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Before and After: The 10 Best Kitchen Redos We Saw in 2020

published Dec 20, 2020
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Before: Galley kitchen with red walls and yellowy oak cabinets
Credit: Suzy Jean

Across the board, it’s safe to say that kitchens saw a lot more activity than usual this year. Between quarantine orders and social distancing restrictions, the kitchen really lived up to its reputation of being the heart of the home—turning into a safe haven of sorts for nourishment and quality family time. In some cases, these spaces even became temporary offices, business hubs, and classrooms. 

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Given all of that, it’s no surprise that designers and contractors saw a huge surge in requests to renovate, adding elements of both style and function to the all-important space. If you’re one of the many looking to give your space a much-needed refresh, use these incredible before and afters—our 10 favorites of the year—as inspiration.

1. A $500 Kitchen Redo Proves How Far Little Changes Can Go

When homeowners got quotes up to $50,000 to renovate a dated kitchen, they took matters into their own hands. You won’t believe the difference a mere $500 spent mostly on paint, hardware, and lighting did for this space.

2. This Dreamy Kitchen Redo is an Open Concept Masterpiece

Though this 1950s home had an all-white kitchen, it was a far cry from the ones we’ve come to know today—until the homeowners opened it up to their living room, installed all new cabinets and appliances, and opted for open shelves rather than traditional uppers.

Credit: Gisele Blaker
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3. The $500 Kitchen Refresh of Your Scandi-Modern Dreams

This teeny tiny kitchen was filled with both upper and lower cabinets in a creamy white, distressed finish that didn’t look bad, but didn’t look fresh either. A fresh coat of paint, a mini subway tile backsplash, and long open shelves was just what this kitchen needed to look bigger, brighter, and all-around better.

4. This Breezy Kitchen Redo Will Make You an Open Shelf Convert

This formerly narrow, dark, and dated kitchen had all kinds of problems—inadequate appliances, insufficient storage, and a broken layout that just didn’t work. A top-to-bottom overhaul that added usable space and incorporated sophisticated design features, like wood-look laminate floors in a modern gray-washed finish and a large built-in hood, was just what the space needed.

5. A Brown ’70s Kitchen Gets a Cozy Farmhouse-Style Redo

Four months and approximately $8,000 was all this ‘70s-style kitchen needed to enter the 21st century. Shiplap walls, rustic wood, and contrasting white and black make it a space Chip and Jo would be proud of.

6. Little Changes Make This Dark ’90s Kitchen Boho Breezy

You’d never believe that just a few simple swaps—paint, tile, hardware, and decor choices—could transform such a boldly ’90s kitchen into a bohemian haven.

7. A Stylish $50 Kitchen Island Redo Done in a Day

This budget revamp, which focuses on the centerpiece of the space—the island—is proof that you can spend less than you would on your weekly grocery haul and make a huge difference in the look of your kitchen.

Credit: Judy Pellow
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8. Paint and Hardware Make These Kitchen Cabinets Look Brand New

Skeptical that paint and hardware is enough to make an incredibly dated kitchen look fresh and modern? Just take a look at how far they took these ’80s-style melamine cabinets.

9. Just $2,000 Turns This ’90s Kitchen into a Scandi-Boho Dream

To save on reno costs, this homeowner leaned on the fact that the old cabinet boxes in her ‘90s-style kitchen were solid wood and in great condition. Instead of replacing them entirely, she opted to DIY shaker doors, then repainted everything and ripped out the uppers in favor of open shelves. The result looks totally fresh and modern.

10. A $1,000 Kitchen Redo with a DIY Island Surprise

Homeowners shouldn’t have all the fun. This rental kitchen went from dark and dated to bright and personality-packed, thanks to a bunch of little upgrades that are either reversible (like the ceiling light) or pre-approved by the landlord (like the newly painted cabinets and island).