32 Before-and-After Kitchen Makeovers to Inspire Your Own Renovation

light blue modern kitchen
Photo: Dustin Halleck

Make cooking, dining, and entertaining easy with a kitchen that's filled with style and amenities that fit your family's needs. These amazing kitchen before-and-after makeovers will inspire you to start planning a kitchen renovation of your own. See how these kitchens transformed from closed-off and barely functional to dreamy, bright rooms that easily handle the day's tasks.

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Before: Dated and Disorganized

small kitchen with wood cabinetry
Courtesy of Cristina Garay

A dated design and lack of storage limited this kitchen's potential. The too-small island and basic cabinetry left little room for stylish organization. A kitchen remodel reworked some of the existing features to boost storage without changing the layout.

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After: Customized Kitchen Storage

modern keep sleek organize kitchen
Helen Norman

Removing the doors converted two of the upper cabinets into open shelving, where plate racks organize dishes. The enlarged island now features open shelves on one end that store and display serving pieces. New appliances, a custom-built range hood, and a crisp white and gray color scheme modernize the space.

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Before: Closed-Off Peninsula

DIY kitchen renovation
Alex and Irina Mazhukhin

Tan walls combined with orange-toned wood floors and cabinetry gave the whole kitchen a dated, monochromatic look. A peninsula closed off the kitchen from the dining area, disrupting the traffic flow. The homeowners embarked on a DIY remodel to give the dark, confined kitchen a brighter, more open feel.

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After: Colorful Kitchen Refresh

light blue modern kitchen
Dustin Halleck

Light blue paint now coats the dark wood cabinetry with playful color. Adding open shelves and swapping the island's granite countertop with a white quartz surface further lightened the room's visual weight. Moroccan tiles stretch to the ceiling for a bold dose of pattern.

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Before: Builder-Grade Kitchen

before kitchen dated cabinets
Aniko and Miki's kitchen before renovations. Aniko Levai

This kitchen was outfitted with all the hallmarks of a lackluster builder-grade home. Oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and basic appliances offered function but lacked personality. However, an efficient layout that connected the kitchen to a breakfast area meant the floor plan didn't need changing during the kitchen remodel.

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After: Modern Kitchen Makeover

open kitchen dining area
Lincoln Barbour

A two-tone paint job adds modern contrast to the new wood cabinets, which include white upper units that stretch to the ceiling to visually expand the ceiling height. Open shelves replaced one block of cabinets to reinforce the airy look. Graphic porcelain floor tiles add a bold punch of pattern, while upgraded appliances and butcher-block countertops round out the kitchen makeover.

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Before: Functional But Dated

before shot of Jennifer Smart-Abbey's kitchen
Courtesy of Jennifer Smart-Abbey

The existing floor plan of this 300-square-foot kitchen worked, but the rest of the elements needed an update. Plaid wallpaper and ornate iron hardware added character that was out-of-touch with the homeowner's personal style. Darkly veined countertops and wood cabinets created a heavy, dated look.

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After: High-Style Kitchen

Kitchen with white counter and bar seating
Helen Norman

To brighten the kitchen, the original cabinets were painted crisp white and a light blue-gray. Veined white quartzite replaced the dark granite countertops. New hardware and glass pendants above the island introduce shiny brass accents. Removing the old wallpaper made way for a sleek subway tile backsplash.

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Before: Bland Neutral Kitchen

warm modern style townhouse kitchen

Neutral color schemes typically work well in kitchens, but too much white can leave the space feeling bland and impersonal. This suburban kitchen went from boring to bursting with texture, pattern, and personality. The kitchen renovation was all accomplished within its existing floor plan.

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After: Brassy and Bright

kitchen with beige cabinets
Helen Norman

Moving the sink to the window gave this kitchen a harder-working U-shape layout. Mushroom-color cabinets contrast with white quartz countertops and a 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.

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Before: Narrow Kitchen Layout


This cramped kitchen lacked a logical flow, causing traffic to stop. A poorly placed peninsula blocked the path between the kitchen and dining room. A kitchen remodel gave it an open layout to make the space more functional.

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After: Open and Airy

floor-to-ceiling cabinets and blue kitchen island
Michael Partenio 

To improve the flow of the room, the sink and faucet moved from the peninsula to the exterior wall beneath a new, smaller window. The peninsula was also replaced with an island. The refrigerator is now located near a breakfast station closer to the dining room to simplify morning routines. Covering the full wall, the porcelain tile backsplash mimics the look of Carrara marble to save money without sacrificing style.

