Help Me Decide On My Kitchen Redo

Well I started taking things down off the cabinet doors to see what ideas came to me.

This is the latest look…

I’d like you all to weigh in on what you think would look best, and then I’ll try to decide. I keep thinking I’ve got it figured out and then I change my mind.

First I took the middle door off the cabinets above the microwave.

Then I took the decoration off the other two cabinets so I’d get a better idea. Then I wondered if perhaps I might want just one door off, the middle one.

See that long ugly cord along the countertop? That goes to my refrigerator. Maybe I should paint it white.

Every time I rearrange in this space I have to find ways to cover up this ugly cord.

Then after I got the door off and stood back, I noticed that the other two doors don’t sit flush. In other words, they don’t line up with the space. It’s not very noticeable in the photo.

But the space is wider at the bottom near the black knobs and narrower at the top. Which drives me bonkers.

I put a few things in the open space where I took the door off just to get an idea of what it would look like.

I’ll have to fix the nail holes on the other two cabinets if I leave them up and probably paint them as well.

Or I could take all three of them off and not be troubled by the crooked doors. Let me tell you these doors are heavy! I leaned the door in the hall overnight and somehow Ivy knocked that heavy thing over and scared me half to death.

Here is what my kitchen looked like when I had the doors off before. Now looking at all the chaos makes me rather dizzy. For some reason it didn’t then.

How on earth, I ask myself now, did I manage to even go in this kitchen with all the color going on? Must be that I’ve aged about 5 years and my system simply can’t take it now.

The countertops are covered with black contact paper. And the black and white checks are also contact paper.

Some of you have asked what happened to that ICE sign on my refrigerator. I was trying to gently take it down when I was painting the rest of the fridge and it tore. Then with all the glue on the back it became impossible to smooth out.

I’ve looked everywhere since and cannot find that ICE decal. I bought it off Etsy and that company closed down a long time ago.

Then I had this for the last 4-5 years…

This look was without the red microwave on the counter. I may just leave it off the counter this time. I think it looked far less busy without it.

Now for what to do with the countertops. I’m tired of them, and I’ve got to fix a few places that got dinged up and that means it won’t match what is currently there.

What I can’t decide is whether I can handle the aggravation of putting contact paper over them again. That takes patience, of which I have little.

Or I could go with something like the GianiGranite that is in the above photo, but use a different kit. If you have any ideas, let me know please.

My plan is to update the knobs, update the countertops and probably paint the wall between the upper and lower cabinets white or use those peel and stick tiles. I like white subway peel and stick tiles, so that is an option.

This is a rental kitchen, so I can’t just tear everything out. I don’t think they’ll really notice if I went with another GianiGranite kit on the countertops.

Or I could use contact paper that could be taken off should I move, which I’m really not planning to do.

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

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47 Comments

  1. You have received great advice! My advice is to follow your own instinct! You always do a great job. Your ideas are always great and no matter the style it always looks wonderful. Have a great day!

  2. ?Brenda, did you recently buy light blue stripe chair pads?
    Maybe buy soft light blue*narrow stripe or solid
    Fabric (*color your choice * & only use as a valance . Is it difficult for you to reach your 2nd & 3rd shelves.
    You could leave top shelve to decorate.
    Maybe use mirror for back and all sides for decor.
    You got this girl ! Put your big girl
    panties on and whistle while you work?
    Damn, I am so excited with the many suggestions???maybe CharlieBoy &
    Miss Ivy would let you put paint their paws as their Mommy’s creativity for you all to enjoy??. ?????

  3. Brenda, when I saw the picture–second one–with the middle door off and the decor off the other two I tho’t I’d like that look with the interior of the middle cupboard painted red to go with the other pops of red in your kitchen. And when I saw all three cupboard doors off with all the contents visible I tho’t seeing all the contents of the shelves was too busy a look. I think, however, that since the doors being crooked bothers you the open shelves might be your best option if you could edit them down an make at least one section for a few decorative items rather than foods. The open shelves would bring the kitchen more up-to-date also.

    I don’t have much advice about the countertops because I am in the same conundrum with my own countertops which are laminate. If I had the money I would just have them totally redone in laminate. I don’t dislike it and the ones I have have lasted for over twenty years pretty well. But, alas, I don’t have the money. I’ve considered re-doing them with a paint-on system but, frankly, that seems like too much work and too big a mess. I’ve never tho’t of using contact paper before like you did, but it seems like that would be tricky to apply without getting a lot of wrinkles. Maybe painting them would be a solution–if that’s even advisable. Seems like it wouldn’t be very durable. So, anyway, I”m no help on that score and I’ll be waiting to see what you finally decide to do with your counters.

