One Room Challenge – Kitchen Makeover Plans

See our plans for our One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover! We plan to paint our outdated cabinets, replace the tile backsplash and open it up.

Giving our kitchen a makeover has been on our radar since we moved into our house over 7 years ago but, for a variety of reasons, we never got around to it. Until now! Dun dun dun! That’s right! We are finally giving our kitchen a much-needed makeover! And, because we are crazy people, we decided to do the kitchen for our first-ever One Room Challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with the One Room Challenge, it’s a biannual design challenge where 20 designers (and even more guests like me) tackle a room makeover in 6 weeks. That’s right, we’re going to redo our kitchen in 6 weeks! The task seems daunting, but we also want to just get it over with. Fingers crossed we don’t regret it!

ORC Guest

So, here’s the plan for our One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover:

  • Paint the cabinets
  • Replace the outdated hardware
  • Replace the current backsplash
  • Take out a few cabinets
  • Add floating shelves

Our kitchen has excellent bones. There is a decent amount of storage, the layout is fantastic and it opens into the dining space, which are all major wins. The biggest downfall is the dark cabinets and the super ugly hardware.

Painting the Cabinets

The largest part of this makeover will be painting the cabinets. After doing a ton of research we’ve decided to take on painting the cabinets ourselves. It’s definitely a huge job, but we’ve had success with both of the bathroom cabinets upstairs, so I’m hoping it turns out well! Since we’ve maintained a pretty traditional style in this house, we decided to go with white for all of the cabinets. The white is really going to update and brighten the space. We will be replacing the cabinet hardware, but I haven’t decided on a style or finish yet. Jesse and I are both drawn to more modern pulls, but we know that style won’t work well in our space. I’m sure inspiration will strike once the cabinets are done!

ORC kitchen before

Tiling the Backsplash

The kitchen back splash is also outdated and not very pretty, so we plan on replacing that as well. They wouldn’t be so bad if they were just white, but I’m not feeling the random patterned tiles. Since the counters are staying as is we want a tile that will compliment them. We are leaning heavily toward a greige subway tile with white grout. The gray-brown color will pair well with the brown and tan in the counters, while also standing out against the white cabinets. We have never tiled a back splash before, so we’re going to attempt that for the first time ever too. I told you we are crazy.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Makeover

Removing Cabinets

But by far the biggest undertaking in this room is that we will be removing the upper cabinets from the peninsula that separates the kitchen from the dining space. This one was actually Jesse’s idea, but I am completely on board. The cabinets are visually heavy, so removing them and opening up the two spaces even more is going to be amazing. I can just imagine how much brighter the kitchen will be with all the light from the dining space pouring in!

We will be replacing the vent hood with an island hood. It will hang directly from the ceiling, rather than the cabinets like our current hood. We may have to hire an electrician for this job, but we definitely don’t want to be without a vent hood. Removing the cabinets and replacing the hood means that the ceiling is going to need to be patched and repainted as well.

Kitchen makeover One Room Challenge

Adding Open Shelves

To make up for taking out storage space, we will be adding open shelves to the right of the windows for storing our everyday dishes and glassware. I know open shelving can be controversial and I wasn’t open to the idea at first for cleanliness sake, but I’ve come around. From everything I’ve heard and read, if the dishes on the open shelves are used regularly, then dust and cooking grime aren’t as much of an issue.

Without the cabinets, I will also need to reorganize everything. Those cabinets currently hold all of our Pyrex glassware, Mara’s plastic plates and bowls and our spices. These things will all need to find new homes (I’m leaning heavily towards a spice drawer). We don’t utilize the kitchen storage as well as we could, so I plan on changing that. All of these updates should not only make our kitchen prettier, but also more functional.

ORC kitchen makeover

I feel like our plans for this room seem easy enough, but it’s kind of like the book If You Give A Mouse a Cookie. One thing leads to another, and another, and another. We will be getting started with the cabinet painting this weekend! I’m so excited to finally have my white kitchen and to turn the most used room in our house into a space we truly love.


  1. this will be fun, ashley! can’t wait to see it transform!

  2. This is going to be so fun! I’m impressed by people who plan kitchens and bathrooms for the ORC. I can’t wait to see what you do!

  3. This will be an exciting transformation. I think kitchens and bathrooms are the toughest, but the results are always worth the hard work. Good luck and I can’t wait to see the final results.

  4. I love all your plans for this kitchen! I am also partial to white kitchens and I love having that open feeling between dining, kitchen, and even living spaces. Are you doing all of the updates yourself? We’re going to be moving and hopefully buying a house soon, so I can see us doing some renovations in the future, but I’m not sure what’s realistic to do ourselves.

    • Thanks Kristin! We are doing as much of the work ourselves that we can. It looks like we’re going to have to hire an electrician to hook up a new range hood, but other than that we’re going solo!

  5. I look forward to seeing more of this! You are brave because that’s a tight timeline and I think i’d be crazy dealing with my kitchen torn up!

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