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Before: Impractical Kitchen Design

vintage contemporary kitchen before window view

Dated track lighting and lackluster cabinets created a kitchen design that appeared stuck in the past. Plus, the dishwasher was nowhere near the sink, causing dirty dishes to leave a trail of water as they went from sink to dishwasher. This before-and-after kitchen remodel reconfigured the layout and added cottage-style charm.

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After: Efficient Cottage Charm

white vintage contemporary kitchen
Emily Followill

A smart kitchen renovation made better use of the kitchen's footprint. To make the kitchen feel less secluded, the homeowners opened a wall, moved a hallway door two feet towards the windows, and rotated the island 180 degrees, which 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.

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Before: Ready to Remodel

outdated kitchen corner with flower stepstool

This kitchen was cramped and isolated from the rest of the first-floor rooms. Drab finishes imparted no personality, and clunky appliances were eyesores. Thanks to a kitchen renovation that tore down a wall and revived the surfaces, the kitchen is now a sleek spot to cook and gather.

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After: Modern Kitchen Update

green modern kitchen with soft wood tones
Gordon Beall 

After knocking down a wall, this townhome kitchen remodel created an L-shaped layout with a spacious island that offers space to entertain, gather, and cook. To save on remodeling costs, the range, sink, and dishwasher were left in their same spots. 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.

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Before: Room for Improvement

outdated kitchen with yellow oven

This original kitchen was too small and 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. Clever kitchen remodel ideas, including a more functional floor plan and a ceiling lift, helped update the space.

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After: Bold Kitchen Style

black and white kitchen
Kimberly Gavin 

Removing walls helped reconfigure the layout to create a sunny, open space. The 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.

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Before: Boxed-In Kitchen

kitchen with red and white cabinets

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.

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After: Contemporary Kitchen Makeover

red kitchen
John Granen

Revved up with red, this space now lives large with smart kitchen makeover ideas including DIY concrete countertops and an efficient U-shape layout. The concrete counters add a rough, industrial feeling to the contemporary kitchen, which combines a sleek stainless-steel backsplash and laminate cabinetry. The counter-depth refrigerator has the appearance of a built-in model but is more affordable.

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Kitchen Makeover in Stages

Kitchen makeovers don't have to happen all at once. Tackling kitchen remodel ideas in stages can help you fit a large-scale update into your schedule. Check out how you can work on your kitchen just a few steps at a time.

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Before: Green and Narrow

kitchen with green wall

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. A total kitchen makeover revamped the space with a sophisticated, clean-line aesthetic and high-performance features.

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After: Industrial-Style Kitchen Makeover

kitchen with grey island
Michael Partenio

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 impression. The kitchen's large scale allowed the homeowners to reorient the island and forgo hanging cabinets for sleek metal shelves.

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Before: Bland and Awkward

kitchen with wood cabinets and island

The awkward layout of this 1980s kitchen demanded an update. During the kitchen remodel, the homeowners shifted appliances and a doorway to create an efficient work core and improve flow. To allow space for a banquette, they moved a partial wall a few feet into the family room and shortened its length.

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After: Bright, Beachy Kitchen

kitchen with blue stools
Nicole LaMotte

White cabinetry and whitewashed oak flooring give this kitchen a beachy feel. The double-wide island, which is 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 boost of color. The smooth, glossy tiles run to the ceiling, providing 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.

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Before: Too Much Wood

kitchen with green island

To break this dated kitchen out of its style rut, the homeowners needed a brighter, fresher look with added function. Painting the broad expanse of wood kicked off this kitchen remodel. 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.

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After: Bright White Kitchen

kitchen with blue island
Brie Williams

Bright white paint on the cabinets rescued this open kitchen from its sea of same-color wood finishes. A contrasting paint job on the island introduces a favorite color that might be too bold for perimeter cabinets. Outfitted with seating and storage, the new island brings high function to the space. Moving the cooking appliances to the island during the kitchen renovation made room for an over-the-sink cutout facing the sunny dining room, which helps bring in natural light.

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Before: Brick and Stone

outdated kitchen with dog

This kitchen needed some serious polishing but no major structural changes. To update the space, layers of laminate flooring were removed to make way for cork. The brick that encases the lower cabinets was painted satin-finish white to provide a crisp border around the wood doors.

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After: Vintage-Modern Merge

kitchen with modern range hood
John Bessler

Homeowners installed the tile backsplash, while professionals handled the cork flooring and quartz surfacing. The quartz countertops, which are typically 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.

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Before: Untapped Potential

kitchen before makeover

This small kitchen needed a big expansion to fit a family of six. Taking over the space of an unused porch allowed these homeowners to create a kitchen and breakfast nook that can accommodate everyone. After deciding against 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.

