Some condos, like DMCI, will not turn over the unit to the owner until it has been thoroughly finished. The good thing about it is that you can move in right away. But the downside of not having a choice to leave the unit bare is that you’re pretty much stuck with whatever kind of finish they specified for the project. It’s a homeowners’ dilemma because taking down the brand-new cabinets or re-tiling the floor and bathroom is kinda “nakakahinayang.”
When I was asked to decorate my sister-in-law and friend’s unit in Acacia Estate, the first thing I wanted to change was the kitchen cabinets and countertop. The laminate color was too dark for the unit and so the cabinets made the kitchen look even smaller. And since the kitchen is one of the first areas you see when you enter the unit, I want it to have an impact. But both my clients had very limited budget so having custom-made cabinets was out of the question.
Here’s what I did and what you can do too if you want to give your kitchen a make-over. Both projects cost less than P7,000.
Spot the difference! From vertical to horizontal cabinet handles. Just apply wood filler on the screw holes and proceed with these steps:
- Laminates can definitely be painted over. You don’t need to strip it off since it would damage the surface, making the project even costlier. Prep the surface by sanding it a bit using 220 grit sandpaper. Laminates are too smooth for the paint to adhere onto. Even if it is a textured laminate, sand it still.
- Next prime the surface using flat white latex (water-based paint). I personally don’t want to use oil-based enamel since condos usually have limited ventilation. Enamel odor takes forever to leave the room and you don’t want that.
- Choose any color you want in high/semi-gloss finish. Remember to still use water-based paint.
TIP: Since water-based paint dries much quicker than oil-based one, using a foam or cottom roller would ensure a smoother finish. Paint brush would leave brush marks unless that’s the finish you’re after.
With my sister-in-law’s kitchen (above), the mirror backsplash cost around P4,000 plus the quart of paint for P400+.
For my friend’s unit, I wanted the kitchen to look clean, sort of Scandinavian-inspired. I initially planned on replacing the cabinet doors with melamine board for the glossy look but I realized that I had to replace the entire cabinet too with melamine board and that would go beyond the budget. So again, I had them paint glossy white.
The glass doors looked great with the back of the cabinet painted blue-green. It might still have looked great if they only had white ceramics as contents. But who wastes precious space for such stuff anyway? So to hide the clutter, (because it really shows through despite the frosted glasses) I had the back of the glass painted too. Not bad, eh?
The black countertop was actually just 60x60cm plain black granite tiles laid over the existing granite. I had the left part extended for a cooktop so the gas and trash can could be stored underneath. It looked more customized like that than just placing a gas range in that spot.
Those white little subway tile-like (30x30cm) cost just P23/pc and the black granite tiles were about P150/pc (tiles were from Floor Center.) For this particular project, we spent no more than P8,000 including the tiles adhesive, grout, plywood for the extended countertop, paint and labor.
I really wish I could take better photos because these kitchens look way better in actual. Hehehe!
If you have similar kitchen and are dying to give it a fresh look, go ahead! P10,000 would go a long way. You can paint the cabinet yourself and just ask the help of someone reliable to do the tiling. Lucky you if you have a handy husband!