Kitchen Design Tips From James

Easy Mess-Free Backsplashes

Check out these expert ideas for easy-to-install mess-free backsplashes.

Before and Afters

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See how James and the I Hate My Kitchen crew transformed these kitchens.

Before: White on White

This kitchen's monochromatic countertops, cabinets and floors all scream "bland." The cabinet boxes are in decent shape, but they could definitely use a new look.

After: Brimming With Style

Rather than buying all-new cabinets, custom doors and drawer fronts were added to the existing boxes to create an updated look while saving tons of cash. Recycled glass countertops, a stylish light fixture and an easy-to-install stainless-steel backsplash add contemporary flair.

Before: Flavorless Space

This outdated kitchen is in dire need of some visual interest. Nothing makes a statement in this space, from the stained laminate countertops to the plain cabinets.

After: A Luxurious Look for Less

Beautiful details and finishes are key to an upscale kitchen, but they don't have to cost a fortune. At $750, a backsplash made from stacked-stone panels adds a high-end look for a reasonable price. The gorgeous quartz countertops are a smart investment, since they never need to be resealed and will last for years.

Before: Crumbling Kitchen

This outdated kitchen is falling apart — the countertops are barely attached to the cabinets, and the walls are covered with a mixture of chipped blue paint and peeling layers of wallpaper.

After: A Work of Art

Creative, low-cost updates make this kitchen one of a kind. Inexpensive stock cabinets were styled with glass inserts and a coat of white paint, while a nature-inspired mural adds a ton of character for only $125. A custom-built walnut and steel tea cart and an exposed brick chimney add even more unique charm.

Before: Blast From the Past

With cracked, stained countertops, worn-out flooring and outdated cabinets, this kitchen is stuck in the 1950s. Plus, the peninsula takes up too much space and makes the room feel cramped.

After: Sleek and Modern

Modular granite tiles are a great option for creating a a high-end look on a budget. Not only are they easy to install, but they also cost thousands of dollars less than a granite slab. Stylish, aluminum-frame doors breathe new life into the existing cabinets. Finally, removing the peninsula opens up the kitchen and makes room for a new dishwasher.

Before: Cramped Kitchen

Who would want to cook in such a closed-in space? Short on storage, counter space and style, this kitchen isn't particularly welcoming.

After: Ready for Entertaining

Knocking down a wall and adding a large, arched entryway was a dramatic and cost-effective change for this kitchen, transforming it into an open and inviting space for just $710. A new peninsula provides extra seating, while a chandelier, a glass-tile backsplash and wall decals add a bit of glitz and glamour.

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