    I know whatever changes you make will be creative and attractive. Can’t wait to see.

  4. Brenda,
    Can you get an extension cord of a different color (white, clear) and plug the refrigerator cord into it and drape it down the side or back of your fridge? So much easier than trying to paint an existing cord. I too love the open shelving look, but worry about dust, pet hair etc settling on my things. Good luck with your project!
    Peace,
    Mary

  5. I only took one of my cabinets doors off. And displayed one large white item on each of my three shelves. I don’t like the cluttered look of having all cabinet doors off. I like to hid my clutter behind closed doors,. Ha Ha. The door I took off was a corner top cabinet.

    My cabinets are solid oak and my husband didn’t like taking a door off but now he likes it.

    1. I know I’m in the minority here but I also am not a big fan of open shelving. Maybe just one would be ok but not all. I also think I’d the dust that gathers . therefore more cleaning & arranging that would have to be done to keep it all looking neat & orderly. Not that it can’t look nice but just seems like to much upkeep, for me anyway. Whatever you decide. I’m sure it will look great !

  6. First of all, I agree with others who wrote about you staying off ladders, etc!!!

    Second, I’m a minimalist at heart, so I don’t care for open shelving; it is far too busy a look!

    Whatever you do will be perfect for you ~ Have fun playing!

  7. Brenda, I can’t wait to see what you decide to do. I have a built-in china cabinet in my kitchen/dining area. I removed all the top doors and lined the cabinet with a black and white damask pattern. The fabric is similar to oil cloth which I attached with double-sided tape. I have a collection of white dishes, soup tureens, pitchers and gravy boats. Love how the white pops against the black and white. Like you, I don’t like clutter anymore. I have white faux brick on the backsplash….peel and stick but with a texture. I use a few pops of red and since my floors are black and white tiles in a checkerboard pattern, the look is classic. I’m enjoying all the comments since I can apply them to my small space also.

  8. I vote for open shelves. Then pare down your dishes and display only white. Maybe have the cupboard backs either wallpapered or painted in a nice accent color Like beige, soft blue, soft green, what ever is your taste. That way the white dishes will pop against the colored backs. I know of people who took cardboard, cut to fit the backs of the shelves and then covered them with either contact paper or fabric. that way you can remove it easily. I would relocate the microwave, keep the countertops pretty clean, and put a fake plant in front of the refrigerator cord to hide it. I like the idea of grey or beige and white quartz look for the counters. I think you could find a kit from Home Depot or Lowe’s to refinish the countertops.
    You are definitely on the right track. Everyone I talk to is purging, downsizing, simplifying these days including myself. I just sold all my living room furniture and am looking for a neutral sofa in a light beige or maybe grey with white accessories and textured decor pieces like pillows, coffee table decor, etc.

  9. I like the open cupboards, but I’m thinking when you had it before you had the checks as well and that may be what is making you fell dizzy looking at it now. xo Laura

  10. I follow a woman on Instagram who rents in NewYork city. She has transformed her kitchen on a budget. I thought you said you weren’t on Instagram but if you can see her kitchen it’s so cute. She’s at @ sweet_domicile. She used marble look contact paper for counter tops and subway tile looking contact paper for backsplash. I would either leave plain white doors or take the doors off and use baskets and try to stick with one color for dishes etc.
    I remember when you did your kitchen over with the check. I still love that and the ice decal.

  11. RE: black cord maybe look for clear
    color.
    Maybe small diameter white plastic
    tube or pvc pipe cut to length.
    To run cord through (hobby lobby &
    Hardware stores or lamp stores . wrap w/contact paper
    I vote keep DOORS OFF.
    Room definitely will appear larger
    Paint bright white for reflection of
    more light.
    PLEASE DO NOT GET ON LADDER-or
    LIFT HEAVY ITEMS.
    Your back, neck, joints & musels
    can be damaged.
    Your Followers have given great “food
    for thought.
    Try not to stress. It is your home and
    your choice to choose your changes,
    Have a blessed day.
    All followers love you big time??❤️

  12. Wow Brenda you’ve been given some
    great suggestions therefore I’m not going to offer any. I know apt living is limited in what you can and cannot do. Whatever you do I know it will be lovely. Happy decorating!

  13. I like the look of the first picture. The middle door off & the decorations on the end two. I’m not a fan of open shelves.

