Step One: Finding Inspiration – A Kitchen on a budget


My friend Lori called me a few weeks ago and wanted help picking colors for her kitchen. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get together with her and her husband Bill for a few weeks, so I gave her some assignments before I met with them. I thought I’d blog about the process with you from beginning to end and also share my thought process so you can see how some of the decisions were made. Although I did get together with them this weekend to choose the paint colors, it really has been a project that they have done on their own. They key to a successful project is to really think it out before you run to the paint store.  When I talked to her a few weeks ago, she was biting at the bullet to get going, but by pulling back and really thinking it out, I think they’ll have a kitchen that they really love on a budget that they can afford. 

Here’s a couple of photo’s of their kitchen as it is now…

cabinets2Main kitchen above and side door next to eating area is below



 What is your budget? Lori and Bill want to keep the project as inexpensive as possible. It’s one project of many that they have planned, and they don’t want to go to the expense of a full kitchen remodel.

What do you want to keep? Actually, the better question is what do you need to keep! Obviously, we’d all like to have everything new, but that’s not always realistic. Keeping their budget in mind, they have chosen to keep the existing cabinets, mini-blinds and appliances, but do want to replace the vinyl floor with a new wood floor and  the olive green sink with a white one. Fortunately, Bill is a willing to do all of the works (gotta love that!) which will save them alot of money!

Summary: Knowing the above, this is what they have to work with…

  • Worn, but charming painted cabinets that could use a little revitalization.
  • White refrigerator and dishwasher
  • Tall Painted bead board wainscoat which adds to the charm of the kitchen
  • Nickel finish table and 4 chairs with wicker seats. (Table has a glass top with blue inlay tile underneath, but we will not design around that, as we can ultimately cover the blue if need be.)
  • Olive green double oven that will eventually be replaced
  • Red coffee maker that was a gift from Bill’s parents

Do you have a particular style, color scheme or look in mind? They really didn’t have anything in mind or at least like most people they couldn’t verbalize it. They just new they wanted a new look. They wanted something fresh and inviting. A place they wanted to spend time in.  


I had Lori go through magazines and websites on her computer to find pictures of things that she loved. When looking on the web, some good places are sites of stores that you like, better homes and gardents (  or even blogs like this 🙂  Lori doesnt’ need to necessarily find photo’s of  kitchens, but rooms that she liked the look of. She also might find a piece of artwork, a color scheme, or a vignette that she likes. The point here was to  look and earmark anything that caught her eye and made her feel good. The only rule is don’t think too much. The end goal here is to find an inspiration picture or two.

Why do you need an inspiration picture or item? An Inspiration picture or item is a visual guide to help you start a project. It’s an invaluable tool, as it can keep you on track as you  become overwhelmed with  decisions you’ll need to make. It could be a treaured picture or item that you want to incorporate into the room or a photo of something that you love that you found in a catalog or online. Maybe it’s a photo of a room that catches your eye and you want to achieve that look and feel.

In Lori’s case, it was several things. Last week, she found first found a look in a pottery barn catalog that she loved…


And then she found a valance that pulled in the colors of her stove and her red coffee maker. 


Bill was a little iffy on the valance, but agreed to hold judgement till they saw the real thing. I took the inspiration photo’s and made the color board that is at the top of the post and suggested that the next step was to order the valance and see it it was right. She did get swatches from the local pottery barn, but with the size of the print, it was too hard to tell if it would work. 

Tomorrow, I’ll let you know if it matched and the next steps they’ll take!  



7 thoughts on “Step One: Finding Inspiration – A Kitchen on a budget

  1. Pingback: Step Two: Choosing Finishes - a Kitchen on a Budget « Decorating Divas Dish…

  2. Pingback: Step Three: Painting the Kitchen « Decorating Divas Dish…

  3. Pingback: Step 4: Kitchen on a Budget - Valances and Wall Art « Decorating Divas Dish…

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