It can be easy and affordable to spruce up a dated space.

When Kelly Pinion-Smith and Alfred Smith purchased their home, they knew the kitchen would rank high on their priority list for a makeover. While the 1950s-style room was functional, the interiors didn't reflect the Smiths' sense of style and passion for color. Devising a plan of action, the couple tackled one task at a time, added funky details and splashes of color, and discovered how rewarding a do-it-yourself project can be.

Cabinet Redo
Ripping out existing cabinetry is not always an option. New ones are expensive and, along with appliances, often put you over budget. Luckily, there are cost-effective choices.

The Smiths were unhappy with their cabinets' door style, so they ordered new door fronts made of maple, then painted the original frames a glossy black. Although the cost of new fronts will vary, Kelly and Alfred achieved their look for about $600.Choosing Countertops
The couple loved the look of concrete, but several estimates left them searching for a less expensive alternative. On one trip to a home-improvement store, they noticed slate tile on sale. They liked the look as well as the price--roughly $80 for all materials. Tinted black grout won't show stains and provides a uniform look with the dark tile.

Stainless Touch
To update the existing oven and dishwasher, Kelly and Alfred bought stainless steel sheets and applied them to the fronts of both appliances. They also incorporated the material as a backsplash behind the stove. The Smiths simply measured the oven and dishwasher doors and the area behind the stove, and then asked a metal shop to cut the sheet metal for them. They covered all three areas for about $100.

Fun, Colorful Details
The couple decided to splurge on the small, red mosaic tile backsplash above the countertops to inject an element of drama. The glass tiles possess an iridescent sheen that changes with the light. The color really stands out against the room's neutral tones.

Kelly had her eye on a pricey, funky track lighting system from a home-improvement store. She knew she could get a better deal than the store was offering, so she searched the Internet and found the same fixtures for $40 instead of $160.

Perfect Timing
Because little changed structurally, the complete makeover took just a little more than a month. The black-and-white tile floors had been installed by the previous owner, freeing up time for other projects. By doing a little research and watching for sales, this couple achieved the kitchen they desired for much less. The do-it-yourselfers weren't afraid to ask for advice, and they even learned a few new tricks in the process.