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Planning a Kitchen Makeover: Phase 1 Makeover

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Get easy tips for planning a kitchen makeover. Learn more about Phase 1 makeovers and why we’re doing one instead of a full remodel.

You might also like this post on how I plan room makeovers.

teal mood board for kitchen

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I am currently also working on my office makeover, but progress is stalled while I wait for an appointment with my electrician to come to install the light. (It makes no sense to install stuff that’s going to get dirty with more drywall dust.)

So my attention has turned to the kitchen. Because we use it every day and it drives us crazy every day.

Plan a Kitchen Makeover

This will be a phase 1 kind of makeover because this kitchen needs a whole overhaul eventually.

The cabinets aren’t great quality and the layout doesn’t work for our family.

I’m giving the room a budget makeover in the meantime because the kitchen is pretty awful to cook in and it’s not very cute.

Phase 1 makeovers are a good idea if a full remodel isn’t in your budget in the foreseeable future.

I’m spending a bit more than I want, but for the most part, this kitchen makeover will be full of affordable DIY projects to make cooking in there better until we can afford a gut job.

What is a Phase 1 Makeover?

A Phase 1 makeover is a budget-friendly way to change the look of your home without major renovations.

For a kitchen, you can paint the cabinets and update your countertops with an easy DIY project, rather than gutting your entire kitchen.

Phase 1 makeovers rely more on DIY than money to give a space a new look.

It’s also a good time to experiment with bold colors and patterns since it’s not a forever look.

So if you’ve always wanted pink cabinets, this is the time to try them out before you spend a lot of money.

Sometimes Phase 1 makeovers are good enough to last a long time. We moved from our last house before we did a full kitchen remodel in our kitchen.

Tips for Planning a Phase 1 Kitchen Makeover

If you’re considering a Phase 1 makeover, here are a few things to think about.

Determine Your Budget

Most phase 1 makeovers need to be as budget-friendly as possible. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that you’re going to tear out in the future.

If you make big purchases, make sure that they will work with your plan down the line.

For instance, we needed to replace the sink and faucet because they didn’t work, so I made sure to buy a sink that I would love forever and that it could also be used as an undermount sink when I buy a nicer countertop.

Assess your Needs

Figure out what your kitchen needs to function better. What drives you crazy on a daily basis? Are there easy ways to fix that?

Make a list of everything you like and figure out what can be done.

In our kitchen, I hate the layout, but that can’t be fixed until we do a full remodel. So instead, we’re adding storage solutions to make it function a bit better until then.

Figure Out What Stays and What Goes

In a Phase 1 makeover, you will most likely keep most of what’s there. But there might be things that you need to replace sooner.

I’m replacing our fridge because it just doesn’t work for us. Pretty much everything else will stay for now.

Make Your Plan

Then comes the fun part: making the plan. My kitchen plan is detailed below, along with other things I think about and consider when planning my kitchen.

If you need help with this process, I have a printable room planner workbook that will help you with every step of this process.

The Kitchen Before


Things I Like and Dislike

I like the faucet and sink. We replaced them right after we moved into the house.

I like that it’s open to the dining nook and living room.

However, there’s a lot more to dislike.

First things first, let’s talk about those lights. I call them spaceship lights. While they’re bright, they’re not even remotely attractive.

The countertop is my next biggest complaint. It was painted (badly) and every single thing we put on them stains them so they never look clean. When I wash dishes, the buttons on my pants scratch the counter edge.

The next thing is the missing drawer. It broke pretty much as soon as we signed the papers to buy the house.

I really hate the lack of storage. This kitchen feels bigger than my old kitchen, but somehow there’s less storage.

The pantry cabinets are so deep that we lose food all the time.

The current cabinet color clashes with my wall color. The cabinets are a pale gray with a purple undertone and they look cheap. (They are cheap, but when painted, they look nicer.)

kitchen before

The hardware is my next complaint. It’s old-fashioned in a not cute way. And it’s too small. (The cabinet doors above the stove were installed upside down, so that needs to be fixed as well.)

I also hate the bar ledge. It accumulates junk and doesn’t get used as a bar. I’m not sure that this will change in this phase though.

kitchen before

And last, I hate the appliances, but most of all the fridge. It’s a standard fridge and food gets lost in it all the time because we can’t see what’s there.

fridge in kitchen

The stove will be upgraded in time. It works okay, but the bottom drawer gets off track and is impossible to fix.

stove in kitchen

Needs and Wants

We need better storage solutions. Luckily, there are a ton of solutions that can be installed in existing cabinets.

We already installed a pull-out garbage can.

The countertop needs to be better. Anything is better at this point. Ironically, I’m going to be painting it, but it will get a really tough top coat, just like in my last house.

I would love to change the lighting. It’s so bright and causes an awful glare on the tv. So I’m going to consult with my electrician about making it better.

I want the kitchen to be cute. As a person who hates cooking already, I need a kitchen that I want to be in.

My Inspiration Starting Point

I’ve had the cabinet color in my mind for a while now, so it was my starting point.

A phase 1 makeover is the perfect time to experiment with a bold color for cabinets.

From there, I chose this wallpaper. It’s so cute and contains the colors from around my home (including colors that I’m considering adding to my dining nook.)

Mood Board

mood board for kitchen

Cabinet Color | Drawer Handles | Lights | Countertop Paint | Wallpaper | Wall Color


I really don’t have a timeline, but I’m hoping it’s done by summer.

To-Do List

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kitchen makeover moodboard plans

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