Home & Style

This Decorator’s DIY Trick to Update Her Kitchen Is Genius

And inexpensive.

This Decorator’s DIY Trick to Update Her Kitchen Is Genius
Photograph by John Magor.

Decorator Nicole Lanteri takes a less-is-more approach to kitchen makeovers. “I do ‘kitchen lite’ spaces that are affordable,” she says. “It changes the look, and you’re not totally redoing your kitchen.” So when she grew tired of the cherry cabinets in her own Arlington condo, she gave the space a quick facelift that better suited her upbeat style.

New cabinets can drain a kitchen budget. Lanteri’s originals were well built, so she painted them and added fresh hardware instead. She then asked her carpenter to add trim to the top and bottom of the upper cabinets, which she painted yellow for a jolt of energy that echoes a barstool she already had. A bonus, she says, is that the cabinets’ new pale-gray shade “makes the granite countertops look less granitey.”


She avoided other big-ticket items such as new appliances and flooring. But she did buy a black faucet and gray outlets. “It makes a big difference to change little things like that,” she says. The crowning touch is the backsplash. “With an open loft space, that backsplash was going to be really defining,” she explains. Lanteri chose a not-too-trendy penny tile from Waterworks: “With the gradation of color, it’s very soft.”

Photograph of renovated kitchen by John Magor.

Where: Arlington

Renovation time: Four weeks

Cost: $7,500

Splurged on: Kohler “Purist” pullout faucet in matte black

Saved by: Painting instead of replacing cabinets

Biggest impact: Yellow trim

This article appears in the October 2015 issue of Washingtonian.