Before-and-After Kitchen Makeovers

See how these kitchens transformed from closed-off and barely functional to dreamy, bright spaces, perfect for cooking, gathering, and entertaining.

Open to Change

BEFORE: Dark walls, basic golden oak cabinetry and a fade-to-black backsplash weren't doing this open kitchen any favors.

Lovely and Light

AFTER: Swapping out the old island for a new custom peninsula with a built-in banquette created better cohesion between the eating space and work core of the kitchen. Removing a door between the kitchen and the attached mudroom provided better access to storage. And with all these functional changes, surface updates were a must. White cabinetry and sparkly accent add glamour. A stunning range hood and floor-to-ceiling marble backsplash create an eye-catching focal point along the back wall to anchor the kitchen's airy look.

Pretty Basic

BEFORE: This builder-grade kitchen was sufficient, but it had the potential to be so much more. 

Hello, Color!

AFTER: The existing cabinets received a facelift in the form of paint and new hardware, a money-saving move that made room in the budget for two key items that boosted the functional aspects of the kitchen: a counterdepth refrigerator replaced a large, traffic-blocking model (not pictured) and a new, longer island which now boasts seating and was the perfect place for a pop of bright blue.

Dingy & Dark

BEFORE: Dingy and barely functioning cabinets were a big eyesore in this white-on-white kitchen. Though, none of the whites were actually white anymore, making the kitchen feel dirty.

Cool Plus Color

AFTER: A simple gray and white color palette brightens the room, and a punch of color comes with schoolhouse-red stools. Open shelving against plank walls is the perfect combination of form and function.  

See how a few simple updates transform a bland, builder-grade kitchen into a one-of-a-kind space and how you can implement the same budget-friendly kitchen remodeling and decorating ideas at home.

Makeover on a Budget

See how these homeowners updated their kitchen on a budget.

Skimpy and Inefficient

BEFORE: While this open and airy kitchen had some strong qualities, the skimpy trim and ho-hum oak cabinets were holding it back. Plus, the refrigerator was shoved into an awkward corner (its doors couldn't even open completely!) and the two closets were ill-conceived, but full of potential. 

Efficiency with Style

AFTER: The refrigerator shifted to the place where the once skimpy pantry sat and the inefficient laundry closet (at left) was reworked as a new pantry, complete with a fun sliding message center. New to-the-ceiling cabinets fill the space where the awkward soffit sat. Cosmetic upgrades, such as crown molding and heart-pine floors capture vintage style in the newer home.

Awkward View

BEFORE: The white U-shape kitchen was functional but boring, and upper cabinets cut off the view between the kitchen and the breakfast area, making the kitchen feel small and dark.

Pretty Peninsula

AFTER: Removing the cabinets hanging between the kitchen and breakfast area made the two areas function as one family-friendly space. A large peninsula is perfect for doing homework or serving food buffet-style. Taupe cabinets and cool blue tiles set a soothing mood. 

A Little Too Neighborly

BEFORE: As if a sink window that stared directly into the neighbor's dining room wasn't enough reason for a kitchen remodel, dated finishes and an awkward use of space were also tipping points in this kitchen's path to a remodel.

Cottage Character

AFTER: Moving the sink area to the underutilized bay window (in the background of before photo) opened up better layout possibilities for the kitchen. A traffic-blocking peninsula (not pictured) was replaced by a slim, but sized-right island. Airy, soothing colors and materials that lighten the overall look (white cabinets, Crema Marfil perimeter countertops, maple on the island, white subway tiles, and stainless steel) are classic choices that are durable enough to stand daily use and the test of time.

Cramped Cooking

BEFORE: The strange layout had an inconvenient peninsula jutting into the middle of the work space, which isolated the cook and made navigating the room awkward.

Handsome Design

AFTER: A new layout (the range was moved to the opposite wall) and furniture-style cabinets that match the rest of the home's vintage charm were key to a seamless renovation. A trio of windows let light stream into the sunny space.

Closed-Off Cooking

BEFORE: An angular wall kept the kitchen -- and the cook -- separate from gatherings and conversation. Plus, a lack of light and bland cabinet color made the kitchen seem cave-like and dreary.

Expanded Space

AFTER: The contrast between the dark floors and light cabinets gives the kitchen presence, and losing that wall brings in light, while the large island replaces any lost storage.

The 1990s Called...

BEFORE: ...And they want their teal countertops back. Not only did this home's foyer stare directly into the kitchen, with the teal counters and sink serving as the greeting committee, what was found inside the kitchen was even more disappointing: an awkward layout, dismal storage, and vinyl flooring.

Classically Refreshing

AFTER: A few thrifty decisions and well-calculated splurges, along with smart design sense, revived this kitchen's purpose and look. The angled sink wall was replaced with a perpendicular wall and the sink was moved a few feet over so it wasn't the first thing guests saw. An inviting breakfast bar (one of the splurges) adds a spot for quick meals. Painting the stock cabinets (a save) in two colors (cream on the uppers, taupe on the lowers) offers a custom look for much less. Granite countertops and hardwood floors in Brazilian cherry finish give the kitchen polish.

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