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Oops we did it again! Yep, a new (to us) house means another kitchen makeover. This 80’s builder kitchen got a gorgeous update with painted cabinets, new countertops, a backsplash, new appliances, trim around the island, and added hardware. It’s made such a huge difference in how we feel about the main area of our house! Keep reading to see what we did as well as links to products (love the inexpensive hardware the most I think).

Our Kitchen Before & After

Here is this 80’s kitchen before.

And here it is after!

Pretty much everything you see has been updated. Paint, sink, countertops, cabinets, hardware, lighting, flooring, backsplash and appliances were all changed or added. It was just time for everything to get a freshening up and it made such a difference.

While I would have loved to have installed recessed lighting and a pretty chandelier above the island, we were really trying to watch costs and that just wasn’t in the budget for now. I did find black track lighting to replace what was there and feel like it definitely helped.

The same time we moved in we had the countertops replaced by Lee’s Counter Tapps Tops here in Phoenix. We went with manufactured quartz that has light grey veining like marble. They also added a new sink. Jared did the backsplash so I can’t give proper steps but we went with easy subway tile again because, well, it was easy, but I was also making it more difficult for him by wanting to tile in the windowsill lol!

We also added little accessories like this bar on the island to store some cheeseboards & a hand towel.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

We were very happy with the results and longevity of our last kitchen so we already knew we’d use Benjamin Moore Advance paint again in this kitchen. We learned something along the way about dark vs light colors with this paint though.

I actually ended up chatting with Benjamin Moore because the dark grey that we used flowed out SO differently than the light. It wasn’t as thin and wouldn’t dry nearly as smooth as the light. It didn’t “flow out” the same at all. We ended up getting another can to see if it was the paint, and while our second can actually was an improvement, we still had to thin it out with water (what Benjamin Moore recommends) and Floetrol (Benjamin Moore does not recommend this). I feel like the lighter paint still went on better but by thinning out the dark, it was a MUCH better result. My tip would be that if you’re painting with a darker color and wanting to brush on, test it out first to get a feel for the flow in your environment. I live in the dry desert and we were doing this indoors in the summer so not sure how that might affect things.

If you live in the Phoenix area Restyle Junkie holds a great class on re-finishing cabinets. Definitely check that out if you’re a bit nervous to begin. You get to practice on a real cabinet door so it helps get the feel of what you’ll be doing.

To paint the cabinets we did the same steps as we did the first time EXCEPT we skipped the initial sanding and just did a good de-glossing.

Here are the steps we took:

  1. Take cabinets (and drawer fronts) off and mark them. I took a photo of the kitchen, wrote a number on each cabinet on my phone and then added that number onto the cabinet with washi tape that moved with the cabinet doors as I painted them.
  2. Degreased & de-gloss ALL cabinets front & back as well as frames in the kitchen. Do as much of the deglossing outside as possible.
  3. Wipe well with tack cloth before painting to remove any sanding dust.
  4. Paint with primer using a small roller & small brush. Allow to dry according to primer.
  5. Paint the other side of cabinet doors with primer & allow to dry.
  6. Lightly sand, wipe with tack cloth.
  7. Apply the first coat of paint & allow to dry for a FULL 16 hours or more. After around 4 hours I moved mine into a big empty room (where I could close the doors so the dogs didn’t get to them) onto painters pyramids to finish curing. Start with the backs of the cabinets and don’t forget to keep their labels with them.
  8. Lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper, wipe with tack cloth, apply 2nd coat of paint & allow to dry for the FULL 16 hours
  9. Turn over (using painters pyramids) and repeat steps 6-8. If you’re following along that’s already 64 hours.
  10. In the meantime, I did these same steps on the cabinet frames. The only added step here was taping off the inside of the cabinets/shelves where I didn’t want paint.
  11. Once dry, drill for hardware using a template & hang!

Tools & Products Used For This Kitchen Makeover

Here’s everything we used and/or bought for the kitchen.



Countertops & Backsplash


We went with luxury vinyl plank again in this house. It is just SO durable with 75+ lb dogs, teenaged boys, and at least one adult who doesn’t want to treat their house like a museum (me). We installed these ones ourselves and while it’s not bad, we did the ENTIRE house and still aren’t in a place where we are ready to do it anytime soon. It was just a lot for two people and the removing of the thinset under the tile in the kitchen was such a nightmare since it was SO thick. The LVP needs a nice smooth level surface so we had to make sure it was ground down well. Cleanup on that is fun too /sarcasm.

We’ve had this flooring in for 2 years now and it looks amazing still.

Accessories & Lighting

  • Kitchen runner – this is an outdoor rug but I love how it’s holding up with the dogs & traffic in here. The price on these fluctuates so watch them if you like them!
  • Rug pad – since our rug has no padding it needed some underneath
  • Rug tape – to really make sure the rug stays secure
  • Black Track Lighting in Kitchen was on clearance at Lowes – looking to find it elsewhere
  • Light in Breakfast Nook
  • Barstools
  • Towels

Any questions on anything? We definitely weren’t taking a ton of photos to share each step by step because 1/2 the time we were just going with the flow. There are tons of great tutorials out there so definitely utilized Youtube as you go. I wanted to share what we did in case it helped you on your project or even helped you make a decision!


Allison Waken is the founder, writer, photographer, and content creator of All for the Memories and All for the Boys.

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