Small Kitchen Remodel Before-and-After Photos to Inspire You

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.

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BEFORE: In Need of a U-Turn

kitchen before

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

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AFTER: Blue Beauty

blue cabinets

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.

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BEFORE: Basic Box

kitchen before
Before being updated, Melissa's kitchen wasn't bad; it just lacked the personality and openness she wanted for the hub of the home.

In this small kitchen before and after, the kitchen wasn't bad; it just lacked the personality and openness Melissa wanted for the hub of the home. A 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.

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AFTER: Fresh and Functional

BHG Melissa Michaels Kitchen
Melissa Michaels was able to give her kitchen a bright, airy update on a minimal budget and without major disruption thanks to some scrappy thinking.

Melissa Michaels gave her kitchen a bright, airy update on a minimal budget without significant disruption, thanks to some scrappy thinking. Ripping out the peninsula and upper cabinets allowed an open and airy feel. Quartz countertops, a tile backsplash, and a slender island 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.

05 of 14

BEFORE: Outdated and Dingy

Small Kitchen Makeover

A clunky layout and even clunkier cabinets, shown in this before photo of a before and after kitchen makeover, left this kitchen in a 1943 home lacking modern efficiencies and style.

06 of 14

AFTER: Red Hot

red kitchen

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. Finally, 24x24-inch floor tiles and a stainless-steel backsplash complement the room's modern leanings.

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BEFORE: Small and Dark

kitchen before

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

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AFTER: Peppy Update


Widening the doorway into the dining room was an instant brightener and visual space-extender. Juicy-orange lower cabinets in a lacquered 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 the home's 1875 origins. New dishwasher drawers hide behind cabinet fronts, giving the lower cabinets a more continuous look.

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BEFORE: Stuck in a Timewarp

Kitchen before

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

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AFTER: Up-to-Date Vintage

white kitchen

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, as seen in the after of the kitchen remodel before and after photos. 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.

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BEFORE: Little but Loved

Small Kitchen Makeover

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.

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AFTER: Gorgeous in Gray

Small Kitchen Makeover

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.

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BEFORE: Out with the Old

Small Kitchen Makeover

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.

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AFTER: Modern-Minded

Rossi Kitchen

Removing the desk made room for smart storage. A small pot rack puts often-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 an absence 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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