Finishing Touches for the Kitchen

potholder hanging rail

Hi all! Sorry for being MIA this week–I’ve been having a lot of fun with my mother-in-law’s power washer since the weather is so nice. I’m going to be posting about how amazing (and easy) power washing is soon, but today I’m going to revisit the kitchen. I was so excited to show off the new kitchen renovation that I showed it off before some of the little things were completed. I’ve been putting off these few small finishing touches, so I decided to write this post to motivate me to finish them as I go 🙂

The things I have left are a mix of fun and not so fun but necessary things to finish off the kitchen:

  • Replacing the switch plates that are too small with the new backsplash
  • Caulking around the upper kitchen cabinets
  • Recaulking the edge of the backsplash (that’s now exposed after our new microwave was installed)
  • Hanging a rail for our potholders

While these seem like things no one would notice (my husband certainly doesn’t), they’re all things I stare at and obsess over every time I walk in the kitchen. And, these are things that I know if I don’t finish now, I’ll be staring at the same gap between the cabinet and the ceiling 3 years from now, just as annoyed with it then as I am today.

So, let’s dive in and knock these out!

Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click the link and purchase the item. I’ve only linked items I’ve used in the past and would use again (unless otherwise noted). 

Replacing the Switch Plates

When you install a new backsplash, you may run into one of two problems (or both) with your existing switches and outlets. I ran into both, so here’s how to address them (cheaply and easily, I might add!)

Bigger Outlet Covers

That’s not colored grout–that’s empty space between the outlet cover and the tile

I found that after installing the backsplash, one of the outlet covers no longer covered the hole for the outlet. I had cut tile around the outlet box (and thought I did a really good job about it). But, when I went to put the outlet cover back up, there were a few millimeters of outlet box now exposed.

bigger outlet cover

Easy fix–you just need to replace your standard switch plates and outlet covers with bigger ones! They’re sometimes labeled as XL, jumbo, or giant covers, and the standard single switch and single outlet ones can be found at most hardware stores.

larger outlet cover installed
All fixed!

Longer Screws

You may find that your switch plate or outlet cover still covers the hole, but the standard screws are now too short to reach the outlet box. That makes sense, right? You just added a half inch of tile to the wall so the screw probably doesn’t reach anymore.

There’s an easy fix to this! In the outlet aisle at your hardware store, they sell screws just for this purpose! These are the ones I found at Home Depot. They come in a few lengths and a few colors to blend with your switch plates and outlet covers. And, for $3 they did the trick!

Caulking the Edge of the Kitchen Cabinets

gap between the cabinets and the ceiling

Since we moved in to our home, there was this tiny gap between the top of some of our cabinets and ceiling. Instead of installing the molding to the ceiling, it seems the previous owner installed them to the cabinets, so they don’t always line up to the ceiling.

gap between cabinets and ceiling

Even though I’ve put it off for 2 years, there’s an easy fix for this–a little caulk! And thanks to you all reading my blog (and me needing to finish this post), I got this done in 10 minutes.

Tip: Make sure you use caulk made for wood, like this Dap Alex Fast Dry Caulk, for this project, and not the same tile caulk you use. It’s made to be painted and stretch with the wood.

dap caulk
I love Dap caulk–here’s the wood/molding one I used for this project.

The cleanest way to do this is to use some painter’s tape, as I did with the backsplash project. Here’s a quick recap of how to apply caulk:

  • Cut the tip of the caulk container off in a 45 degree angle (this makes it easier to apply).
  • Have a lot of paper towels on hand, and if you don’t like getting your hands messy, have a pair of skin tight gloves to wear.
  • Line the area with painter’s tape, which will help you make nice, clean caulk lines
  • Then, gently squeezing the caulk tube, squeeze a medium sized bead of caulk out along the seam you want to caulk.
  • Next, using your finger, smooth the bead of caulk so it forms a nice even line connecting the tile and the other surface.
  • If you applied too much and it’s gloopy, wipe it off with your finger and onto a paper towel.
  • If you applied too little, just add a little more!
  • When you’re done, pull off the painter’s tape to reveal your nice, pretty lines.

After doing this, you’re laughing at me for how quick this was and how much I procrastinated doing it. That’s ok. I deserve it. I admit, it was super quick and I wasted a lot of time staring at the gap instead of spending 10 minutes to fix it. And, it looks so much better now that it’s completed!

Recaulking the Backsplash

caulk above stove

After we installed our beautiful backsplash and then got our nice new microwave, I had a mini meltdown when we realized our new microwave was shorter than our old one. Of course, Steve is tall enough that he doesn’t notice it unless he bends over, and I’m average-height enough that it stares me right in the eye every time I’m in the kitchen.

All the hard work in cutting the tile to fit under the microwave and caulking the edge two weeks ago was for naught. (In hindsight, we should have waited to do the backsplash until we got our new appliances, but oh well).

As much as I’m whining, it really is a 5 minute task. First, scrape the old caulk off the tile with a utility knife. Once that’s done, follow the same steps of caulking as are listed above. The only difference is I used kitchen/bath caulk for this, instead of the wood caulk I used for the cabinets, so that it could handle the grease and steam directly from the stove a little better than the wood caulk could.

recaulked backsplash
It’s not perfect but it’s better than it was so I’ll take it!

Hanging a Rail for our Pot Holders

pot holder hanger

And, the last project I tackled was hanging a rail for our pot holders. Since we’ve moved into our house, our potholders have either lived on the countertop or on 3M hooks above the stove (before we had a backsplash). The one drawer we have next to the stove is too narrow to hold them.

After finishing all the other kitchen projects, I had one more rail left from our pot rack project (and after using 1 extra on the family command center), so I thought I’d jump on the train of using it as storage for our pot holders.

You follow the same steps to install these as you do the pot racks, except you can screw these directly into the cabinets and do not need drywall anchors. To get the step by step instructions, check out my pot rack post.

And, the Kitchen is ACTUALLY Done this Time!

That’s it–the kitchen is 100% COMPLETE! I’ve gotten so used to how good it looks, I’ve almost forgotten what the kitchen looked like when I started. Ten weeks ago I started on this journey, and a few hours after work here and there and a few weekend projects and I now have a completely new kitchen!

If you’re new to A Girl’s Guide and want to start from the beginning of the kitchen reno, jump to my first kitchen reno post. Inside this post are links to each kitchen project I completed.

~Lauren

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