Weekend Kitchen Makeover

Elevate a builder-basic kitchen with these easy customization projects.

Transform your kitchen in just two days with these simple kitchen design ideas. Yep, you heard us right! All you need is two days, some supplies from the hardware store, and a few helping hands to completely elevate your kitchen. These basic projects will make your weekend a success.

While this kitchen was up-to-date and functional when we started, there were a few areas where small improvements would make a big impact. For instance, the builder-basic, over-the-range microwave was functional but it crowded the range area. By simply removing the microwave from the wall (and replacing it with a practical vent hood), the kitchen feels more open and the vent hood looks like a high-end custom cabinetry piece. The classic subway tile backsplash gives a subtle contrast to the pure white cabinets. And the walk-in pantry got a fresh new look with more functional custom shelves. Follow along to see what a difference two days can make for this kitchen.

Build a Custom Vent Hood

kitchen white tile backsplash

While an over-the-range microwave is handy, we knew a built-in vent hood would make the kitchen feel custom and high-end. To elevate the look of the space, we removed the microwave from above the cooktop and installed a vent hood in its place. A simple vent hood—which can be found at your local hardware store—circulates the air while cooking, reducing food odors and minimizing airborne grease and moisture from spreading. The functionality of a vent hood was a top priority, but so was aesthetics. To marry the two, we built a custom wood box around a vent hood and painted the box to match the cabinetry. This clever solution hides the vent hood while blending seamlessly into the existing cabinetry. Keep in mind that when a wall-unit microwave is removed, there will be holes in the wall where the back bracket was attached—which brings us to our next project.

Add Backsplash Tile

kitchen close-up white backsplash

To cover up the holes on the wall from where the microwave used to be, we installed a classic white backsplash tile. An entry-level DIY project, installing backsplash tile is a relatively quick project that can be done in as little as a few hours. We opted for a super-classic white subway tile backsplash that does more than look good. Tile backsplashes serve a functional role, protecting the wall between the countertop and upper cabinets. This is especially important around the sink where lots of splashes happen, as well as behind the cooktop where there are food and grease splatters. In a couple of hours, you can install the tiles, then wait overnight and grout the second day. It's so easy, you may find yourself looking for excuses to start up another tile project.

Store More with Functional Pantry Shelving

organized shelves in kitchen pantry

Before, this pantry was cramped—there wasn't a whole lot of wiggle room between shelves, and the four shelves weren't making the most of the walk-in pantry's vertical storage potential. We designed the new pantry to better accommodate the items stored in the space and installed sturdy and stylish laminated wood shelves we found at the local hardware store. To make it easier to grab items up high, we designed the top four shelves to be shallower (11 inches deep) and tighter together (between 10 and 12 inches apart) than the lower shelves. Kitchen storage shouldn't be an issue thanks to this DIY pantry update.

We partnered with Chris and Julia Marcum from the popular DIY-friendly blog Chris Loves Julia to make these stunning kitchen design ideas come to life. Based on projects they've tackled in their own home, Chris and Julia show you how easy it is to make your home a place you love.

julia and chris in modern neutral living room

To hear more from Julia, check out our new podcast, The Better Buy, where she shares more information about creating your dream home.

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