See how a new paint color and DIY updates made this kitchen look brand new

This ranch-style kitchen looked dated with dark wooden cabinets, but the space was brought back to life with a sleek, modern paint job.
by Brittany Loggins / / Source: TODAY

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Talk about an easy makeover! This kitchen shows how paint can take a dated room and transform it into a modern oasis.

It all started when Mandi Johnson wanted to freshen up the look of the kitchen in her ranch-style home in Caton, Ohio. With a budget of $2,000, she knew she wouldn’t be able to make any actual renovations, so she focused on small things that would make a big impact. She set about painting her cabinets — and the outcome is stunning.

Kitchen before and after
What a difference a paint job makes!Courtesy Mandi Johnson

“My main goal was to brighten and modernize the space, yet using most of what was already there," Johnson, 32, told TODAY Home.

To stay within her budget, Johnson sanded and painted the cabinets and installed the brand-new countertops herself.

“I recommend splurging on countertops and hardware, as those are the elements that really add a sense of quality to a space,” said Johnson. “You can get by with inexpensive cabinets that fade to the background with a nice paint job, letting the other decorative elements stand out.”

Kitchen before and after
The dark wood on the original cabinets made the space feel dated and cramped.Courtesy Mandi Johnson

The other aspect of the kitchen update that made a big difference was removing cabinets to create a more open look.

“Removing one cabinet and painting the upper cabinet and walls white really opened up the space visually and brought so much extra light to our home,” Johnson said. “We don't have many large windows, and the yard is heavily shaded, so the white really made a huge difference.”

Kitchen before after
Open shelving creates a sleek, modern feel.Courtesy Mandi Johnson

For people who have smaller budgets or hope to easily freshen up a rental space, Johnson suggested changing out hardware, light fixtures and wall paint color for small changes that make big differences.

Kitchen before and after
The final result feels fresh and open!Courtesy Mandi Johnson

If you're hoping to snag a similar style, Johnson shared her philosophy.

“Look for something simple and timeless,” she said. “Don't be afraid to paint your cabinets, but definitely take the time to do it right.”

Johnson documented the full renovation on her own blog, as well as a blog she contributes to called, A Beautiful Mess.

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