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After: Family-Friendly Kitchen

white kitchen
Alise O'Brien

Barely-there gray cabinets create a neutral kitchen with sophisticated style. The granite countertops and gray subway tile backsplash pair perfectly with the color scheme to fashion a soothing and timeless space. 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.

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Before: DIY-Ready

outdated kitchen

The kitchen in this charming Cape Cod home needed a lot of work, but that didn't scare off the DIY-savvy 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.

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After: Modern-Traditional Kitchen

blue kitchen with dog
Erik Johnson

The kitchen now 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. Stainless-steel shelves replace upper cabinets, creating a kitchen that is bright and open.

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Before: '80s Kitchen Remodel

white kitchen island

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. A variety of kitchen makeover ideas helped lighten and brighten the space and create a more sophisticated kitchen.

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After: Bright and Spacious

Traditional style kitchen with white cabinetry
Werner Straube

New 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 the white cabinets, countertop, and backsplash make the narrow room seem bigger. A new island adds prep space and seating to the center of the room.

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Before: Dark Open Kitchen

before kitchen dark walls oak cabinetry
Courtesy of Homeowner

Although it had an open layout, this kitchen felt dark and closed-in. Deep brown walls and a black tile backsplash created a heavy, dated look. Basic golden oak cabinetry added to the list of unattractive features.

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After: Lovely and Light

white after kitchen with island bench
Jeff Herr

The old island was swapped for a new custom peninsula with a built-in banquette to create 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. With all these functional changes, surface updates were a must. White cabinetry and shiny metallic accents 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.

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Before: Basic Builder Kitchen

black and white before kitchen basic
Courtesy of Homeowner

This builder-grade kitchen was sufficient, but it had the potential to be so much more. The broad lengths of cabinetry and efficient layout didn't need major updates. A few cosmetic tweaks and the addition of island seating helped this kitchen look and perform its best.

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After: Brighter Blue Kitchen

after kitchen white upper cabinets gray lower blue island
Laura Moss

The existing cabinets received a facelift in the form of paint and new hardware. This money-saving move made room in the budget for other items that boosted the functional aspects of the kitchen. A counter-depth refrigerator (not pictured) replaced a large, traffic-blocking model, and a new, longer island now boasts seating and a pop of bright blue.

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Before: Inefficient Kitchen

before kitchen oak cabinets small island
Courtesy of Homeowner

While this open kitchen had some strong qualities, the skimpy trim and ho-hum oak cabinets were holding it back. Plus, the refrigerator was shoved awkwardly into a corner, which prevented its doors from opening completely. The two storage closets were ill-conceived but full of potential.

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After: Rustic-Style Kitchen

after kitchen white vintage
Brie Williams

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.

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Before: Tiny and Timeworn

Oak cabinetry in kitchen with diagonal kitchen island. Black and white.

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

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After: Dramatic Kitchen Redo

back kitchen with diagonal island

For less than $9,000, the kitchen now sports dramatic 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.

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Before: Out of Place Elements

Traditional style kitchen with white cabinetry

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.

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After: Improved Kitchen Layout

Traditional style kitchen with white cabinetry and x-back stool
John Bessler 

Removing the island was the main priority in this kitchen remodel; a close second was replacing the builder-grade cabinets with semi-custom 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.

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Before: Cramped Quarters

Dated galley kitchen and white appliances.

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 few kitchen remodel ideas made the layout more practical. Knocking out a wall between the kitchen and the dining room drastically improved how the space is used.

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After: Airy Galley Kitchen

white kitchen with beige countertops
Gordon Beall

Removing one wall added 10 valuable inches to the galley kitchen. 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.

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Before: Standing-Room Only

Oak cabinetry with black appliance.

An ideal neighborhood trumped a perfect interior, so these homeowners embarked on 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. The builder-basic space also lacked personality.

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After: Inviting Island Seating

Traditional style kitchen with blue island
James R. Salomon 

The existing cherry cabinets didn't fit the homeowners' style, but they didn't want to rip them out. 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.

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Before: Dingy, Dark Kitchen

before kitchen white on white
Courtesy of Homeowner

Dated and barely functioning cabinets were a big eyesore in this white-on-white kitchen. However, the fading finishes weren't actually white anymore, making the kitchen feel dirty. A kitchen renovation resulted in a brighter, more functional space.

