Before and After: The 10 Best Kitchen Renos We’ve Seen So Far This Year

published Oct 29, 2019
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Credit: Honja K

What makes a good kitchen? Plenty of light, smart organization, and open sight lines, to start. There’s a reason it’s called the heart of the home: You’ll likely spend a good chunk of your time there, cooking up brunch on the weekends, catching up on deadlines after dinner, or skimming headlines over coffee first thing in the morning. The best kitchens needs to be both inviting and functional, but accomplishing both can be challenging. We see a lot of cook space makeovers, and few check off every box. Here are our 10 favorite kitchen redos we’ve seen so far in 2019.

Black Walls Bring Serious Drama to This $6,400 Kitchen Reno

When Stasia first moved into her flat in 2016, she found it too sterile for her taste. So she took a risk in painting the walls of her up-to-date kitchen chalkboard black. Since she was looking for an “industrial, yet cozy” look, she installed brick on the walls and a green-and-white tile backsplash. She updated the stove, cabinets, and sink with black alternatives to match the bold new walls. The result was a warm, homey effect: With large windows, the space allows enough light in to prevent the black from becoming overpowering, while the rich oak worktops and red brick walls compliment the sheer black base throughout the kitchen. Not to mention, the walls are literally made of chalkboard paint, there for all her to-do list needs (it’s both stylish and efficient). 

$800 Went a Very Long Way in This Newly Redone Kitchen

The kitchen Kelsey Sigars started with left a lot to be desired. But with a mere $800, she turned it from a dark, dreary, and outdated space into a bright, welcoming cook space. She started with paint: She did the floors concrete grey, the cabinets navy blue, and gave the walls a fresh coat of white. Sigars replaced the grey countertops with slabs of dark wood butcher blocks and threw accompanying gold touches (cabinet handles, vases, and accent plates) throughout. The result is a testament to what creative thinking—even on a limited budget—can do.

This New Kitchen Has a Very Unique Tile Backsplash

For photographer Jenn Hair, a backsplash is more than just an accent. When she set out to remodel her kitchen, she made hers the central focus. The original space had black walls, which, in tandem with her dark wood flooring, sucked light out of the room. So she opted for bright white slim subway tile on the walls, paired with a hexagonal slate backsplash over her range. She complimented the bold contrasting tile patterns with baby blue cabinets and gold accents, for an all-around lively kitchen look.

Credit: Submitted by Rebecca Raskind
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This Drab Kitchen Goes Glam with a Marble Makeover

When you think of kitchen marble, you probably think of a nice island or countertop. Rebecca Raskind tends to think bigger. When she redid her kitchen, she started by building an island out of rich white and grey marble slab, but then went much further, covering her walls with it from counter to ceiling. She selected bright white upper cabinets and slate grey lower ones to compliment the colors of her marble backsplash, and the result is incredibly elegant. To keep the bright white space from looking too sterile, she threw in rich wood accent pieces including barstools and fruit bowls. Raskind is rethinking norms when it comes to kitchen design—and we have to say, it looks fabulous.

Credit: Honja K
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Pops of Pastel Bring Spring Cheer to This $10K White Kitchen

The gloomy space Honja started with was cavernous, with dark floors, cabinets, and appliances. After three years of saving, she transformed it into an open, airy oasis. Honja replaced her dark wood flooring with a lighter alternative, switched her plum countertops with a light grey variant, and swapped out her maple cabinets with bright white ones. To keep the space from looking sterile, she threw in mint stools, greenery, and orange accents throughout. She made use of the ample natural light her kitchen’s windows allowed with an accompanying bright color scheme, and boy, does it work well.

This Rental Kitchen DIY Is the Best Thing on the Internet

Out of all the rental kitchen renovations we saw this year, Jess Bunge did the most with the least. Her rental kitchen was small, cramped, and lacking light—so she brightened it up by covering her drab gray countertops with plywood and giving the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint. For some sparkle, Jess added gold accents throughout the space, including a strategically-placed mirror that functions as an optical illusion to make the area appear larger than it is. She replaced the existing outdated fridge with a vintage-style Smeg, which tied the space together, opening up a once-cramped room and turning it into a bright, Scandinavian-style kitchen.

A Rental Apartment’s Dingy Kitchen Is Unrecognizable After a Modern Reno

When Leslie Slanonen, of Fort Collins, Colorado, moved into the first apartment sans roommates, she knew she had to make it her own. The kitchen was drab—with beige flooring and discolored white walls—and desperately needed a redo. So she touched up the walls, installed sleek black cabinets and appliances, and replaced the flooring and door with light wood alternatives. After adding an intricate rug, orange accent pieces, plants, and black bar stools and lighting, the space became bright, bold, and sophisticated.

Credit: Courtesy of Designer Karen Hickey
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An Outdated Retro Kitchen Gets a Fresh Remodel, But Keeps the Gorgeous Vintage Vibes

Singer Hilary Alexander’s 1906 Los Angeles Craftsman house had a host of natural antique charms to it. So when she was ready to remodel, she faced a conundrum: how to renovate without losing the old-school touches she loved. She called on interior designer Karen Hickey to help. Opting for a lighter and brighter color scheme, Hickey opened the kitchen up with white dotted flooring and authentic vintage floral wallpaper. She installed a refurbished 1920s powder blue tiled stove to match—the icing on the cake!

This Once-Bland, Personality-Free Kitchen Got A Cheery Refresh

Perth, Australia couple Laura and Wade Goodwin were feeling down about their kitchen; while it was certainly modern, stocked with relatively up-to-date appliances, it was too drab for their liking. So the pair gave the plain-looking room a “pink-over.” After painting the white backsplash pale pink, they found barstools, vases, and other accessories to match; jade green touches, like the green-splattered kitchen table, add some contrast. White base cabinets help tie the whole kitchen together.

Credit: Abagail Halstead
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An Incredible and Colorful Transformation of a Dated, Drab Rental Kitchen

In just two weeks, Elizabeth Van Lierde, writer behind The College Housewife blog, turned a cramped kitchen into a warm, elegant area. Replacing a dark grey marble backsplash with a shining white tile variant, painting dingy white cabinets a warm dandelion-yellow, and painting the walls a rich burnt-coral, she warmed up a space that was once all doom and gloom. Van Lierde even made an odd corner nook usable by adding a light wood table of just the right size and a bench with throw pillows to match the kitchen’s vibrant colors. The end result is an inviting space you’ll never want to leave.