  14. Endless possibilities, and I know you’ve been on Pinterest looking around, getting ideas. I’d go for “light and bright” (just because that’s what I love, it helps my mood). Could you paint the cabinets white? I like the one with the door off, I’d paint the inside white, or cover with white contact paper as you mentioned. Inside that open cabinet, I’d put a mixture of items, e.g. faux greenery, color candle in jar, basket. Definitely go with the kit to re-do the counter tops. Keep in mind you don’t have to do all this at one time. At our age, we can take our time and do a bit here and a bit there. I wouldn’t really decorate the cabinet doors, perhaps a pretty color wreath somewhere in the kitchen – on one cabinet door or over the sink. If there’s room, a nice sign would add interest. Home Goods is very inexpensive on all these ideas, but then Walmart is also coming out with some great things under their Better Homes & Gardens brand. Hope some of this helps, and as I said this is just what I would do – follow your own heart!

    1. The insides of the cabinets I’ve just taken down (3) are already white because I painted them some years ago. But they’re kind of dinged up and need another coat. So do the fronts of the cabinets doors, which I’m planning to leave plain.

  15. Whatever you do, it’ll be a nice change for you. I like the look of two doors without the spoons, etc. and the middle cupboard open. Use a lightweight drywall hole filler for screw holes that is easily removed when the door needs to be put back in place. I’ve seen a bead-board print wallpaper used on the back wall of cupboards that gives a custom custom look, that and used as a cover for the front panel area you’ve had the spoons on. Your ironstone look dishes looked nice in the open area. Your dishes might look pretty there as well. I agree with the dizzy feel when all three cupboards were without doors. On another note, have you explored the idea of at some point, moving out temporarily so the new owners could renovate your apartment? I realize it’s an upheaval for a brief amount of time, but could make your place more comfortable. Perhaps your daughters could assist with this.

  16. I like the look of open shelving, so personally I would remove all the cabinet doors and give everything a nice coat of white. I think the black white check is what made it appear too busy. You can consolidate your shelved items, and the colors of your dishwear, etc. should be fine, or find a more neutral look with what you put on the shelving, like all your whites, etc. . Have you researched what a simple wood counter top would cost? I have seen people use old wooden doors as counter tops and I loved the look. I already mentioned granite or marble left over slabs at warehouses in your previous post, I know you’re not crazy about putting something new in a rented kitchen, but again , if you plan on being there for a while and find a decently priced option, that’s what I would look into. I think a cleaner, simpler look would appeal to you, and although I liked what you did on your cabinet doors a while back, i think a change up would feel refreshing.

    1. In the lease it says I can’t redo major parts of the apartment, but I’d like to. I’ve talked to the manager and he says this company that now owns it won’t allow that.

  17. Not a fan of the cluttered look and quickly dusty look of open shelving. You can fit a lot more and hide a lot behind closed cabinet doors. The kitchen from 5 years ago was cute, but appears too cluttered for me now. I do think that as we get older we want less fuss and bother around us, and there’s nothing wrong with simplifying and minimalizing/streamlining our decor so we’re not constantly cleaning up after ourselves. I’d much rather be reading my news, working on my blogs and corresponding with my chess friends than doing housework including dusting, which is the chore I like least! From what I can tell, I really like the look of your current countertops, I am a fan of a gray and white marble look. The idea of a clean classic white subway tile (stick on or otherwise) also sounds perfect. I would leave up all the doors but keep the former decorations removed. Swap out the hardware to suit your current taste. No stickers or other hoo-ha on your fridge, please! In such a small space, you want clean, crisp, simple – classic/timeless looks that have stood the test of time. Have you looked into a cord cover that you could run against the wall to hold the fridge cord? Painting the cord might work, but I wonder how long it would hold up since we are constantly wiping down our countertops and backsplashes and the painted finish would be exposed to that constant wiping. I like the red pops of color. I would remove the wood cutting boards that you used to partially “resurface” your countertop. They appear as an unneeded extra layer to me. My cutting board that gets a lot of use is a smooth thick glass surface (about 1/4″ deep) on the cutting/prep side and lightly frosted and patterned on the bottom that raises it slightly from the countertop surface, but the color of the countertop still shows through. Easy to keep clean and sanitized and it doesn’t show cut marks or scratches. Can’t wait to see what you do – I love room refreshes and make-overs!

  18. Hi again…wow, I remember thinking at the time how bold and daring you were decorating the kitchen that way and liking it! Styles have certainly changed in the past 5 or so years.
    For decades, I was an avid Fiestaware collector, swooning over the color variety. Now, I’m just so over it. One glassed door cupboard in my kitchen houses my favorite pieces. It’s a nice pop of color in my white farmhouse kitchen.
    I hid my giant cord and plug with a large cutting board leaning against the wall. Do you use the switch much? Try it!
    I love the middle door off, gorgeous! But I know how you feel with the others uneven. Little things like that drive me batty.

