We transformed our kitchen into a place to cook and play.   Before our transformation it was dated, the cabinets were a light colored oak and showed every stain (*ahem* decoration) and while I love the size and functionality of my fridge, it did not add any spark to our kitchen.   Time for a DIY project!!   Thank you to Lowes Creative Ideas for generously providing the supplies to do this project.   I am thrilled with the results!!!   We did four things to spruce up our kitchen.   We stained the cabinets, inserted paneling on the cabinet doors, added hardware and painted our fridge.   Here is how we transformed our kitchen from blah to a fun place to cook and play.

kitchen before and after

Spruce up the cabinet doors.

We picked a darker color than what we had as it would hide the stains and marker colorings that my children had lovingly added to a couple of the doors.   We also only went slightly darker so that if there would be scratches in the future, they wouldn’t be as noticeable (we hope).   I was shocked, I thought this would be a ton of work – and it was work – but not as much as I thought it would be!

We asked our Lowes assistant to cut the paneling to fit the insides of the doors – thank you!!

We took the doors off and sanded them, and the paneling lightly.

We stained the doors, jams and the paneling   with rub-on gel stain.   Super easy to work with!   If it is drying too fast (thanks Texas heat), consider mixing with a tiny bit of regular stain.

We used liquid nails and stacks of books to glue the paneling to the center of each cabinet.

We screwed the completed back up and coated the doors with polyurethane to protect them.

supply list for cabinet remodel

Give the Fridge a Face-Lift

To paint the fridge we intended to use automotive paint.   The kids were gone for the morning (and there was no way I could move the fridge outside – this thing is giagantic!) so I took the handles off, quickly sanded the finish to make it less “shiny” and then used spray-paint automotive primer to coat the fridge.   It took a morning.   Then my kids came home and my son had an asthma attack (probably due to the spray paint in the air – he had no attacks during all of our painting previously).   So I had to rethink my plans to use spray paint.

I asked a paint specialist for advice and they said that automotive paint is oil-based enamel – the best thing to use when painting a fridge would be the spray paint that is rust-resistant (i.e. automotive spray paint), but a second option would be a can of oil enamel.   So we purchased red oil-based enamel and hoped for the best –   I LOVE the results!     You need to let the paint cure for 5 days before touching.   For the handles, we primed them with plastic primer, then spray painted them with metallic paint, before covering them with the same gel-stain we used on the cabinets.   My hope is that they match the “rubbed bronze” look of the metal hardware we chose for the cabinet doors.

Ways to play in the kitchen

Please tell me I am not the only parent who has kids who love to be close by while mom is doing meal prep stuff.   The kids are already having fun playing and cooking with me in the kitchen.   How do your kids like to play while you are making meals?


Kitchen finished

Some of our favorite kitchen play activities are pretending to cook on the floor with empty pots and pans, or making a drum set out of the pans and banging away to our hearts content.   We also enjoy learning our letters with magnets and coloring on our new fridge with dry erase markers.


Thanks again to Lowes Creative Ideas for helping make my dream remodel a reality!   This kitchen facelift cost under $300 (most went to the hardware).   I absolutely love the look of our new kitchen (and can’t wait till I can save up for a new stove – this is the oven I am drooling over it should be able to feed our family of 8 for years to come).   Like our project?   Go tell them so on the Lowes facebook page.   For other ideas for home improvements, check out the Lowes Blog or their pinterest page.

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  1. That looks so fantastic. Love the red fridge … what a great centerpiece! I’m so surprised you were able to use rub-on gel stain for your cabinets … I’m inspired and might have to try that in my kitchen. Just saw that you have six kids under six … wow! What a blessing … I’m sure your days are full and fun.

  2. @Chrissy, this was a mom did this by herself without Dad’s help project. If I can do it you can too! It took about 2 weeks of naptime (I only worked an hour or so an afternoon).

  3. Noelle, I’ll put a blurp up about them on facebook in a couple of days. Will email you once I get the photo/tutorial made 🙂 They are really simple, charms of items, beads for filler and an IKEA magnetic spice container.

  4. The paneling is so cool. Totally refreshes the look and if it was a DIY project, I’m assuming it wasn’t too hard? Looks great! The red fridge is awesome.

  5. Wow, this looks really fantastic!! I have the same cabinets now and have been wanting to add the paneling inserts but thought it would be too difficult, your remodel makes me think I can do this too!!

  6. I love your red fridge I just called my hubby in to see it and he said yeah lowes sells the paint haha. Men. How did you do the ice maker area in the door? The same as the handles? Oh and yes my guy stays where ever Mama is so when in the kitchen he is also.