How a Fresh Blue Palette Modernized an Outdated Maroon Kitchen

Pet storage window seat

A homeowner makes big changes to a tiny space to get a modern kitchen perfect for hosting guests or just enjoying a morning coffee.

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Before: Maroon Time Warp

Maroon kitchen

When the homeowner first laid eyes on her home, she fell in love with every room—except the small kitchen. The cramped space looked stuck in the '80s and desperately needed a facelift.

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After: Bright Blue Kitchen

Blue kitchen

The solution: a fresh palette, a pretty window seat, and better lighting to create a beautiful blue escape. When she was in the planning process, the homeowner kept a file of inspirational photos, paint chips, and fabric examples. When she realized all the photos were of blue kitchens with black-and-white fabric accents, she got to work designing her dream kitchen.

To see the kitchen transform in three stages, continue to the next three slides.

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Stage 1: Dark and Dim

Before Kitchen: Blue streak

Bland walls and maroon cabinets fall short in the style department. But a bold streak of blue forecasts a bright future for this kitchen.

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Stage 2: Perfect Palette

Window seat in progress

A new tile backsplash connects deep charcoal lower cabinets with crisp white uppers. The updated window seat adds needed storage.

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Stage 3: Think Outside the Window

Blue kitchen walls expanded entry

Like many gallery kitchens, this room lacked light. The perfect compromise to satisfy both budget and space was to expand the entry between the kitchen and dining room to make the room open and airy. A stylish track light was also added to the kitchen to bring more light into the space.

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Window Treatment Wonders

Window treatments

To ground the bright blue walls, the homeowner chose black-and-white fabrics for accents. Window treatments, the seat cushion, and pillows all feature different patterns, but the black-and-white color palette brings all the elements together. When it comes to curtains and pillows, think beyond the bolt. Expand your search to bedsheets, designer remnants, and tea towels. Plan ahead so you can buy fabric from tag sales and discount stores.

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Vibrant Blue

Blue mosaic tile backsplash

Don't be afraid to experiment with bold colors. In this room, the bright blue tile is uplifting and adds plenty of personality to the space. Pairing this vivid color with white, gray, and black grounds the blue to prevent it from overwhelming a small room.

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Out of Style

Maroon shelves

Heavy cabinets above the stove made the kitchen feel claustrophobic. And the maroon color provides a dark and dreary tone. The fix? Knock down the cabinets.

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Open Space

Glass shelves

Chic tempered-glass shelves show off fun kitchenware and grant easy access to essential dishes. Using glass shelves is a good choice in a small space because they offer storage without adding visual weight to the space. After they're attached, the glass disappears against the wall, making your collections pop. Your local hardware stores can cut tempered-glass shelves to size.

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Tile Tricks

White subway tile

Pick up inexpensive white subway tile at a home improvement center. Placing it at an angle bolsters the kitchen's contemporary look.

Editor's Tip: Create a decorative display in the kitchen by putting dishes and cookbooks on display that coordinate with your kitchen's decor.

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Pet Paradise

Pet storage window seat

Deep drawers tucked under the window seat make a perfect place to stash food and toys for pets. The plush cushion and pile of pillows on the window seat provide a needed softness to the kitchen. They offer a place to sit while gathering pet supplies and balance out the tile, wood, and glass surfaces in the kitchen.

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