I closed on my first house this past spring. I decided to take on a little more than the average first-time homebuyer as I purchased a two-family home that's over 100 years old. The rental upstairs is currently vacant while I renovate and get it ready for new tenants to move in next month and there are quite a few things that need updating -- on a budget. Enter the kitchen.

Bridget DeMeis

Pretty dated, right? The cabinets are in great condition, so I didn't have to worry about those. Although I decided to buy new hardware for them to elevate the look more. My biggest concerns were the countertop, floor, and stove. I had to figure out how to freshen and update the look in a way that would cost me the minimal amount of money (and effort -- it's too hot up there to be doing any serious labor).

After a quick Google search inquiring whether or not I could paint the laminate countertops, I made a trip to the store and picked up a quart of Rust-Oleum Countertop Coating (tinted in Light Ash). The best news? It only cost $20. I also picked up a small paint tray, a couple foam brushes, and a high-density foam roller. All my supplies together cost $30.65. If you want to try this out yourself, you'll also need painters tape, but I already had some at home so I didn't have to buy any. You'll also probably want to have some mineral spirits on hand in case you drip the paint or get it on anything you didn't mean to. The paint cleans up really easily with the mineral spirits while it's still wet. I already had a bottle at home.

My first step was cleaning the countertops. I filled a bucket with hot soapy water and wiped everything down. I noticed some of the caulk was loose so I also scraped that up as well, wiped the joint down again, and then went back over everything with just a damp cloth.

Bridget DeMeis

Next, I had to tape off the little strip of molding that runs along the backsplash as well as the kitchen sink. You want to tape as closely to the seams as you can. When I taped off the sink, I was more concerned with preserving the metal of the sink so I was a little over cautious and what I found when I pulled the tape up after I painted was a noticeable yellow line all around the sink where I had taped too far. As I mentioned, the paint comes up really easily with mineral spirits while it's still wet so don't be afraid to tape as close to the seam as you can.

Bridget DeMeis

Then it was time to get painting! I started by cutting everything in. I took one of my small foam brushes and dabbed the paint on the tiny top ledge of the backsplash all the way around. I also painted the strip of countertop behind the sink, the seam between the countertop and the backsplash, and the corners of the backsplash. Then I picked up the roller and used that to paint pretty much everything else. If there was something I couldn't get to with the roller, I painted it quickly with the small foam brush and continued rolling.

Bridget DeMeis

I could tell as I was painting that I would need a second coat, but I knew that wasn't going to be a problem as I only used 1/4 of the can of paint to do all of the work for the first coat. The countertops were mostly dry to the touch after about an hour, but I let them dry overnight before I applied the second coat. Needless to say, I'm thrilled with how they turned out!

Bridget DeMeis

As you can see from the picture, I also swapped out the old brass hardware for new brushed nickel pulls, which ended up bringing my renovation cost up to $70, but if you don't need to do that then you'll still be under $50. Unfortunately, I don't think I can get around having to swap out the flooring since it really doesn't go with my new gray countertops. Thankfully, I have an amazing father who is going to help me install groutable vinyl tiles this weekend and swap out the stove for a newer one I currently have to go in there. Then I think the kitchen will be complete!

Well, except for the bathtub. No really, there's an acrylic bathtub in the pantry that's not hooked up to the plumbing anymore. I don't have a picture of it at the time of writing this, but I promise I will update and add one as soon as I can!