Small Kitchen Before-and-Afters

Rossi Kitchen
These six kitchens all had two things in common: a small footprint and a serious smattering of eyesore features. Savvy remodeling updates and big doses of style yield mighty transformations while sticking to small proportions.

BEFORE: In Need of a U-Turn

In addition to being not much to look at, an awkward U-shape layout hemmed people in and made for inefficient traffic flow between the adjacent living and dining areas.

AFTER: Blue Beauty

Nixing the peninsula in favor of a slim island proved to be a game-changing choice. Blue cabinetry contrasts with dark hickory floors, while brushed-metal drawer pulls give a nod to the room's underlying rustic aesthetic.

BEFORE: Basic Box

Another traffic-stopping peninsula that lacked storage caused problems in this builder-grade kitchen. But a few impactful changes and minor remodeling fixes would save the day. Blogger Melissa Michaels (The Inspired Room) took a good look at her kitchen and worked with what she had to create a fresh space.

AFTER: Fresh and Functional

Ripping out the peninsula and upper cabinets led the way for an open and airy feel. Quartz countertops, a tile backsplash, and a slender island -- all in shades of white -- gave the kitchen a visual facelift, as did painting the lower cabinets a sumptuous shade of gray. A sleek range hood took over the space once occupied by the microwave, which moved to the wall by the refrigerator.

BEFORE: Outdated and Dingy

A clunky layout and even clunkier cabinets left this kitchen in a 1943 home lacking modern efficiencies and style.

AFTER: Red Hot

Keeping the kitchen within the same basic footprint and size but reworking the layout proved to be a game-changer. Glossy red cabinets from IKEA capture a sleek, modern look on a real-world budget. Do-it-yourself concrete countertops were a cost-effective approach to a high-end look. The counter-depth refrigerator has the appearance of a built-in model but is more affordable. 24x24-inch floor tiles and a stainless-steel backsplash complement the room's modern leanings.

BEFORE: Small and Dark

The homeowner was willing to live within her kitchen's 15x7 footprint, but she wanted to address its frumpy facade.

AFTER: Peppy Update

Widening the doorway into the dining room was an instant brightener and visual space-extender. Juicy-orange lower cabinets in a laquered finish provide a whimsical pop of glossy color. Chrome cabinet pulls complement the quartz-surfacing countertop, which sports silvery-gray flecks. Open shelving and white beaded board add a classic touch befitting of the home's 1875 origins. New dishwasher drawers hide behind cabinet fronts, giving the lower cabinets a more continuous look.

While this kitchen had a good foundation, it needed a spark of character. See how smart changes and design updates, and a fab black-and-white color scheme, completely transformed this kitchen.

BEFORE-AND-AFTER: Glam on a Budget

See how a sophisticated black-and-white palette with shimmery accents took this kitchen from bland to glam.

BEFORE: Stuck in a Timewarp

This kitchen had barely been updated in 60 years. Not only did it lack a sense of style, but its narrow and boxy footprint was a dysfunctional mess.

AFTER: Up-to-Date Vintage

The kitchen maintained its narrow 9-foot width, but removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room and relocating appliances improved sight lines and traffic flow. Bright white cabinets, large floor tiles, a sleek range hood, a stainless-steel cooktop, and a built-in oven exhibit a fresh vintage style in the remodeled kitchen. Blue and yellow accents enliven the crisp neutrals and further the vintage aesthetic, as do the butcher-block countertops, porcelain apron-front sink, and classic cabinet pulls.

BEFORE: Little but Loved

A sunny yellow color scheme and printed wallpaper dated this small but hardworking kitchen. The homeowners looked for unexpected ways to snag square footage and boost the function in this small-kitchen remodel.

AFTER: Gorgeous in Gray

A back porch was rebuilt as a breakfast nook to put every inch to use in this small kitchen. To max out storage, the cabinets extend to the ceiling and are 15 inches deep versus the standard 12 inches. A tone-on-tone color scheme, like this warm gray palette, keeps the eye moving and visually expands the space. A petite island offers an additional prep surface and storage.

BEFORE: Out with the Old

When planning a remodel, ask yourself what you use and what you don't. Here, a bulky desk was removed and replaced with an unobtrusive cooking zone that reclaims storage space and creates better flow and functionality.

AFTER: Modern-Minded

Removing a bulky desk left room for smart storage. A small pot rack puts oft-used cookware in easy reach of the range while freeing up cabinet space. Clean lines -- including the kitchen's built-in fridge, linear hardware, and fuss-free cabinetry -- and a lack of ornate detail keep this small kitchen clutter-free. Open shelves are an airy touch in the kitchen's original hearth.

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