Before and After: Kitchens

green modern kitchen with soft wood tones
Make cooking, dining, and entertaining easy with a kitchen that is full of style and amenities and fits your family's needs. Get inspired by these amazing kitchen before-and-after makeovers, and start planning a kitchen renovation of your own.

Before: Nothing Special

There's nothing wrong with a good neutral color scheme, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. This suburban kitchen went from bland and boxy to bursting with texture, pattern, and personality—and the kitchen renovation was all accomplished within its existing floor plan.

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: 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.

Not prepared to complete an entire kitchen remodel? Do it in stages, like this kitchen. See how to create a plan and carry it out over time.

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.

Get tips and tricks on how to paint cabinets in your home.

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.

Before: DIY-Ready

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

The kitchen's dated white appliances and orangey oak cabinets stuck out in this well-appointed home. A new cabinet color and surface updates promised to transform the dowdy kitchen. And the best part? The entire kitchen renovation was done on a practical budget.

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.

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.

Budget Before-and-After Kitchen Makeover

See the simple kitchen makeover ideas that took this kitchen from builder-basic to personalized and personality-filled. Painted cabinets, a new backsplash, and a few other smart updates transformed the kitchen almost instantly. Plus, the whole project was done on a modest budget.

Before: Out of Place

This 13x13 kitchen didn’t fit with the rest of the charming Colonial home’s interior. To save money, the homeowners kept the appliances in their original locations. By working within the existing footprint, they could focus on adding loads of charm with kitchen makeover ideas that created a welcoming space for their young family.

After: Perfect Arrangement

Removing the island was the No. 1 priority in this kitchen remodel; a close second was replacing the builder-grade cabinets with semicustom cabinetry. The island was replaced with a peninsula, giving the homeowners better traffic flow and a casual seating area. A colorful yet subtle backsplash adds personality and charm to this kitchen remodel.

 

Before: Cramped Quarters

The galley kitchen in this 1920s home needed to be brought into this century. The homeowners wanted to keep the original step-saving design, but a smarter kitchen remodel idea proved to be make the most of the renovation. Knocking out a wall between the kitchen and the dining room drastically changed how the space is used--in a positive way.

After: Airy Elegance

Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room added 10 valuable inches to the galley. The homeowners also stole a foot of space from the dining room, making it possible to add a peninsula for added storage and a serving buffet. Timeless finishes outfit the vintage-style kitchen, including a subway tile backsplash and crisp white cabinetry.

Before: Standing Room Only

An ideal neighborhood trumped a perfect interior, so these homeowners took to making this house a home, starting with a kitchen renovation. Overall the layout was sound, but the kitchen lacked an island that could accommodate seating for guests and casual dinners. More than that, it lacked personality.

After: Preferred Seating

The existing cherry cabinets didn't fit the homeowners' style, but they didn't want to rip them out, so some of the upper cabinets got a coat of white paint, while the island was brightened with a pale blue hue. Stock cabinets and chunky traditional-style legs found online expand the island and create a much-needed seating area. A larger window and the painted cabinets help this kitchen feel airy and bright.

Before: Too Immature

Though their kitchen looked nice, the homeowners craved a mature look and a more functional space. The shiny white plastic cabinets lacked character and were basically falling apart—the cabinetry's thin veneer finish was bubbling up, and the door hinges were falling off. A pair of stools pulled up to the island offered the only eating spot—not sufficient for a family of four.

After: Gorgeous and Grown Up

The kitchen remodel ideas for this space were rooted in mixing and matching. A balance of wood and white cabinets keep the space bright while creating the illusion that the room was updated over decades instead of a few days. Some of the wall cabinets reach to the ceiling, creating additional storage and display areas. A banquette added next to the kitchen island frees up counter space and provides additional dining space for the family.

Share the gallery


All Topics in Kitchen Makeovers


Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.