Before and After: Kitchens
Before: Nothing Special
After: Brassy and Bright
Moving the sink to the window gave this kitchen a harder-working U-shape layout. Mushroom-color cabinets contrast with white quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash. The reasonably priced backsplash tile was taken up to the ceiling for an added sense of height. Brass cabinet hardware and vintage columns on the breakfast bar add history without dating the look.
Before: Narrow Layout
After: Open and Airy
Moving the sink and faucet from the peninsula to the exterior wall beneath a new, smaller window and replacing the peninsula with an island improved the flow of the room. Placing the refrigerator near a breakfast station closer to the dining room simplifies morning routines. Porcelain tiles that look like Carrara marble cover the wall to save money without sacrificing style.
Before: On the Wrong Track
Dated track lighting and lackluster cabinets weren’t the most disappointing features in this kitchen. The dishwasher was nowhere near the sink and dirty dishes left a trail of water as they went from sink to dishwasher. By rethinking the room’s configuration and putting together a cottage design, this kitchen before-and-after is as smart as it is stylish.
After: Efficient Cottage Charm
Smart kitchen renovation moves made better use of the kitchen’s footprint. Opening a wall left the kitchen feeling less secluded. Moving a hallway door two feet towards the windows and rotating the island 180 degrees helped expand the kitchen throughout the entire space. White shiplap, painted cabinets, and open shelves infuse the kitchen with farmhouse flair. With the dishwasher now tucked into the island, dirty dish drips are a thing of the past.
Before: Prime to Revive
Cramped and isolated from the rest of the first-floor rooms, this kitchen was not a pleasant place to be. Drab finishes imparted no personality and clunky appliances were eyesores. Thanks to a kitchen renovation plan to tear down a wall and revive every surface, the kitchen is now a sleek spot to cook and gather.
After: Modern Muse
Knocking down a wall and shifting the layout to an L-shape design changed the game in this townhome kitchen. Leaving the range, sink, and dishwasher in their same spots helped save on remodeling costs. Now with space to entertain, gather, and cook (hello, spacious island!), fresh style was imperative. Gray wood base cabinets, glossy white upper cabinets, and wood-look tile floors set a warm, modern style, which is continued with the soft sage tile backsplash.
Before: Room for Improvement
This original kitchen was too small, and it was separated from the living room by a tiny dining area. Dated yellow appliances and a matching sink aged the room, as did fading dark cabinetry and beige floor tiles. The space was in need of major updates and smart kitchen remodel ideas, including a more functional floor plan and a ceiling lift.
After: Black and Gold
After removing walls and reconfiguring the layout to create a sunny, open space, homeowners used drywall, lattice strips, and metallic paint to make a focal-point range hood. The home's black-and-white palette continues in the kitchen, along with bold accent fabrics to tie it to the rest of the living areas.
Before: Boxed In
The boxy design of this 1943 home needed a new plan that would remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room. During construction, the original 12×10-foot kitchen -- which housed only one small window -- was opened to an adjacent room, creating a 26×12-foot space. While updating the paint, hardware, cabinetry, and appliances, the homeowners also added three large windows, further expanding the visual appeal.
After: Shiny and New
Revved up with red, this space lives large, thanks to smart kitchen makeover ideas, including DIY concrete countertops and an efficient U-shape layout. The concrete counters add a rough, handmade feeling to the kitchen that complements a sleek stainless-steel backsplash and laminate cabinetry. The counter-depth refrigerator has the appearance of a built-in model but is more affordable.
Kitchen Makeover in Stages
When time isn't on your side but motivation is high, undertake kitchen remodel ideas you can do in stages. Check out how you can work on just a few steps at a time.
Before: Green and Narrow
Five years in a too-small space left these homeowners with a clear vision of what they wanted for their kitchen renovation. An addition at the back of the circa-1920s house gave them the area they needed to bring their vision to life. With a tiny island but no room for a table, a true eat-in kitchen wasn't an option. For a sophisticated clean-line aesthetic with high-performance features, a total makeover was in the cards.
After: Sizeable in Slate
Inspired by a favorite restaurant, this family kitchen stretches out to become a sophisticated, industrial-style hangout. Pale gray perimeter cabinets, a deeper blue-gray island, and steel shelves flank the range while delivering a bistro-like vibe. The kitchen’s large scale allowed the homeowners to forgo hanging cabinets for sleek metal shelves while also reorienting the island.