    1. In a small space everything showing seems too much. Having only the middle door off was interesting and left tension thinking about what could be inside. Are open shelves a trend that is ending?
      I agree doing too much at once can be exhausting.

  19. I vote to take down all the doors, not just one. Replace the checkered contact paper, white subway tile on the backsplash would like good but I don’t know about the dishwasher, something else white. Put away all the red for now, or paint some of the objects white. Some you tubers have made everything look like white ironstone just by painting it. I would have some soft color, to go with the white, and vary the textures with your baskets to finish up.

  20. I think you could remove the doors, if you want. When you had it that way before, you had the black and white backsplash and dishwasher. Without out all of that going on, if you edit what you want to show, it should not feel so much like chaos to you now. The cutting boards could be slid down the counter to cover the cord…and you could still reach the outlet if you need to. I like the countertops light…visually brightens and enlarges the space. Maybe use a large basket on top the refrigerator to hold what needs to be there…it would help to cut down on the visual clutter you want to avoid. Looking forward to seeing what you do…you are great at pulling your space together!

  21. Hello. I am going to be a party pooper and suggest you don’t do anything much to the kitchen. When you do such projects, you sometimes stay on your ankle too long and it gets sore, and you have mentioned you currently are dealing with sore knees. I’d hate to see you get another injury and then you will worry about getting Charlie to his appointments. Maybe your desire to do something in the kitchen will vanish in a few weeks when gardening season gets here. Hang on, spring is coming! I’m not trying to be a meanie, I want you to be OK.

    1. I know you’re not trying to be a meanie. But I’ve got the doors off now and I’m going to see if I can pay someone to paint and do the hard work. I can see I’m not the best candidate for the job after those doors.

    2. You seem to be suffering from cabin fever. In Michigan, it is rampant. Take your time. Take photos of each shelf. Be objective and edit what you don’t want or need. I have used the January blues to edit my entire house. I have had to make some hard decisions and give away everything that I will NEVER use. I actually read many of the “lovely reads” on minimalism that you listed. They were extremely helpful and inspiring. Now, I have to determine the difference between my wants and my needs. Two people do not need four sets of china. I seldom cook large meals anymore. I used to cook for thirty relatives. Now, I cook for six to eight friends only ten times a year. Recently, my girlfriends came over for dinner and inspected my cupboards after helping me wash the dishes. They affirmed what I already felt. Minimalism is a joy to behold and amazing to clean. Be careful and don’t do too much at one time. You need to guard against any more injuries. You have a great decorating sense and whatever you choose to do will be lovely.

  22. I’m not a proponent of open shelves…I can only imagine how often I would be washing dishes! I think dust collects regardless of how often things are cleaned. That’s just me though! ?

    Perhaps remove the microwave, paint as much as you can white, including the cord, and use a white tile look for the back splash. Change the counter tops and the black and white wall. I’m in the “less is more” group now!

  23. I’d take all the doors off. Start by putting only white things or baskets on the shelves. Add color a little bit at a time.

  24. Brenda, it’s so interesting how we evolve! I agree, the older photo looks so busy, but I am sure I loved it then. I visit here daily and love how *you* have evolved. 🙂
    I think you could go with no doors – you have a whole new look now and it would showcase that! I agree, no matter what you choose, it will look good!

    1. I got all the doors off and the contact paper now. I can see that both cabinets and insides will need to be painted. But I nearly did myself in on those doors. With one had I to get up on the fridge. Going to see if I can find someone who will give me an estimate on the painting.

  25. Hi Brenda. I’d buy glass doors, with coordinated items inside, remove all excess items on your countertop and put a lovely, colourful plant in front of your plug/cord. You kitchen is small and with less out in the open it will look larger and feel more open.

  26. Hi Brenda,
    I loved the look of all the doors off your cabinets. I think if you got some kind of contact or peel and stick wallpaper pieces it would look really good inside your cabinets and then leave the doors off. I know whatever you decide it will look good.
    Kris

  27. Hi, Brenda…personally I love the look and convenience of open shelving. If this were my kitchen: I’d take all the doors off, find some pretty scrapbook paper and use as many pieces as you need to line the back walls of the cabinets (tons more options and much less aggravation to install!). I’d purge what you don’t use, and go for a uniform look/color palette on the shelves. What all do you plan to store on the shelves? You could get creative, and organized, with some small baskets, containers, faux plants, etc. Next I’d install the subway tiles on the wall and paint the cord white. It’ll blend in nicely with tiles. I’m sure other readers will come up with lots of ideas, too. Look forward to seeing it when it’s all done! Cheers!

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