Our Exciting Kitchen Makeover: Before and After

July 29, 2013 | FILED UNDER: Room Makeovers

It’s time for our kitchen makeover reveal! It’s amazing what paint (in our case, Sherwin-Williams Thunderous!) can do to transform a space:

Kitchen cabinets with Sherwin-Williams Thunderous paint

Before picture of kitchen cabinets

We had a contractor paint the cabinets as well as add hardware to them and replace the travertine backsplash with subway tile. It was a little nerve-wracking trying to choose paint and backsplash colors while still in Chicago. We just gave it our best guess and held our breath that it would work well together once it was all up. Thankfully it did – I’m so excited about the results!

Awesome kitchen cabinet makeover with Sherwin-Williams Thunderous paint

Kitchen Makeover Before and After – Remodeling Tips

Here are a few takeaways from our kitchen makeover –  while we didn’t do the work ourselves I learned a few things along the way:

1) Paint is a great first step

Just painting the cabinets can transform the space. If you are a savvy DIYer, you can paint them yourself. Otherwise, expect to pay $1000-$2000 depending on the number of cabinets – still much less than the cost of replacing them. We used Sherwin Williams’ Thunderous color on the cabinets.

2) Don’t overlook the power of lighting

We added some pendant lights over the counter area where there were previously none (one of the three pendants broke during installation so we are waiting for another one to come in). In addition to providing some additional lighting over the food prep area, they also help set the tone of the kitchen.

New kitchen pendants with Edison bulbs

The amber glass of the pendants adds a nice warmth to the room and the Edison bulb inside puts off a cool industrial glow at night!


3) Hardware helps

Adding some hardware to the cabinets changed their look considerably. It also saves the cabinets from the wear and tear of handling them directly. The finish on the original cabinets had started to wear off in the areas that were frequently grabbed.

New hardware on kitchen cabinets

4) Invest in key areas

While the original travertine backsplash wasn’t bad, we realized that replacing it would be key to truly changing the style of kitchen and decided it was worth the additional cost.

Green-gray subway tile blacksplash

5) Aim for consistency in finishes

Think beyond your kitchen to other parts of the house. For instance we chose brush nickel for the fixtures in kitchen and the cabinet pulls, and carried that through the bathroom fixtures as well. The style of pendant lights works well with the other lighting we added in other areas of the house (more on that to come!)


6) Add additional color and pattern through accessories

Now I’m in the process of incorporating some fun rugs, dishtowels, etc. to give the space some character. I want to create a little coffee station with a tray for spoons, sugar, etc. next to my coffee pot – currently a work in progress!


 7) Use inspiration images

Finding a couple kitchens that I particularly loved was a big help in being able to envision how this space could look. 

It was a fun process to see it all come together. I am looking forward to enjoying this kitchen for many years to come. Hope you like the results! Want to check out the other rooms in our home? Here’s our home tour

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28 responses to “Our Exciting Kitchen Makeover: Before and After”

  1. So pretty! I love the cabinet color and that gorgeous glass tile backsplash. Everything looks great with the existing counters and floor and yet it really looks fresh and updated. I also like that it's not the same old white kitchen you see everywhere. Great job!

  2. Hello! I went to our local Sherwin Williams store to find the thunderous paint color and itโ€™s a very dark gray color. Did you adjust your color any? I love that color so much!

    • Hi Abby! Nope, we used the color as is. I always recommend first painting a test area (like a plain piece of plywood) and propping it in your kitchen to see how the color looks before painting the cabinets. The color appears different shades over the course of the day based on the amount of light coming through the windows! Good luck!

  3. I love it! Great job! Im going to painting cabinets too, but I bought the Plascon colour. And I’m a little nervous about it. I don’t know will I succeed)))) Do you know something about Plascon?

  4. Hi love your kitchen the paint looks green, after reading another comment, they said it was actually a grey I’m looking for a green Can you clarify this for me Great job.

    • Hi Ann! It is a greenish gray. ๐Ÿ™‚ It really is in between the two and can look more green or more gray depending on the time of day and amount of light in the kitchen. I love the color. It is called Thunderous by Sherwin Williams. I always recommend getting a sample and trying out a small area in your kitchen before committing to a color.

  5. We recently painted our cabinets almost the exact color. Beautiful but now we are trying to find a paint for the walls. What color did you use for the walls?

    • That is great! Our wall color is beige (the best I can describe it!). Unfortunately it was some type of custom blend that the previous owners had made, so I don’t have a name to provide you with!

  6. Any chance you have the SW paint color number or a picture of the can showing the paint input ratios? Their current โ€œThunderousโ€ is in no way green but local store said they could match it knowing the inputs! Thanks!

    • It’s the same Thunderous. It is a gray with green undertones. I always recommend getting a small sample can to try out before you commit. It looks different in different lighting situations. Best of luck!

  7. Hi! What direction does your kitchen face? Your room is very similar in terms of wall color, counter tops, and layout to my kitchen and I want to emulate the effect. However, mine is north facing and it’s making the counter color selection difficult. I’m just wondering if I should even bother picking up a swatch of Thunderous or if I should go straight for less grayed out yellow-greens.

  8. I commented on a different picture with a picture of single cabinet on the Pinterest cover page that looked like these. However the other picture looked like you painted the cabinet and then put brown stain over it to give it a weathered look. I was wondering if you did use a stain, what color stain was it. I’m looking to use a moss color & making it look weathered but don’t know what color paint or stain. Any ideas? Thanks

    • Hi Deb, Thanks for your comment! We actually didn’t put any stain on our cabinets to give them a weathered look. It is just the Sherwin Williams Thunderous paint and a clear sealant. It may just have something to do with how the photo was taken. I really do recommend trying a sample of the Thunderous paint if you like the look!

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