Before and After: Little Changes Made a Big Difference in This Kitchen

published Nov 21, 2019
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Credit: Kit Lin

Not every renovation has to be a tear-down-the-walls, spend-weeks-without-a-stove endeavor. In fact, sometimes the best redos are the simplest, with lots of attention on the little stuff. For Kit Lin, the little stuff in her kitchen was what bugged her. The layout worked well, and the cabinets and appliances were nice and new—but the speckled, wood-trimmed countertops felt dated, the cabinet hardware was meh, and there was hardly a backsplash to speak of. “We always had to be very careful during cooking,” Kit says, since any splatters would just end up on the painted wall.

Credit: Kit Lin

But overall, the kitchen was a real catch, says Kit. “The kitchen size is actually huge considering only my husband and I live in this house,” she says. “Besides, there is a south-facing window near the sink which brings lots of natural light!”

So, to keep all the good stuff—the ample size, the natural light, and those pretty wood cabinets—but amp up the rest, Kit and her husband spent about a month researching and planning before contracting out the countertops, sink, and lighting.

Credit: Kit Lin

Kit and her husband decided to put the bulk of their budget toward the countertop, which they replaced with crisp white quartz. Then, they had super affordable mid-century-style pendant lights from Amazon installed over the island to help lend some light and style to the space.

Credit: Kit Lin

The new sink—an undermount style—is way more practical than the old one, since it doesn’t catch crumbs and other gunk in the seams. The single basin and tall gooseneck faucet both allow for easy washing of larger pans and platters.

For the backsplash, Kit chose white geometric tiles from Home Depot. Initially, she had her heart set on black grout, but the contractor swayed them. “Our contractor suggested another warm color called ‘haystack’ to match our wooden cabinets, and that works even better!” says Kit. Another little change with huge impact? The new black hardware with a simple boxy shape, which Kit also got on Amazon. Swapped in for the ho-hum curvy nickel ones, it adds instant modern appeal. Final touch: a spunky geometric rug by the sink.

Now, the kitchen has all its old charms—and plenty of new ones, too.

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