Planning Kitchen Updates

Wood floating shelves kitchen


Okay, I know what you are probably thinking… “Update?! Didn’t she just give her entire kitchen an update?!” Well, yes, yes I did. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have the blogger itch to make changes every couple of years! Nothing big this time, but some superficial changes that will hopefully be an upgrade to my inexpensive choices the first time around, and in turn gelling better with the general style of my home. So, yeah! I’ve got a couple of projects in mind for the month of August! And I wanted to share it with you and get opinions before I throw myself head first into them. (The above image is a rendering of the changes I plan to make.)

First, let’s review. My kitchen has been through quite a transformation already! When we moved in, our kitchen looked like the one below.

kitchen before and after

Now it looks like the image above. Much brighter and more fitting to our style. But some of the finishes and installations I had chosen simply for their budget friendliness, and I’m ready to upgrade them now. Check out the link list below to view my detailed posts about each step of our budget kitchen reno. And read on to hear about the new updates I’ll be working on this August!

kitchen white circle tiles


This one is nonnegotiable. I’ve been wanting to tile my kitchen walls since I first did a facelift to this space two years ago. But instead I chose a shiplap treatment that was incredibly budget friendly, in turn helping my entire ktichen reno log in at under 2K total.(Read about the shiplap process here, with details on the cost of each material used.)


I’m very drawn to the dramatic tile wall trend that’s happening right now, in particular, tiles with a sixties modern boho vibe. Jonathan Adler designed a beautiful circle-textured tile for his home that would be perfect for what I envision for my kitchen, but I couldn’t find anything like it in my price range. Enter: The DIYer’s Solution! You guys, I’m going to use ceramic coasters to tile my kitchen wall. This is a thing that is actually happening. I’ve ordered the coasters in bulk and am currently waiting for them to arrive. Before I get to work, I’m planning on changing up the shelving situation as well. Let’s talk about that next!

floating shelves options


This is actually the first part of the work I will be doing. I decided to instal floating shelves first, then cutting the tiles to instal around the shelves, making the design fully integrated and visually cohesive (no gaps between shelves and the wall). For my first budget kitchen facelift, I had chosen simple Ikea brackets and used 1x10s and 1x8s with a 1×2 front lip that I glued in place to give the shelves a more substantial feel. The end results was a nice, bright open-shelving look, but perhaps a bit more country than I’d like. Not a big deal, but since I’m redoing the wall, I wanted to take this opportunity to change up the shelves as well.

I purchased some 2×6 and 2×4 poplar boards that I’m edge gluing to make them wider and will be installing them as floating shelves, with no visible brackets. I’ll share all about the easy process later this month! But for now I’m stuck on deciding if I want to paint the shelves white, or stain them. I had to do a mock-up to see how both ways would look with the new tile I plan to do, but I still can’t decide! I love the clean, crisp look of the white. But I love the warmth of the wood too.


I’d love to hear your opinions! I’m very excited to do this little addendum to our kitchen facelift, and am so excited to share the results with you guys! Later this week I’ll share peeks at the progress of our little living room facelift as well. So many little changes that are adding up to a big shift in the look and feel of our home. We’re lovin’ it!

20 Responses

  1. Trang says:

    Hi Mandi, I think the update would look good either way. But I prefer the stain option. Since you already have white cabinets along with white tile wall, the stain shelves will break up the whites, add warmth and visual interest to the top section of the kitchen. Also, it will tie into the butcher block counter top. I’m excited to see the progress either way!

  2. Allison says:


  3. kara says:

    I love the look of the stained wood, so much!

  4. Erin Geier says:

    Stained for sure! I say stain them and then if you don’t love them once they are up, much easier to paint them white!

  5. allison says:

    i love the stained shelves! I am dying to update my kitchen and this post just may push me over the edge to get started!

  6. Kari says:

    Go with the stain! The wood brings great horizontal lines to the circular wall. I think it adds a dynamic that’s really balanced.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I love the stained look!

  8. Sarah says:

    I feel your pain, but I’m leaning towards white.

  9. Liz says:


  10. Kieran says:

    Definitely the stained! Also…ceramic coasters?!?! That’s awesome!!

  11. Jasilyn says:

    I like both options, but I kind of like the wood one more. I think it’s a good POP especially against the white pattern.

  12. Rachel says:

    Stained….ties in the counter tops ;) Love the walls!

  13. Lise says:

    Wheeeeeeere are you getting your coasters from to tile your wall? I’ve been looking into this idea for a while but can’t find anywhere that sells plain round white coasters in bulk. (I’m in the UK so won’t be able to buy from the same place as you but it might giver me an idea of where to look).

    • Mandi says:

      I did some Google searching before I found a company called Maryland China which I ordered from. Good luck! I’m a bit nervous about this project. :D

  14. Julia says:

    Mandi, just curious – how did the shiplap hold up? I am debating shiplap vs. tile – budget matters, but so does durability… did you poly the ship lap?

    Anyhow. Just curious. Whatever you do will likely look amazing. I could not decide on the shelves for the life of me. I like the cleanliness of white, but the natural look of wood too.

    • Mandi says:

      It has held up very, very well! It gets splattered on the reg, and it wipes down very easily. (I used semigloss white paint to finish it, no poly.) I like it, but I’m obsessed with the circular tile idea and have the opportunity to try it out. :)

      • Julia says:

        Thanks so much for letting me know! I hope I didn’t insinuate that you shouldn’t use the circular tile. Everything you’re doing in the house is so fitting for its style and history. I know shiplap is all the rage, and I can’t make up my mind. I look forward to seeing the new tile, and am all about trying new ideas. Thank God for bloggers like you who make it possible for me to have new directions to pursue. :)

  15. Lauren Mary says:

    The white is very clean, and I love it in theory. But ooooooh, that stain! ?

  16. Roxie says:

    The stain definitely but the stool caught my eye right away, would love to know where you purchased it.