Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Ok, so it's all about paint and knobs! You can literally change the whole facade with paint and knobs. You know that friend who says "DON'T PAINT! YOU'LL RUIN THE KITCHEN!" Yeah don't listen to them. I had about five of Norms mates tell me that... as they sank beers and watched footy in the shed, only to waddle up every few hours (each time a little more sideways) and tell me "You've ruined it!"

Who cares! Because when it looks amazing and you're sipping coffee in your new kitchen, you will feel a sense of pride because you've saved tens of thousands of dollars!

No matter what skill level you are, you can do this. I promise! If you have any questions, just email us and we will use our newfound skills to answer them.

Photo credits: @arianagillrie

OK you littler ripper, we are ready to start!

Take all of the cabinet doors off! (Even if you've never renovated before get a drill, put it on reverse and you'll be surprised how easy it is.) Put the screws in a safe place and number the doors with a pencil. If you do this, you'll save hours trying to work out what door fits where. (found out the hard way.)



We started by painting the bricks. Pour yourself a glass of wine or two and put on your best music because this takes a while. Wash down the brick first to get all the crap off it from years of wear and tear.

Start with an undercoat (your local hardware store will tell you which one.) Don't scrimp on the layers and put a generous coat on it. For the final coat it's personal preference if you go low or high gloss. I went low because the bricks were pretty scrappy. Also I find a high gloss makes it a feature and there's so many more things to draw your eye to in our kitchen. But you go with whatever your heart's telling you! Triple warning, this takes AGES!

Please note: Paint only looks glossy because is wet.

Notice that we have also undercoated and painted the side cupboards on the top shelves and under the kitchen bench. We ended up top coating this with an old spray gun from our shed, however you can use roller or spray if you would prefer. If you've got a spray gun go with that because it's easier than you think to use. Just make sure you put an inch of water in the paint before you spray.

NEXT: TILES! Do you have tiles like this?


It's going to be sad to see the old milk jug and scones tile go...... OK! I'm being sarcastic. I've seen more fashionable half eaten bones coughed up by our dog Denise.

Go to your local hardware store and get a pre-made pack of tile paint. This will contain prep, primer and paint. It cost approximately $80 and was more than enough for the surface. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you tape the sink and other surfaces prior, as I slopped the tile paint all over the sink and Norm spent hours scraping it off (swearing at me under his breath)

Let that dry for a few hours, or go to bed and start again tomorrow.

Now you're ready to start the benchtop!

This is a pretty nerve racking job if it's your first time! But I'm telling you, don't be put off! Hardware stores sell pre-made benchtop paint. It's everything you need and unstuffupable!

Make sure you prep the benchtop well by lightly sanding it with the provided sander in the pack. It's very important to read the instructions carefully prior to mixing the products (learnt the hard way).

You apply one layer and then wait the suggested amount of time, and then apply the top coat. The benchtop needs days to dry, so don't be impatient because it will well and truly stuff it up. Once again tape the crap out of everything so you don't spill the paint on the tiles or sink. I cannot tell you HOW important this is!

Once the benchtop and tiles are completed you can start to see a real difference and your motivation levels will sky rocket!

It's looking pretty flash and I am messy, so you could have a much cleaner work-site than me!


We chose a dark, midnight blue for the cabinets. I was initially thinking white, but we already had too many textures painted white between the bricks, benchtop and tiles. I wanted something to offset that a little. We opted to keep the side shelves that were exposed white to accentuate the cabinetry and not make the kitchen too dark.

If your cabinetry has an old gloss on it sand it down lightly to get it off. You can sand any surface if you like, but the lazy person in me only sands if there's gloss. You can probably get away with a good wipe down otherwise.

If you are a super perfectionist go for a light sand regardless

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you're sanding, use a blower or a wiper to get rid of all of the dust. This will ruin your cabinets. ALSO, if you are painting outside, DO NOT set up under a tree that is dropping leaves! (found out the hard way)

There's two ways you can paint kitchen cabinets. You can carefully paint roll them and touch up with a brush or spray gun them. If you can spray gun them, it's a nicer finish and much quicker. Once again, just remember to put around an inch of water in the spray gun to spray evenly.

To spray or roll, take them outside and place them on a surface that you don't mind having paint dripped on.

Here's ours. Sorry about the messy backyard

Allow 8 hours to dry, and if necessary, apply another coat. Depending on how lazy you are (motivation level may have dropped at this point and you just want to get the bloody thing done) you can just spray one side. If you're still going strong, do both!

Once dried, it's time to reattach! Don't attach with the knobs on as it's easier to attach without them and screw the knobs on once reattached.

KNOB TIME!! The easiest way to update your kitchen is new knobs. I got an entire kitchen's, worth for $16 at the hardware shop. If you're unsure of what knob to go for just get something simple and cheap. You can buy them online for practically nothing.

When the cabinets go on you will squeal with delight! YOU WON'T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS! Even if you haven't renovated before, I'm sure you nailed it!

Now everything's painted you look around and everything else looks horrible, especially the floors! New flooring costs thousands right? WRONG! Grab some pre-made coloured grout. It should come in a squeezy bottle so you can poor it straight onto the cracks. It costs around $11 and that should be enough to cover a significant amount of flooring. It's amazing the difference and BANG new floors for $11. Too cheap!! Our grout was HORRIBLE, so we needed a few coats that required two bottles. Below is a picture in the early stages.

Look at the difference and this is only the top coat!!

So, everything's looking fresh and new, but can you see your old dishwasher tinged with yellow and showing her age at ten years old. I personally can't justify throwing out things that work perfectly because they don't look good.

If I did, Norm and I would have thrown ourselves out years ago

It's a waste of money and money we don't have. Soooo for less than $15 you can spray it! You can get stainless steel paint that sticks to plastic!

You beauty! We now have a new looking dishwasher that looks amazing!

UPDATE: Paint has been on the dishwasher for nearly two weeks now and not even a chip. So ease your worry if you're concerned that it may not withstand wear and tear.

Everything now looks new, except for power points. They really stand out as old and ugly. Hmmm, but no budget! What's this? Stainless steel paint left in the spray can!

You are now finished!


Look for greens in your own garden. I personally love any eucalyptus plants.

Use food! It's cheap and makes great impact. It's a great way to style for sale as you can eat it after each open home.

I used a palm frond on top of the cabinetry. I literally snapped this off a tree in the front yard.



SO let's have a look at what we have here:

New Bricks and Cabinetry painted: $160 for paint

Knobs: $32

New floor tiles: $22 (grout filler)

New dishwasher and powerpoints: $12 (paint)

Benchtop paint: $123

Tile paint: $111

Total: $460!

Please note: Shutters were extra and installed by the amazing legends at DIY blinds who, we believe have the best value shutters in the country. They can come and install for you as well! If you need shutters definitely ask them for a quote! @diyblinds on instagram or


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