Our Kitchen Refresh for Under $5

Those who know me would probably say I have a love for children’s books (which I sell) & kid-friendly art. I love color (although I typically wear black) & am probably overly obsessed with Cartoon Saloon & LAIKA Studios.

However, my house was pretty much a white-walled blank canvas.


When we bought our home, I was 7 months pregnant. I grew up military (that is, “strictly without painting the walls or hanging pictures everywhere”) & had gone a little nuts painting the apartment I shared with Ted before we bought our own place. Some of my choices were regrettable (except that they allowed me to try new things & learn from them, so not entirely awful altogether!). Others were excellent & I find that I miss them. But when we first bought this house, I chose to ease in with a muted pastel palette that really just tinted the white walls with suggestions of color. I chose the La Croix of paint colors. The yellow was an off-white paint inspired vaguely by a lemon. You get the idea.


This room is a sort of mint. I think the color is literally “A Hint of Mint”, & it was the boldest of our original New Home wall colors.

Then we had a baby. And another. And another. Our focus was pulled to the “right now” & the house was where we made memories & tried desperately to clean often enough that everyone stayed as healthy as possible & little hands didn’t find too much questionable-to-horrific stuff to eat off the floors. Ah, those trenches of early parenthood (which we will never graduate from if we keep having babies at this rate! NO, I am not pregnant. I’m just reminding myself now for when the baby fever strikes again. Someone out there is reading this right now, nodding in solidarity. That’s my person. I see you).

Recently, I looked at my one half-painted bold room that I started painting during my last pregnancy- until my belly hampered my ability to actually reach to the ceiling on the step stool I could barely balance on anymore. I was sick of it, so I grabbed a 2” paintbrush (go figure that’s all I had on hand to paint the living room walls!) & the rest of that gallon of paint & tackled the remaining section in the living room while my boys napped & my daughter & husband started planning the spring garden. I felt accomplished! The paint was up & dry before the boys woke up.


First coat & our family initials! All covered up now.

I decided then that I wanted to paint the kitchen with our signature tangerine kitchen color. But funds are a bit tight, so I wanted to keep the transformation to around $5. And I did!

My favorite discovery: if you cannot paint the entire room, or if you really just want some pops of color, buy a SAMPLE container of paint from your hardware store. We bought a sample of Sherwin Williams’ “Amber Wave” from Lowe’s for around $4. Then, I picked up one plain sponge from Ace for about $1.

I decided I wanted a children’s book illustration inspired wallpaper feel to the kitchen, featuring oranges. Using a Sharpie, I drew our two circles & 3 leaves on my sponge. Then I cut them out with very sharp scissors. Voila. Wall stamps!


Then I wiped down all my walls to remove dust, grease, etc. I’m lazy, so I used a Norwex cloth & warm water, but you can use soapy water & a cloth if you prefer. When I finished, the first section I cleaned was clean & dry so I could start painting!

Using the illustrated side where I could still see my marker lines as the stamp (because the sponge cuts were most exact on that side & the shape was rougher on the other side), I began randomly stamping orange circles all over my walls. Boy was THAT harrowing. This phase may leave you thinking “I have made a truly horrible mistake”. Tell yourself what I told myself: you’re in it this far, & there’s no turning back. Maybe it will come together yet...

Because now it’s time for the leaves! I used the leftover green from the living room so this did not add to my cost. If you have an idea that requires multiple colors stamped, I still suggest sample sizes for the smallest price point OR look through the “oops” cans of returned paints for some steals (I like shopping this spot whenever I am at the hardware store because having a stockpile of paint for when inspiration strikes is something I like to keep handy). As soon as I started stamping the leaves on my oranges, the relief washed over me. The polka dots of regret were magically transformed into the playful illustration-inspired faux wallpaper I envisioned!


I finished my admittedly tiny kitchen in under 3 hours, from cleaning & wall-washing to dried paint & reorganizing the countertops. Super simple, super affordable weekend project done!


Would you DIY stamp a wall in your home? What colors or design would you do? I’d love to see any similar projects!

Enjoy handmaking your home! đź’›


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