Saturday, April 18, 2015

Low Cost Ways to Refresh Your Kitchen

This DIY Banquette Table Saves Space and Cash!

Why Buy NEW when NEW-AGAIN Looks This Good?

Corner table with bench

This little corner of our kitchen has been through a few iterations over the last 6 years, but thanks to last summer's mini-reno, we've finally found a solution that works for our needs.

When we first bought the cottage, this part of the kitchen looked like this:

How to save space in a kitchen

If you peek in the back corner, you'll see a pellet stove, which was great for saving on heating costs, but not at all practical for a family with young kiddos. The fact of its sheer size, combined with the intense heat output left little options for where to safely place a kitchen table. So needless to say, that was the first thing to go. And soon after, the space looked like this for a while:

Updating a small kitchen

Yes, cuter than before, but still not really optimizing the space, ESPECIALLY since that gorgeous, green laminate counter-top peninsula allows space for bar stools. But with the kitchen table living in the corner, it was impossible to employ both seating options because the space was SO tight and the chairs continually slammed into each other. So for the first five years of owning the house, we were never able to use the peninsula as an additional eating space! Boo :(

But now:

Good table for banquette

Yay! A solution that actually works! We now have an awesome banquette space fitted with a cute table and benches, PLUS, since everything got shifted over a couple feet, there's enough space to have four bar stools at the peninsula!

Okay, okay I promise to fill you in on the fun bar stools in an upcoming post (here's two hints: $35 and flea market), but for now, I'll focus on the Banquette Table.

DIY Painting craigslist table

That was the table in its original state. It was a Craigslist steal (no big surprise there), and I bought it because it met three main criteria for me: (1) It was the right size for the space; (2) It had a trestle base so it wouldn't interfere with anyone's legs swinging around under the table; and (3) It was CHEAP!

Cool kitchen tables

So clearly the next step was choosing how to refinish the table, and after sanding it down to get a look at it in its natural state, I decided I wanted to paint it. I figured I'd use chalk paint (since that's my usual go-to), but after an timely visit to the Country Living Fair last spring and seeing Cari Cuskey's gorgeous booth highlighted by her new RePurpose paint line, it was easy to decide on a paint for my table (well, not exactly easy--I couldn't pick which color I liked best, so I bought two--and a good thing I did, because I ended up using both!). And I loved using the paint; it had a smooth, even consistency, and I was easily able to get a nice, thick coverage using only two coats.

Turquoise kitchen table

To distress it, Cari suggested using steel wool, which I hadn't used before, but I am so glad for that tip because it is my new favorite distressing tool. All you need is a bowl/bucket of water, some steel wool, and a rag or paper towels (and I used gloves, too, because the wool gets prickly). After the paint is dry, just rub the area you want to distress with the wool (and add or subtract water to achieve the look you want), and then remove the excess paint with your rag or paper towel. I found it to be a really easy and forgiving approach.

Cari Cuskey painted furniture DIY

I ended up sealing it with some soft wax that I had on hand, and it's held up really well so far, although I'm not averse to adding our own scratches and nicks to the surface ;) Really, it's inevitable, and one of the main reasons I love distressed pieces with my little messy ones.

Cool colors for kitchen table

The table adds a nice pop of color to an otherwise very-white space, and honestly, for the price, you really can't beat it! With the 2 cans of paint and everything, this project cost less than $100 (and I've got plenty of paint left for more projects)!

Repurpose Paint Examples

The white vintage stool was a $20 flea market find, and the wood pull-up bench on the other side is from Ikea... I'm going to paint or stain it, too, but haven't decided on a color scheme. Any suggestions?!?! I love the extra seating it provides, plus, it doesn't take up additional space when we're not using it because it tucks right under the table!

If you're wondering about the built-in benches, I'd love to say we made them ourselves, but we hired-out for them; however, they were inexpensive and the tops open up to provide some much-needed additional storage in our 900 square-foot cottage.

Want to see more of this kitchen space? Check out the DIY Beachy Bar Stools post to see the room from some different angles.

Now I promise, I've got many more cottage-related DIY posts in the future--a lot of these projects I actually finished last summer, and I'm just now getting my act together to photograph and post about them!

Are you considering a kitchen reno but need to keep it low-cost? Here's a great post about how to tackle the demolition: How to Get Your Kitchen Demo Done for Free!

Are you a Craigslist newbie? These two posts offer great tips and can get you more comfortable with the process:

And, if we're not already connected, find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+ so we can start sharing ideas together!

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