Easy Kitchen Updates

The kitchen may be the hardest-working room in the house, so it runs the risk of looking overworked. Give your kitchen fresh appeal with these quick and easy updates, including solutions for your windows, floor, pantry, and more!

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Freestanding Pantry Ideas

Short on storage and space? No worries. These stylish go-anywhere pantry designs house everything from baking pans and cooking staples to party supplies -- exactly where you need them most. As a bonus, many of these units are transportable so they can travel with you when you move.

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One-of-a-Kind Backsplashes

In a hardworking kitchen, a backsplash is an ideal opportunity to add a little personality. See how pretty materials and unique installations can bring a fresh face to your kitchen.

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Drab to Fab Makeover

See how a basic kitchen received a fresh face on an affordable remodeling budget.

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Guide to Cabinetry

From Better Homes and Gardens, ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden plus recipes and entertaining ideas.

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Countertop Ideas

Countertops are big part of your kitchen. Consider these up-and-coming materials to make a statement in your space.

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Subway Tile Backsplashes

When it comes to a classic backsplash, nothing beats the traditional subway tile. Subway tiles make cleaning up kitchen messes a quick and easy task, plus the variety to choose from seems almost infinite. One thing is for sure, subway tile will never go out of style.

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Popular in Kitchens

Make a Small Kitchen Look Larger

Stretch kitchen space without a major remodel. Check out these tricks for making a small kitchen look and feel spacious.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Paint It White

      White is your best friend in a small kitchen. It reflects light, which enhances the sense of space and makes the walls seem to recede. When you carry the white from the cabinetry to the countertops, walls, and ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries to stop the eye. Use several shades of white and combine contrasting textures to keep an all-white room from feeling sterile. Recessed-panel cabinets and crown molding create subtle shadows that add interest, too.

    • Use a Low-Contrast Color Scheme

      When there's little difference between the colors of the walls, the countertops, the cabinetry, and the woodwork, your eye glides over the surfaces looking for a place to rest, and that movement tricks you into thinking the space is larger than it really is. Here, the cabinets, backsplash, and flooring are close in color value -- a soft gray-green -- so the eye doesn't trip over sudden shifts from dark to light. The effect is serene and expansive.

    • Replace Cabinet Doors with Glass

      Making a small kitchen feel larger is a matter of fooling the eye and tricking the brain into thinking the space is bigger. One way to do that is to remove some cabinet doors or replace the solid fronts with glass. This pulls the eye past the cabinet frames into the depths of the cabinets, so the walls feel farther away. This trick is most effective if you can keep what's in the cabinets orderly and color-coordinated. Clutter tends to make a room feel crowded.

    • Welcome the Light

      Lots of natural light enlarges any space. You may have no choice about the number and placement of windows in your kitchen, but maximize the light you do have by keeping window treatments minimal. Here, a valance softens the architecture and adds a dressy note to the kitchen, but it doesn't block the light. If you want privacy, an opaque shade like this does the trick while still letting in light.

    • Video: Small Kitchen on a Budget

      Not only is this kitchen small, it was redone for only $500. Watch this video to see how it was done and get ideas for maximizing a petite kitchen space for less.

    • Slenderize the Furnishings

      A small kitchen dictates small-scale furnishings, but take it a step further by choosing a work island, bar chairs, or stools that are visually lightweight, such as these metal ones. Clean lines don't distract the eye, and the open table and chair legs let you see the floor and walls beyond, making the room feel bigger.

    • Borrow Space

      Depending on your home's layout, you may be able to remove part of a wall separating the kitchen from an adjoining room. It won't increase the square footage of the kitchen, but it can vastly enlarge the sense of space, bringing in more light and a feeling of openness.

    • Streamline Storage

      Small kitchens can have storage challenges. Countertops often become storage areas, but eliminating clutter can help any space feel larger. Use this trick in your kitchen and reclaim lost storage space with a corner appliance garage. The cabinet conceals coffeemakers, toasters, and more but keeps them easy to access for food prep.

    • Stretch the Floor Space

      Some patterned wallcoverings or floor coverings add visual clutter that makes a space feel smaller, but certain types of patterns have the opposite effect. Oversize diamonds painted on this floor create diagonal lines that give the eye a longer path to follow from one side of the room to the other, so the room feels wider than it really is. Combine this technique with low-contrast colors for big results in a small kitchen.

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      Widen with Stripes

      Just as clothing with horizontal stripes can make a person look wider, striped flooring that runs from side to side instead of following the length of a room will stretch the apparent floor space. These broad stripes were created by alternating light- and medium-tone boards of laminate flooring. Achieve a similar effect by painting existing wooden or vinyl flooring or by covering the floor with a large striped rug.

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      Take the Eye High

      Giving the eye an up-and-down path to follow on the walls increases the apparent height of the ceiling, thus lifting the lid off a boxy room. Here, molding atop the sleek wood cabinets draws the eye upward. If there is a soffit above your cabinets, framed prints, decorative plates, or large ceramic tiles would achieve a similar effect. For the greatest sense of expansiveness, choose objects that harmonize with the background rather than stand out against it.

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      Mind the Hood

      A sleek, wall-mount vent hood over the cooktop trims the visual fat from a wall of cabinets, giving the room a greater feeling of openness. Minimalist vent hoods like this one require 30 inches between cabinets, about the same as an undercabinet hood, but give a cleaner, lighter look -- a plus in a small kitchen.

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      Carve Out Storage Space

      Shelves flush with the walls and recessed into space between the studs add storage without consuming valuable floor or air space in a small kitchen. These recessed shelves -- trimmed and finished to match the woodwork -- blend with the architecture. If you don¿t have space within your kitchen, instead look for a spot near your kitchen, such as a breakfast nook or passageway, to implement recessed shelves.

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      Eliminate Clutter

      Countertops crowded with cookware and cabinets crowned by collectibles swamp a small kitchen and cramp your work space. To enlarge the room visually, clear off the counters, the windowsill, and the cabinet tops, and stash as much as you can behind closed doors. To take decluttering farther, opt for minimalist European-style cabinetry with sleek flat-panel doors and drawers that shave inches off the space consumed by traditional cabinetry.

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      Stay Light and Bright

      Reflective surfaces, such as ceramic tile and stainless steel, subtly amplify the effects of natural and artificial light, thereby making the kitchen seem larger. Plus, adequate lighting improves functionality. Undercabinet lights come in handy while cooking, and pendant lights add ambiance to meals served at an island or peninsula.

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      Choose Sleek Surfaces

      Clean lines and geometric angles eliminate visual clutter and expand the space, even if square footage is minimal. This narrow kitchen has a crisp look, thanks to clean-font cabinets. An expanse of tile also helps draw the eye across the space.

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      Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Kitchens that Live Large

      Our Favorite Small Kitchens that Live Large

      A successful small kitchen needs an efficient layout, smart cabinetry, and plentiful storage. See how it's done by touring these savvy compact kitchens packed with impressive features.
      Begin Slideshow »



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