Before and After: A Bland Brown Kitchen Gets a Bright White Redo — With a Twist

published Jul 27, 2021
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Before: Dated kitchen with dark wooden cabinets and floors and tan countertops
Credit: Chesca Alston

White cabinets make a lot of sense in the kitchen because white can brighten a room and make it look larger — no additional windows necessary. Depending on undertones, white paint can also make a space look cleaner — and who doesn’t want an instantly cleaner kitchen?

It’s easy to see why white is a go-to choice for the kitchen, but just because you choose it for the cabinets or the walls doesn’t mean the rest of the space will be boring. See: Apartment Therapy’s list of 25 white kitchens that are anything but bland and basic, and six stellar ideas for breathing life into an all-white kitchen. And you can also be sure to add homeowner Chesca Alston’s kitchen to your inspiration board.

Credit: Chesca Alston

When Chesca moved into her home, everything in the cook space was tan. “With the cabinets, floor, and walls being the same shade, it made for a very dark kitchen,” she says. “The first thing we did was painted the walls to a lighter gray knowing that we will at some point redo the kitchen to match our design taste.”

Credit: Chesca Alston

Chesca wanted her kitchen to be light and bright, but she also wanted to bring in bold pops of color to match her family’s style. To do so, she added a subtle but stunning seafoam shade to the backsplash with mini ceramic subway tiles (placed vertically for a more modern look).

Credit: Chesca Alston

She also added a pop of color in an unexpected spot: under the kitchen’s breakfast bar. Although she worked with a contractor for most of the renovation (totaling $25,000), the dowel rod detail underneath the counter is DIY, and it’s the perfect spot to experiment with such a bold color.

Credit: Vivianmonsonphotos

It’s not right at eye level, so it’s not overwhelming, but it still makes a statement when you walk in the room. Not to mention, the dowel rods add texture, too.

Chesca sanded the half dowels and painted them Behr’s Midsummer Gold.

“The pop of our favorite colors of aqua and yellow makes the space more ‘us,'” Chesca says. Her recommendation for experimenting with bold color combos is to get samples and try them out together.

Credit: Chesca Alston

“Don’t be afraid of color and the design that sings to you,” she says.

Chesca also researched and shopped for the other finishes in the kitchen, from the modern lighting to the white metal stools to the new drawer pulls to the appliances. Two of her favorite details are the open shelving and the new quartz countertops. The shelves, which are stacked with West Elm bowls, are a great decor moment that makes the space feel more open, Chesca says, and the gray-toned countertops also elevate the space.

Next on Chesca’s DIY list? Updating the window covering.

“Plan, plan, plan!” Chesca says to anyone tackling a kitchen reno soon. “Take your time and create your vision.”