Before: Bland and Awkward
The homeowners had originally planned to live with this 1980s kitchen, but that changed when they realized its awkward layout. The couple shifted appliances and a doorway to create an efficient work core and improve flow. Moving a partial wall a few feet into the family room and shortening its length allowed space for a banquette.
After: Seeing the Light
White cabinetry and whitewashed oak flooring give this kitchen a beachy vibe. The double-wide island--more than a foot wider than the original--provides a focal point as well as a storage boost. Subway tiles in seafoam green (instead of the usual white) give the kitchen a color kick. The smooth, glossy tiles, which run to the ceiling, also provide a textural changeup from all the wood. A built-in fridge lines up with the island, allowing a straight path from the mudroom to the breakfast area.
Before: Falling Flat
To break this dated kitchen out of its style rut, the homeowners needed a game plan. Their goal: to create a space that was not only bright and fresh but also functional. Painting the sea of wood was a must, starting with the cabinets. Other much-needed updates included opening up the kitchen's layout to capitalize on natural light, shifting appliance placement for better efficiency, redesigning the island, and installing a banquette breakfast area.
After: Painted Perfection
A perky paint job rescued this open kitchen from its sea of same-color wood finishes. With seating and storage, the new island brings distinct color and high function to a bright white kitchen. A notice-me island introduces a favorite color that might be too bold for perimeter cabinets. Moving the cooking appliances to the island during the kitchen renovation made room for an over-the-sink cutout facing the sunny dining room that brings in natural light.
How to Paint Cabinets
Don't empty your wallet for a kitchen update. Paint your kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. You'll save big bucks and get a whole new look!
Before: Brick and Stone
This kitchen, a true diamond in the rough, just needed a little polishing. Layers of laminate flooring were removed to make way for cork. Brick that encases the lower cabinets was painted satin-finish white.
After: Vintage Vibe
Homeowners installed the tile backsplash, while professionals handled the cork flooring and quartz surfacing. The quartz countertops—less expensive than granite or marble—were picked for practicality (it's essentially stainproof) and because of their modern feel. The new open layout was fully painted and updated except for the custom hood, which was original to the midcentury modern house.
Before: Untapped Potential
Taking over the space of an unused porch allowed these homeowners to create a kitchen and breakfast nook that worked for their family of six. After their kitchen designer talked them out of pricey custom cabinets, the homeowners were able to save thousands of dollars by adding custom touches to stock cabinets to achieve the look they wanted.
After: Full of Family and Function
Barely-gray cabinets create a neutral kitchen with style. The granite countertops and gray subway tile backsplash pair perfectly with the color scheme, creating a soothing and timeless space. Refined kitchen makeover ideas such as turned legs on the island and a custom vent hood create a kitchen that feels high-end and custom, but the durable granite counters and hardwood floors are perfect for this busy family's daily use.
The kitchen in this charming Cape Cod home needed a lot of work, but that didn’t scare off these DIY-ready homeowners. To create a space large enough for their family, they knocked down the wall between the dining room and kitchen. They then installed recycled wood floors, and assembled and finished the stock base cabinetry themselves.
After: Fantastic Finish
Now the kitchen showcases the mix of modern and traditional elements that flows throughout the rest of the home. The island was built from stock cabinetry and topped with a combination of concrete and butcher-block countertops, while stainless-steel shelves replace upper cabinets, creating a kitchen that is bright and open.
Before: Tried and Tired
This space was remodeled in 1980 but the original kitchen renovation didn't make good use of the room's size and shape. A dated color scheme and checkerboard wood floor left the kitchen looking tired. With a game plan of kitchen makeover ideas destined to lighten and brighten the space, a sophisticated kitchen was within sight.
After: Second-Chance Style
Now, floor-to-ceiling cabinets take advantage of the room's high ceilings. One window was replaced by two to bring more light into the room, while white cabinets, countertop, and backsplash make the narrow room seem bigger.
Before: Tiny and Timeworn
After: Dramatic Redo
For less than $9,000, the kitchen now sports dramatic painted-black cabinets and granite veneer countertops. The soffit above the cabinets and newly installed molding were painted the same color as the cabinets, offering the look of custom cabinets. Creamy white walls, brushed-nickel cabinet hardware, and glossy new appliances add to the kitchen's elegant facelift.