Before and After: After This Gray Kitchen’s Sunny Redo, Every Hour Is Golden Hour

published Jul 22, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
white cabinets, dark countertop, buffet, cat, black hanging light fixture, towel rack on wall, decorative window, coffee maker, knickknacks, pantry
Credit: Hannah Froberg

Neutral color schemes are a favorite for a lot of homeowners, and with good reason: A palette of white, gray, or beige is classic, works well with lots of different decor, and complements a range of home styles, too. 

But if you’re a lover of color, like renter Hannah Fröberg (@myplaceincolour) is, you might be looking for a palette that has a little more pop.

Credit: Hannah Froberg

“I loved the before when I first renovated,” Hannah says of her 1950s Swedish apartment’s kitchen. “It was gray, a bit of an industrial, rustic vibe but I’ve changed my interior style completely since I redecorated around two years ago. It definitely did not feel like me anymore.”

Credit: Hannah Froberg

Hannah’s mission was to create a bold and bright home that left her feeling inspired — and that was especially true for the kitchen. “The kitchen is the first room I go to in the mornings after I wake up,” she said. “I want it to be energetic, welcoming, and inspiring.”

Hannah opted for a warm color palette, using a sunshiney yellow for the walls from Swedish brand Beckers. Then she updated the kitchen backsplash with an orange floral peel-and-stick wallpaper that brings in a subtle retro vibe to the space.

Credit: Hannah Froberg

“Check with your landlord if you are allowed to paint the walls if you promise to paint them white again when you move out,” Hannah advises fellow renters. Another tip? When removing sticky tiles and mounting tape, Hannah says she has good luck using heat from a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive so it doesn’t damage the surface below.

Credit: Hannah Froberg

Hannah saved money by reusing some items she already had — giving them a new lease on life with a lick of paint — and thrifting others. She bought a table and two chairs on Facebook Marketplace that needed some TLC, so she painted them turquoise to add a pop of blue to her golden-hour kitchen.

“I had to strip the chairs from glossy, thick white paint which took over 25 hours to finish,” Hannah says of the laborious process. “I started with sanding by hand, and it did absolutely nothing, so I got the sanding machine out and I got some off but because there’s so much detail I couldn’t use that.” The brands of paint stripper she tried instead “just turned into a gooey mess,” Hannah says.

Credit: Hannah Froberg

After almost giving up, Hannah took a knife to the chairs and stripped them piece by piece. She said that the time-consuming task was the hardest part of the project, but the results paid off — although it’s also a lesson learned. “I will never again buy furniture with that much detail that needs to be stripped of paint,” Hannah says.

The finishing touches include a retro ceiling light in lemon yellow, a new shelf across the window for plants, artwork, and more. The newly redone kitchen “feels like walking into a giant hug,” Hannah says.

“It makes cooking more fun, it makes morning coffee taste better, and it’s more fun to keep the kitchen clean when it looks like this!”