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After: Bright and Functional

after white kitchen open shelving red bar stools
Richard Leo Johnson

New cabinetry and appliances give this kitchen makeover a clean, updated look. A simple gray and white color palette brightens the room, while schoolhouse-red stools and multi-colored dishware deliver pops of color. Open shelving against plank walls offers an attractive combination of form and function.

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Before: Too Neighborly

black and white before kitchen awkward space
Courtesy of Homeowner

This kitchen needed a whole new layout to function at its best. The sink window previously stared directly into the neighbor's dining room. Dated finishes and an awkward use of square footage were also tipping points in this kitchen's path to a remodel.

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After: Reworked Cottage Kitchen

after kitchen moved sink area under bay window
Anthony Masterson

Moving the sink area to the underutilized bay window (in the background of the before photo) opened up better layout possibilities for the kitchen. A traffic-blocking peninsula was replaced by a slim but sized-right island. Airy, soothing colors and materials 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.

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Before: Lacking Character

Interior of white kitchen at home

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, which wasn't sufficient for a family of four.

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After: Cozy Farmhouse Kitchen

vertical of kitchen; Interior of kitchen at home
Lori Black

The kitchen remodel ideas for this farmhouse space are 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.

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Before: Awkward Kitchen Layout

before kitchen u-shaped
Courtesy of Homeowner

The white U-shape kitchen was functional but boring. Upper cabinets cut off the view between the kitchen and the breakfast area, making the kitchen feel small and dark. A renovation opened up the space and introduced new personality.

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After: Pretty Kitchen Peninsula

after kitchen taupe cabinets blue tiles
Edmund Barr

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.

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Before: Cramped Cooking Space

before kitchen strange layout with peninsula
Courtesy of Homeowner

This strange kitchen layout had an inconvenient peninsula jutting into the middle of the workspace. This effectively isolated the cook and made navigating the room difficult. Switching around the floor plan improved traffic flow to make the kitchen more efficient.

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After: Handsome Kitchen Makeover

after kitchen vintage orange cabinets
Laurie Black

A new layout and furniture-style cabinets that match the rest of the home's vintage charm were key to this kitchen renovation. The range was moved to the opposite wall to achieve a more practical layout. A trio of windows let light stream into the sunny space.

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Before: Closed-Off Kitchen

dark before kitchen angular wall
Courtesy of Homeowner

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. A kitchen remodel opened up the space for a brighter, more inviting feeling.

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After: Expanded Kitchen Space

after kitchen white with large island
Paul Dyer

Knocking down the wall of cabinets, along with the addition of two skylights, brings in tons of light to the remodeled kitchen. A large island replaces any lost storage while adding seating and prep space. The dark wood floors contrast with bright white cabinets to give the kitchen presence.

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Before: '90s Kitchen

small dark before kitchen teal counter
Courtesy of Homeowner

Teal countertops made this kitchen look straight out of the 1990s. Since this home's foyer opened directly into the cooking space, the dated kitchen was the first thing to greet guests. An awkward layout, dismal storage, and vinyl flooring meant a kitchen remodel was badly needed.

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After: Classic Kitchen Remodel

after kitchen transitional white and gray
John Bessler

A few thrifty decisions and well-calculated splurges 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 in two neutral colors offers a custom look for much less. Granite countertops and hardwood floors in Brazilian cherry finish give the kitchen polish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the cheapest kitchen makeover projects?

    If you don't want to spend any money, style your countertops and any open shelving or glass-front cabinets. Put your prettiest dishes and serveware on display. For a low-cost DIY update, paint cabinets or walls (or both). Use different colors on uppers and lowers to add contrast and interest.

  • What are remodeling ideas to make my kitchen look more expensive?

    Built-in appliances look more upscale than free-standing. Solid-surface natural countertops in simple patterns look more expensive than busy ones. Replace old or dated hardware with natural brass, black, or nickel options. Switch out tile floors for durable luxury plank vinyl in a wood look. Add overhead LED lighting and task lighting above the sink or stove.

  • In what order should I remodel my kitchen?

    After demolition, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing are next. Drywall, painting, and floors follow, then cabinets, countertops, and backsplash. Appliances are installed. Finally, light fixtures, switches, hardware, and handles are installed.

  • How can I make my kitchen feel bigger?

    Light is a big help, so leave windows uncovered if possible and use glass-front cabinets. Open shelving can add to a feeling of airiness. Choose light-colored cabinets or countertops and reflective surfaces like stainless steel to bounce light around the room. Minimize clutter on countertops, and don't overdo wall hangings or artwork.

  • How long does it take to remodel a kitchen?

    A kitchen remodel can take from three weeks to six months, depending on the size of the kitchen and the amount of work that needs to be done.

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