Reflections on Our Kitchen Reno Two Years Later

Two years ago, in April 2021, I upgraded our kitchen with a mostly surface-level renovation.

I painted the cabinets, windows, walls, and ceiling. We swapped out the light fixture and added some new barstools. The most demo-heavy aspect was ripping out the old stone backsplash and repurposing the bead board paneling we took from our office renovation as our new backsplash. I kept the cabinet hardware, all the appliances, the counters, faucets, and flooring the same. All in all, it cost right around $1000 and took a couple long weekends but this kitchen felt like a totally different space. And I’ve loved it ever since!



Last year, I did a check in where I talked about how the kitchen is holding up (and the few lingering things I needed to address at that time). Since that post, things have continued to hold up well. We have just a couple spots where the paint continues to chip off a bit on our most heavily used cabinets but other than that, the drawer and door fronts are all looking perfect! I still love all my choices with this renovation two years later.

This kitchen has always been a great reminder that small updates and Phase One projects can be so worth it. Truthfully, Justin and I still hope to someday remodel the kitchen and rework the layout to eliminate some of the persistent problems we run into. Eventually, we’ll be upgrading the 20-year-old appliances. I’ve been collecting and analyzing flooring samples because that is definitely a future upgrade as well. There are so many things we’re planning to change down the road . . . but I’m so glad we did a smaller update first to love the space we’re in NOW.

The kitchen is the heart of our home. We’re in it every single day, multiple times a day. Most days, it looks like this shot of a recent Saturday morning:

The island feels like our command center: we food prep and eat meals and do homework and art projects and bake and talk about our days and plan for the future and sort mail and do so many more things around the island. We spend a lot of time here and so it makes sense to me to want to really like the space we’re in.

We could have waited. We could have said “ehh, we know eventually we want to re-do the whole thing so let’s just save the money and effort and do it all at once down the road.” We could have lived with the perfectly functional, but totally not “us,” kitchen for 10 or more years. And it would have been fine. But to me, I think it was so incredibly worth it to make small but impactful changes to make the space something we love to look at and be in as it is right now. This Phase One update gave me a new appreciation for what already existed and it makes me happy to walk into this room multiple times a day. I am no longer itching to take on a huge, expensive, time-consuming remodel; although I still want it someday, I’m very content living with our current space for now! It’s like the Phase One actually gave more life and longevity to this space because it reflects our family and fits in with the rest of the house so much better now. And honestly, if the major remodel never happens, it would be okay if it stays just as it is. It was worth the cost of paint + a new light fixture +barstools. It was worth the time and effort to paint the cabinets and replace the backsplash. It did not have to be all or nothing – a middle ground was worth it!

I guess I wanted to share these reflections in case you need some encouragement to try a small update now while you dream/hope/plan for a bigger change down the road. Maybe you dream of a full-blown bathroom renovation someday, but right now a fresh coat of paint and a new mirror would make you enjoy the space more right now. Maybe you hope to replace your flooring but for now, a new rug would make the space feel cozier. Maybe it’s swapping out one light fixture. Maybe it’s painting your existing coffee table/nightstands/dining chairs/etc to change their look to something new. Maybe it’s even doing a Phase One in phases – painted cabinets one month, replace a light fixture a few months later, swap out some bar stools a few months after that. Don’t discount small upgrades – $5, $10, $20, or $50 changes can have a big impact too and you know I’m all about thrifting and secondhand finds to stretch a small budget farther. A plant, a candle, a pillow, artwork – so many things can change the way a space feels!

I think this can apply even to renters – back when I rented a townhome with some friends, we asked the landlord if we could paint. He said yes, we could paint, but we had to take on the cost. I’ve heard the argument not to “waste” money on a rental, but to me, it was VERY worth getting a low-budget can of paint, a brush, and a roller and spending a day painting my bedroom. I lived there for TWO YEARS! Even though it was a rental and it was temporary, two years is a long time and it was not a waste to me to actually love being in my space everyday. In fact, it felt like a form of self care to create a little haven in my room – totally worth it.

I’ll step off my soapbox now, but I hope this encouraged you to not wait for a huge remodel or gigantic budget. Maybe that’s never going to be in the plans, or maybe it’ll happen 5, 10, 15, 20 years down the road. You’re still living in your space every day – today, tomorrow, the day after that – and there are a lot of things you can do, big and small, to love your home a little more right now.

4 thoughts on “Reflections on Our Kitchen Reno Two Years Later”

  1. I’m late to the party only now seeing this renovation. It looks so good. The color is to die for. Such a great gathering place for your young family. I’m trying to get a fresh cabinet painting soon in my own place, and seeing your design was really helpful to me. Thanks for sharing!

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