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We've long sworn by the design advice "when in doubt, paint it white." Want proof? This amazing kitchen flip by Lemon Stripes blogger (and PureWow Coterie member) Julia Dzafic. With only four weeks and $7,000, Julia utilized the power of white paint—and a few strategic cosmetic updates—to take the kitchen of her Stamford, Connecticut, home from drab and dated to chic and luminous. 

RELATED: The 50 Best Decorating Tips of All Time 

Before

With a hectic work schedule and a baby on the way, Julia's mission was a straightforward one: a quick, easy and affordable transformation. Luckily she already had nice flooring, new appliances and a functional floor plan. But as you can see, the space was dark and far from stylish. Here's what she wanted to achieve within her budget: 

1. Paint the dingy beige cabinets in a fresh white 
2. Remove the cabinet's dental molding 
3. Replace the backsplash 
4. Install a larger sink 
5. Replace the dark granite counters with something bright
6. Add extra counter space with an island 
 

And here's exactly how she pulled it off...

PAINT: $68

We mean, just look at that difference. Along with her handyman, Julia removed cabinet doors, set up a workshop in the garage and sanded them down before applying two coats of a super-bright white satin finish. (Two gallons in total.) "There isn’t a ton of natural light in the room, but now it looks sunny all day long," says Julia. "That honestly does wonders for the mood!"

Hardware: $72

Next up: Fresh bling for the newly painted cabinets. Julia found some classic, beveled chrome knobs at Lowe's and bought 24 of them. 

backsplash: $90

Replacing the ugly old backsplash with classic white subway tile was a great "scrimp" moment. Hot tip: Subway tiles are cheaper when you buy them in sheets (just $3.28 each) as opposed to single tiles. So that's exactly what Julia did, ultimately opting for a smaller tile size, to avoid overwhelming the room's petite scale. 

’Island’: $499

To add more storage and use the dead space in the middle of the room, Julia was set on an island feature. She considered building one custom, but ultimately it just wasn't in her budget—so she got savvy and tracked down a fabulous removable butcher block island instead (a steal at just $499 from Crate and Barrel). 

 

Sink: $194

Originally Julia pined for a porcelain apron-front sink. But per her budget (and wanting to avoid the risk of broken dishes), she chose a classic stainless model instead. She went with the largest size possible for the space (33 inches), and finished the area with a new chrome faucet that tied into the hardware.  

Countertop: $4,000

The bulk of the expense on this project was the new countertop. While Julia loved the natural look of granite, she couldn't find an option quite white enough—so she made a last-minute pivot to this milky Silestone quartz. "I was nervous that it would look fake or weird," says Julia, "but it's so lovely in person and incredibly durable." 

TRIMWORK: $60

The icky dental molding on the cabinetry was a pain point for Julia, but she liked the idea of incorporating some trim for extra character. So she chose a simple, slimmed-down crown molding and had her handyman install it. "It made almost as big of a difference as the paint itself!" she insists. 

Labor: $1,000

Don't forget to budget for labor costs, guys. Even with a relatively small-scale reno, Julia's handyman was essential to operations: He demo'd the backsplash, took out dental molding and replaced with new, and spearheaded the cabinet painting rehab. 

Finishing touches: $883

By scrimping across her rehab, and keeping her palette super white and clean, Julia was able to splurge on some fun and colorful accents—like her riviera-chic bar stools ($328 a pop). In the lovely breakfast nook, she added artwork, a cozy rug and a budget version of the classic tulip table (just $179!) from IKEA. To die for, right? 

RELATED: This Is What a $34K Kitchen Renovation Looks Like 

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