A Kitchen Facelift on a Dime

Experts say that when you go to sell your home, think back to when you first toured your house prior to purchasing it.  What did you not like about it or what quirks were distracting from the other amazing features?

For me, I immediately noticed that the kitchen was a little small and was more closed off from the living space than I preferred. I mentally noted that I would love to open up the wall between the dining room and kitchen.  When we decided to move two years later, the kitchen was still exactly the same.  Chris and I were convinced that the closed off kitchen was a big negative to buyers and we would maximize our profits if we knocked down the wall.  

We planned to keep the lower cabinets/counter top as is and remove the upper cabinets to create a breakfast bar.  I was not too concerned about losing storage space in an already small kitchen because the upper cabinets consisted of a small side cabinet, a wine rack, and a corner cabinet.  We would remove the corner cabinet and wine rack and reuse the small cabinet.

Here is a view of the dining room with the small opening into the kitchen.  

Dining room in the Neighborhood house

Small doorway into the kitchen

And here is the view into the kitchen from the dining room doorway. You can see that the appliances were older and there was a dark green color on the walls, making the space feel even smaller.

Tiny kitchen

Dark walls with honey colored cabinets

This is an old home so the walls are made of plaster and demo'ing makes a HUGE mess.  We are raising a mini Chip Gaines because our son LOVES demo day!!  This kid spent hours smashing the wall, he even smashed his finger a few times, but always wanted to get back at it and keep breaking down the plaster.

Thomas enjoying the demo work of the kitchen


Opening the wall from the kitchen into the dining room

Because this was a load bearing wall, we had to add a header to support the weight of the second story.  

Open concept from dining into kitchen without losing functionality

Now that the wall was opened up, I wanted the dining room and kitchen to feel more cohesive.  The dining room paint color was one of the few rooms that I did not know the actual paint color.  We used Sherwin Williams to color match and applied touch ups to the dining room and brought that same color into the kitchen. 

TIP: If you do not want to repaint an entire room but need to apply some touch ups, chip off a piece of the paint (no smaller than a quarter) and take it to your paint provider where they can color match for free.

Newly finished opening into the kitchen

We added the breakfast bar to give the feel of the kitchen extending into the dining room.  The counters looked pretty basic so we thought we would have a good chance of finding a close match at Home Depot.  We ended up finding the exact match for the added counter space at the breakfast bar.  You can see in the photo below that we installed a new chandelier to update the space as well.

Breakfast bar from kitchen into dining room

Before we moved we also thought it was very important to update the appliances to stainless steel.  This was one less thing that a potential buyer could check on their list of negatives.  By opening up the wall, clearing the counter spaces and matching the paint colors from dining to kitchen, the space feels 100 times larger than when we first moved in!

Here is the cost breakdown of the kitchen renovation:

  • Appliances (Fridge/Oven Range/Microwave/Dishwasher): $3,500

  • Opening Wall:$900

  • Counter: $500

  • Electrical (below breakfast bar): $50

  • Paint:$50

Total = $5,000

I am confident that we not only made that money back but doubled our return.

What tips/tricks do you have for making a small space feel larger?