DIY Kitchen Transformation: Countertops and Backsplash

September 12, 2018

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When I started transforming my kitchen with pretty much no money, I really had no idea if it would look any good or ever get done.  I am pleased to say that the entire project had a better outcome than I ever hoped for.

When I wrote about my super cheap Amazon backsplash, it was the first thing I accomplished in my butt-ugly kitchen.  Seeing the difference it made inspired me to tackle the next project, which was painting my countertops (my favorite project EVER).

You’ll see that I still have a few big projects to somehow get done in between wrangling my toddlers, but both of these projects were easier than I expected and have literally changed the look of my kitchen.

***UPDATE MAY 2019: The kitchen is fully done! See this complete transformation here.  And check out alllll my best tips for tackling home projects around your kids here.***

DIY Super Cheap Kitchen Transformation

If you have a kitchen that needs help in every single way like mine (cabinets, floors, counters, hardware, knobs, ceiling, backsplash, and even the random and weird pegboard!), you should start with smaller projects.  Once you see what it does to your space, you’re even more motivated to tackle the big stuff.

But I kept a little secret: when I posted the backsplash post, I actually didn’t have it all finished.  Whoops.

I ordered two packs of ten from Amazon, and it covered most of my ugly tile, but not all of it.  So for the past month and a half, I have had a half-done backsplash and the rest of my kitchen was still orange putrid ugly.  Oh, and pink, because that was the color of the counters.  PINK.

But honestly, it was still an improvement from before.  Just having ONE pretty thing in my kitchen–even an unfinished pretty thing–gave me hope.

Before Pictures

Here are a few shots of my kitchen before I did anything:

Get a new backsplash and countertop: DIY Kitchen Makeover Get a new backsplash and countertop: DIY Kitchen Makeover

SO. MUCH. ORANGE.

Step 1: Painting My Countertops

My counters ended up happening before I finished the backsplash, because there was an opportunity where the timing miraculously worked out with the kids.  I’ve learned to be very strategic with my projects and my toddlers, so I JUMPED on that chance.

Here’s the full tutorial on how I painted the counters. SO MUCH FUN.  Even more than the backsplash, because the backsplash is basically like arts and crafts time.  It’s just stickers that change your room!

Here’s the video I made to show how to paint like granite:

And here’s what one side of my kitchen looked like with painted counters and paneling from hell:

Painted countertops-the middle of my kitchen transformation.

Step 2: Hiding The Paneling

…So, it was a huge improvement, but it sucked that my new modern countertops made the orange ugliness stick out even more.

I was originally thinking of painting that wall, because I had already painted my dining room paneling. However, I knew that wouldn’t give me the same level of WOW as the other projects have.

And with my little kids, doing a home improvement project is no small undertaking.  It’s really not worth the effort if I’m going to finish the project and just think “ehh.”

Then my husband said, “Why don’t you put more of the backsplash on it?”

And honestly, the few times my husband comes up with a home design idea, I just smile and nod while thinking, “That is soo not going to happen, hun.”  Case in point: up until the counter was done and the first backsplash was on, he kept telling me, “I like the wood.  Why are you doing this?”

And I was like….

via GIPHY

But in this ONE case, I thought he had a point. I was hesitant because I really wanted to do this whole kitchen for as cheap as possible.  I knew doing more of the Tic Tac Tile backsplash would cost me about $100 more, when painting would be free since I already had the supplies.

But this is when I had to give myself a stern talking to.  Because free was meh, while $100 gave me a wow factor.

PLUS, I looooved that I could order it on Amazon so it would get to my house in 48 hours.  And I also REALLY looooooved that it was so easy to put on that I knew I could finish the whole wall in less than two hours, before Andrew even got home from work.  And it was MUCH easier to get done with the kids than painting!

So, that’s exactly what I did.  I placed the order and almost exactly 2 days later, my kitchen was transformed.  And my kids were fed and entertained and I didn’t even forget dinner that night! That’s worth more than $100 right there! šŸ˜‰

Step 3: Happiness

First, let’s just do a quick refresher of the REAL before before:

Get a new backsplash and countertop: DIY Kitchen Transformation

Aaaaand this is just a few days later, and only 2 hours after my Amazon package arrived:

Get a new backsplash and countertop in two easy DIY projects on a budget!

Obviously I just snapped that picture while the kids were playing, I didn’t even make the effort to turn off that terrible lighting or make the living room look less messy.  AND IT STILL LOOKS THAT MUCH BETTER.

***Again–the full kitchen makeover is DONE! Which means those orange vomit-inducing cabinets are gone.  Check it out here.*** 

Final Costs

These exact costs will vary for each person depending on what materials you already have.  But time-wise, like I said, the Tic Tac Tile takes 2 hours max.  And I started the counters one evening and finished them 24 hours later–and I even went to a fair with my kids in the middle!

So if you were to do both of these projects back to back, you’d have them done in less than two days.

For the counters, I only needed the craft paints, the sealer, and the sea sponge.  And of course I am not organized enough to remember the actual exact costs of each, but I know I got all the craft paints on sale, so they were probably less than $8.  I paid $25 for the Minwax Polycrylic at Home Depot… but on Amazon (here), this 1/2 pint is only $10!! So I lost out there. The sea sponge was originally $6, but I used a 60% coupon at Joann’s, so I paid $2.40.  That makes my total cost for the counters only $35.

The backsplash total, for both sides of the kitchen, ended up being more expensive than I originally intended–but a little extra money for a huge impact.  For one side, it was $102, and for the other side, $104.  So for two walls, a total of $206.

Side note: Now that I’ve used the peel and stick backsplash, I have a ton of faith in Tic Tac Tiles, and there is a huge variety of them on Amazon.  I explain why I chose that brand specifically in this post, and I still think it was the safest and best bet.  But I would also be totally willing to try another brand, especially since there are a ton of different styles, like these:

Here are even more styles I love. If you do try a different brand, it would seriously make my day if you told me about it and showed me pictures! šŸ™‚

Anyway… That makes my grand total $241!  And honestly, I could not love it more.

While I will never be one of those HGTV snobs… I really believe that loving your home is so important.  It’s even more special when you take the time to make your home fit you.

Here are a few more of my favorite projects to help you love your home:

$15 DIY Rope Shelf
DIY Window Box
70+ Home Improvement Projects for Busy People On A Budget

Transform your kitchen by replacing your backsplash and countertops in only 2 days and under $200! DIY Cheap Kitchen Transformation (Countertops and Backsplash)

DIY Kitchen Transformation

It's crazy how these easy DIY projects totally transform your kitchen! Perfect for our budget too
It's crazy how these easy DIY projects totally transform your kitchen! Perfect for our budget too
It's crazy how these easy DIY projects totally transform your kitchen! Perfect for our budget too
It's crazy how these easy DIY projects totally transform your kitchen! Perfect for our budget too
It's crazy how these easy DIY projects totally transform your kitchen! Perfect for our budget too


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Hi! Iā€™m Kaylee–a mom of 2, business owner, DIY addict, and so much more. You’ll find some fun DIY tutorials, totally honest reviews, and lots of tips for making your home fit YOU. Welcome to Mama and More!

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