Mobile Home Kitchen Update

The kitchen is often called the heart of a home. With as much time as we spend in the rooms, we should have the space looking exactly how we want it. I wanted mine to have a more modern feel. How hard is it, though, to turn a 1978 mobile home kitchen into a stylish, more modern room? Not that hard at all! A little paint and a few things from the home improvement store is all you need. As you might know, we live in a 1978 Homette single wide mobile home. This is what it looked like the day we bought it:

This is what I had to work with! I saw the potential – I just didn’t have the money needed to reach its full potential, so I did the next best thing – an affordable mobile home kitchen makeover!

We were still saving up for the new flooring, ceilings, and windows but I did have enough for some paint and brushes and even a couple of low-cost extra’s that would update the space.

This single wide itself is only about 12 feet wide, the kitchen and dining area is about 14 and a half feet long. The pantry/closet combo on the right side takes up approximately 16 sq. Ft. and the counters are very wide at around 2 ft, so it’s a roomy space to be in a 696 square foot home. 

What to Buy

The cabinets are, of course, the cheap particleboard with a very thin paper veneer printed with an image of real wood. I bought Kilz Primer and the premium Valspar paint at Lowe’s, along with premium brushes and rollers. Painting kitchens and bathrooms are not the time to go cheap! Good brushes reduce the lines and help give a smoother and more even coverage. 

What to Do


The project began by sanding the loose and damaged paper off the corners and edges. This was a little tricky because if I completely removed the paper, I would be left with a very rough surface that would soak up the paint and I would need to spend more money to cover the cabinets with osb or something similar. I needed as much paper as possible left on the face of the cabinets to act as a shield for the paint against the dry, brittle, and very thirsty particle board. Fine grade sandpaper worked great to even out and clean up everything, and still keep the veneer.


Once I sanded everything down to get the loose paper off and smooth the particle board edges, I cleaned it all using warm water and industrial cleaner that we had found at Big Lots. I wiped everything down two times and let it dry overnight.  

Sand again!

Once the cabinets and frame dried overnight, they were ready to be sanded again! Nothing much, just some touch-ups. I found a little courage and figured out that the grittier sandpaper worked fine on the edges of the doors, where the particleboard looked like the Appalachian Mountains, instead of a smooth table top.

Clean it, again! 

Once the sanding was finished and I was happy with the edges – I cleaned it all again. Uck! I let it dry overnight again, too.  

Clean it, again! 

Using Kilz, I laid down the first coat of primer. It was a very thin, very light coat. 

I sanded again and painted again.The cabinets look great with my appliances, as the white gives a very clean look all around. Appliance repair parts will be really easy to find, without mismatching from the cabinets. I also painted the pantry door and the little wall that stands where the cabinets end with blackboard paint. The area of the wall around the windows were painted with green apple. I think thinner coats and more of them is the way to go when painting. (I am not a professional, I’ve just painted several times in my life.)

The next step in the update was adding some shelving. I bought pre-made shelves that were very long to span the two windows over the sink. Then I added paper shades and then added all my pretties.

I like it, and I have less than $125.00 in it. It’s not meant to be permanent. It just needs to do till it gets gutted completely. Thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!

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  1. Jennifer Page says

    You did a beautiful job. I love the shelf above the window.

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Thank you! I’m still dreaming of new cabinets!

  2. Justy Sim says

    Well I realize it’s 5 years later (lol) but I’m just now looking to do the same thing and wonder how your cabinets and paint job held up? It looks gorgeous!

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      The paint held up wonderfully but I don’t recommend white cabinets if you have a messy family. The cabinets and counters still need replaced.

      1. Justy Sim says

        Oh good, I’m glad the paint has held up! I’m going to do the same then, except with grey not white 🙂 Thanks so much for getting back to me!

      2. Crystal Adkins says

        No problem! The secret to the best results is to clean the surface best you can. Use the good name brand primer and paint. If you can, take some pictures – I would love to add it to the article I’m working on. Thank you!

  3. Trinity says

    I love your kitchen makeover! I recently found your blog when googling mobile homes. We are thinking of buying a manufactured home with some property to be closer to my family and get out of town. I live in WV too- in St. Albans currently. Thanks for the great blog. I used to have one and I know it’s a lot of work!

    1. Crystal Adkins says

      Hi Trinity!

      It’s great to have a fellow WV reading MHL! Thank you so much! If you’re ever in Oak Hill let me know – we can have lunch. My email is

      Thanks so much!

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