Jan 25, 2013

1980's Melamine Cupboard Update

So, my husband and I had a little problem with our kitchen cupboards.  We didn't like them.  They were kinda really ugly, plus a few of them were missing their trim at the bottom. 

So, over the past... ummm.. year... we decided to give them a little facelift. 

Here's a reminder of what we started with. 

You can see the original post and a few more before pictures here:
And here you can read about how we decided to give them a facelift by adding trim and paintable beadboard wallpaper.   
The butcher block counters are from Ikea and you can read all about that adventure here:
In my defence, everything has been done since about the end of November, so it didn't actually take quite a year....
Anyways, here's what it looks like today! 

The cupboards were painted with Behr Premium Plus in white. On the melamine surfaces (backs of the doors and sides of the cupboards) I primed with a great primer by Glidden called "Gripper". Two coats of primer with a couple of hours dry time between coats. Then I waited several days for the primer to cure before coating them with the semi-gloss white paint.

And yes, in case you are wondering, the walls did get painted a light grey.   
You can read about the washstand makeover here:

When I painted the walls, I didn't paint the kitchen front door. But a few weeks ago, I decided to paint it a few shades darker than the walls.  My husband doesn't really like it as he thinks it's too dark. 

I don't mind the colour, though.  The one thing I do mind, though, is the carpet at the front door. It collects lint like crazy and takes ten million years to vaccuum off.  I guess it serves me right for paying only paying $10.00 at walmart. 

I do really like the mat in front of the sink, though.  It only takes 10 seconds to vaccuum, plus it's super soft on the feet. 
There's still a few things that will get done with time.  I'm thinking about painting the dresser that I have in here and I need to find something to hang above it, and I also need to paint the hallway, so the colours flow better between them. 

So, do we like the new look of our kitchen?  Yes, overall, it is a huge improvement over what we started with.  It's by no means perfect, though, as neither of us are professionals.  One of the reasons we decided to go the route that we did was because we are thinking about moving within a year or so.  We wanted to clean it up, make it presentable, but not have to put a fortune into doing that because we wouldn't be enjoying the results for too long.  But you know what else has made me happy about it?  When I've mentioned to people that it's wallpaper on the doors.. their reaction is... "no way?!" 

UPDATE: For more details on how the cupboards were actually done, please click HERE


  1. You did a GREAT job! It looks fantastic!!!

  2. Wow your kitchen looks gorgeous!!What a beautiful transformation!

  3. What is the grey color you used called?!

    1. The walls were "Tulle White" by Glidden, and the door was Intercoastal by Glidden as well. They were on the same paint chip card.

  4. It really looks so good! I was wondering why you had not written what you did to the front of the cabinets and now I know why! Awesome idea and I would have never known if you had not told us about the wallpaper! lin

  5. you did a great job! I love the washboard look! I am going to have to pin this for my upcoming kitchen facelift

  6. Gorgeous! I love these kind of makeovers...imaginative and creative! Your kitchen looks so delightful and I love the pink accents! You must feel so happy in your new space! Wishing you a lovely weekend! Angie xo

  7. Wonderful makeover! Love what you've done!

  8. Amazing! I'm emailing this to mom asap, maybe we can update her kitchen after all!!

  9. Those are really the same cupboards! You are amazing for turning those into something beautiful. Love it all.

  10. Your kitchen looks great! I'm house hunting and I've seen cabinets like yours started out in some of the homes I've seen so it's nice to know that I can fix them if need be!


  11. Huge difference, looks amazing! And I love the new door color! Makes it pop and adds some great contrast!

    Jenna @ http://rainonatinroof.com

  12. Wow--an incredible transformation. I bet the designers from Trading Spaces wished there was bead board wall paper around back then.

  13. They look awesome! I love how you added the beadboard paper. :)
    I think those are the exact cabinets we used to redo our laundry room
    They were a discard from work! We also added trim.
    Love how yours turned out. :)

  14. Thank you so much for idea of bead board wallpaper. We have been discussing removing the insert on our cabinet doors and using bead board, but there are 25 panels. We hate sawing (and are terrible at it!), but great with wallpaper. I didn't know it existed.

  15. I just went and read all about your kitchen transformation. This looks wonderful. What a difference. Your right it's hard to believe they're the same doors. You did a fantastic job. The wash stand is a nice touch, and the grey(gray, I never know) on the door looks great to me.
    via, CCC - Pat

  16. Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment about my 'Ruffled Pillow Tutorial'. Your kitchen transformation is beautiful. Love the beadboard wallpaper you added to the cabinets. The hard to vacuum rug is so pretty - worth the extra time it takes to keep nice.
    Thanks for sharing,

  17. What an awesome transformation. You did good!! Love this wallpaper and you'd never now it wasn't real wood.

  18. They look great!!! Goes to show that your do not have to gut the kitchen to get a "nicer" one.

    Can't wait to look through your blog.

  19. No offense to your husband, but don't listen, that door is PERFECTION! Great job!

  20. WOW!!! Amazing that they are the same cabinets! I wanted to read about the butcher block counter tops, but it kept taking me to the cabinet doors:( It all loos fantastic and was well worth your time! Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend. Have a great weekend!

  21. The transformation looks great! Now I know what color to paint my door. I had to laugh and laugh when I read it takes you ten million years to vacuum the rug! You sound like me.

  22. So...was the original texture of the cabinet doors smooth? Ours are textured and I worry about the wallpaper adhering properly. Also, how did you attach the framing on each cabinet door? The kitchen is beautiful and I LOVE the door color! Thank you for the diy advice.

  23. What a great update! Bye-bye 80's... I'm featuring your kitchen in the PoPP Spotlight this week. Thanks for joining the party.

  24. What a beautiful transformation!!!
    AND I love the door color - I think the contrast is absolutely perfect!

  25. What a great change. Looks really nice.

  26. Amazing job you guys! They do not look like the original cupboards...you need to give a tutorial.....
    I like the dark grey on the one door....
    Super duper job.
    come for a visit

  27. Dark gray on the door perfect. I'm experimenting on a facelift to my cabinets too. More info on the wall paper would be wonderful. Blessings! Lara

  28. Hi there! These look great! How are they holding up to wear and tear?

  29. I have the same cabinets, from the before of course. I'd like to know also how they're holding up - pictures please? My fear is the wallpaper, but maybe i'm being silly.

    My neighbors simply painted theirs white, and to great effect (and raised to the ceiling.)

    Hoping to convince husband. :)

  30. I love the color of the kitchen door. It makes a statement (in a good way!). Before it blended in with the walls, now you can tell it's a door. Great choice!

  31. I heard about you from one of my friend and she was happy with the best services you provide. Even i have to use Melamine cover for my chipboards.

  32. Did you replace the doors. I have the same 80s style kitchen and hate it. I am torn with painting it or new doors how did you get the new look??

  33. Did you have any trouble with the doors butting up one another on the adjacent cabinet edges? It seems we need to trim our doors a bit to make them fit back on. Any advice is appreciated!

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