have, but can still make a dramatic change. It is nice to see a transformation that didn’t involve ripping out and trashing a perfectly functional kitchen just because it wasn’t exactly the home owners’ style. Great job. It looks beautiful. I really love the bowl light fixture.

  • I really appreciate makeovers like these, since I am also someone who often has to work with what they’ve got. Love the bowl light fixture, dramatic walls, and the thrifty L-bracket details are brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love how deceptively simple this is, but it takes a good eye to make those design choices. Amazing how reversing the color of the upper cabinets and wall really makes the room! The chalkboard and knife wall make it more functional, and the Brass accessories are a perfect touch. Great example of working with what you have!

  • Finally a kitchen makeover that didn’t require thousands of dollars and a complete renovation. This is so simple yet amazing! I scrolled back and forth between the before and after over and over. I can’t believe the difference with such small, well thought out changes. Gorgeous!

  • more info on how that fabulous light fixture was made, please, please! great space.

  • Completely inspiring! My kitchen is about the same size, and it drives me insane trying to find a spot to place things when my hands are full! LOVE the colour palette you’ve chosen. Love love love.

  • It looks like champagne, strawberries, and diapers are always on your shopping list since that area doesn’t appear to have been erased nearly as much as the rest of the list :).

  • Love it! The changes were well considered and it makes this room feel very welcoming and well-tended.

  • Like everyone else I just love the big-impact changes you made on a small budget. I’m already wondering how I can adapt them to my own kitchen.

  • In order to see the real contrast I’d have preferred‎ to see the kitchen clean and tidy in the before pic. I think it’s kind of cheating to take a picture when it’s all dirty and messy. Just by cleaning it would be a much prettier kitchen.

    • jime

      not everyone photographs their home projects with the thought of being on a design blog. if readers could try to remember that every now and then it would be greatly appreciated. i feel like home owners get a lot of flack for not thinking ahead about something they may not have ever planned for in the first place. most people working around the house barely remember to take photos, let alone perfectly styled ones. i appreciate anyone who takes the time to share photos, messy or not. i don’t think anyone’s trying to cheat- they’re just quickly remembering to shoot before renovation begins.


  • I honestly didn’t notice that it was “messy,” it just looks lived in. I don’t believe everyone has a perfectly primped kitchen, or apartment for that matter, at all times. Even if it is designed well.

    As someone who rents- this post is awesome. Did your landlords mind that you painted that cabinets? I have terrible formica and I am dying to make them better somehow!

  • I love chalkboards paint. Did a whole wall in one of the kids’ rooms. Even more practical in the kitchen. I’m inspired by the DIY light fixture, I have a very dated looking chandelier in my dining room that I would love to take apart and rebuild-funkily. So I’m inspired. Thanks!

  • WOW! I just might get inspired by this–need extra cheap but pow-for-the-buck updates to dark 70’s manufactured home kitchen–or can I even SAY that here? Not a “trailer” just a pre-made home. With no style whatsoever. I have campaighn pieces scattered thru the house and terribly dark cabinets that are not getting painted in my lifetime unless the Paint Fairy stops by. But this might brighten things up a bit and tie in with the rest of the house. Now if some one had a cehap idea for the 70’s brown-yikes!-embossed flooring—and of the ply board that is under it!–I would be happy to hear! LOVE the brass lamp! See those sort of things all the time at the thrifts! Hmmm—good thing DH works for Lowes and gets a discount on this stuff!

  • I love this! Just wondering if you did all the walls in the kitchen with the chalkboard paint? I have two main walls in the kitchen that I’d like to paint, but I’m wondering if two black walls woud be overpowering? Thoughts?

  • One little thing I learnt from an old carpenter that you might want to try to really make the brass features look schmick, if you line up all of you screws to face the same way, eg all like a + then it makes the work you do look neater :) Great job! Love the light shade!

  • A kitchen make-over for less than $100?? This left my jaw hanging. The little changes really did uplift the kitchen. Good job!