Kitchen Remodeling Ideas: Ways to Refresh Your Cooking Space

Kitchen cooking space

Transforming your kitchen can seem like a daunting task. But with some strategic planning and creative solutions, you can remodel your kitchen in ways both big and small. From opening up the layout to swapping out backsplashes, cabinets, and countertops, we’ll explore some of the hottest kitchen remodeling ideas and top kitchen designs. Well, you can go to the nearest cabinet store in your area, but there are more things you need to know to refresh your favorite area in your home.

Table of Contents

Brighten Up-Dated Kitchen Cabinets

One of the easiest ways to overhaul your kitchen’s look without a full renovation is by painting your existing cabinets. Especially if you have the standard 1980s-2000s era honey oak builder-grade cabinets.

Painting over those dated kitchen cabinets is an affordable DIY project that makes a striking visual impact. Some top colors to consider include:

Crisp White for an Airy Aesthetic

Nothing evokes a fresh, clean look quite like crisp white cabinetry. Especially paired with light walls, backsplashes, and accents, white kitchen cabinets create a seamless monochromatic look. The lack of visual breaks accentuates qualities like high ceilings and natural light.

From modern spaces to farmhouse designs, crisp white cabinets suit both contemporary and classic kitchens. For dimension, opt for true white paint with a subtle sheen like satin or pearl. This prevents the bright white from feeling sterile or cavernous.

Flexible, Classic Medium Gray

For those avoiding stark white or wanting richer depth, medium grays provide flexibility. Ranging from weathered charcoal to blue-toned grays, the versatility allows matching cool, warm, or neutral tones.

Medium gray kitchen cabinets feel soft and inviting against backsplashes like marble, quartz, brick, and wood. Staining woods like oak or walnut a similar gray wash ties spaces together.

Navy Blue Drama

While deep navy cabinets may sound daring, this rich shade creates striking spaces. Especially when paired with metallics like brass, chrome, or nickel, navy kitchen cabinets make dramatic style statements.

For more flexibility, consider navy lower cabinets topped with white or neutral stained uppers. This allows changing up accent colors over time while retaining the dramatic blue base.

When tackling a cabinet or kitchen makeover, make sure to properly prep and clean the doors, sand lightly, and prime before painting. Opt for a durable enamel cabinet paint in either satin or semi-gloss for easy wipedowns. Changing the existing hardware out for something eye-catching gives your newly painted kitchen cabinets even more of a facelift.

Introduce a Kitchen Island

According to HGTV experts, adding a kitchen island can help improve workflow and offer additional seating space for entertaining.

One issue that plagues many outdated kitchen layouts is a lack of space to comfortably cook and prep food. Not to mention room for multiple people to hang out. Kitchen islands kill two birds with one stone by offering:

  • Extra counter space and storage
  • A dedicated area for food prep
  • Seating for casual dining and entertaining

When it comes to placement, ensure at least 3-4 feet of space around all sides for traffic flow. Islands should also sit at least 42 inches from opposing perimeter counters for a work triangle that allows easy access to tools while cooking.

If you have a kitchen footprint to spare, a kitchen island with bar-height seating can become a hugely popular hangout spot. Top it with durable granite or quartz countertops along with storage drawers and cabinets underneath for maximized functionality. Just be mindful of sight lines if tucking stools underneath when not in use.

Upgrade Outdated Kitchen Countertops

Formica laminate might have been all the rage in decades past, but today’s most popular kitchen countertop ideas are positively drool-worthy. Natural stone surfaces like granite and even marble countertops make stunning (and study) additions that instantly communicate luxury.

However, two manmade options have become hot kitchen remodel contenders due to their combination of good looks, durability, and affordability:

Quartz Countertops

With its stone-like visual appeal and heat resistance, non-porous quartz is an ideal choice for busy kitchens. While more affordable than natural stone, quartz is nearly indestructible, repelling stains, scratches, and chips.

This engineered composite material comes in a vast array of colors and patterns. So whether you love the look of white marble or blue stone, there’s likely a color-coordinated quartz choice.

Laminate Countertops

As noted in Good Housekeeping’s kitchen renovation guide, replacing laminate countertops with materials like quartz or granite can modernize the look of outdated kitchens.

Once the gold standard of affordable kitchen counters, laminate has stepped up its game big time. Modern laminate options mimic pricier materials like quartz and granite almost seamlessly while keeping kitchen cabinet costs low.

Thanks to protective aluminum oxide layers that resist wear, today’s laminates are more dent, stain, chip, and scratch-resistant than their dated ancestors. Just mind heat and moisture to prevent damage.

Modernize Your Kitchen Backsplash

Backsplashes protect your walls while adding visual interest and color. From glass, stone, and ceramic tiles to metal and unusual accents, kitchen backsplash ideas abound.

Classic Subway Tile Backsplash

A timeless backsplash tile option, the classic 3×6” glazed ceramic subway tile offers clean lines in either monochromatic white or varying colors. Accent with contrasting grout for added dimension.

Subway tiles create a seamless look pairing nicely with a variety of cabinetry, countertops, and hardware finishes. Plus, the rectangular-shaped white subway tiles reflect light beautifully.

Modern Multidimensional Materials

Want something aside from traditional tile or glass? Up the visual intrigue with:

  • Metal like copper or tin
  • Wood reclaimed flooring or shiplap
  • Multicolored mosaic or patterned Moroccan-style tiles
  • Faux brick panels like faux tin ceilings

Updating backsplashes delivers a big impact without remodeling entire kitchens. So don’t be afraid to get creative!

Key Elements of Kitchen Remodel

When tackling kitchen remodels, focusing on a few key elements can make a major visual difference without requiring full gut renovations. From swapping out backsplashes and countertops to adding rustic wood elements, small upgrades bring big returns.

Warmth of Wood Countertops

Want to add natural beauty without the maintenance of real wood? Wood-look porcelain slabs offer the appearance of butcher block or reclaimed planks minus hassles. Durable and scratch-resistant, these realistic replicas integrate beautifully into casual to upscale kitchens.

Or opt for authentic wood countertops like bamboo, walnut, and oak in island areas not subject to heavy abuse. Proper sealing protects while highlighting unique wood grains.

Elegant Granite Countertops

While granite flies under the radar of trendier engineered quartz and concrete, natural stone remains a classic. Granite’s elegance and variance pair nicely with everything from modern to traditional spaces.

Durable, heat-resistant, and anti-microbial, granite endures years of wear while offering unique visual appeal. Just be sure to properly seal them to prevent staining.

Open Shelving for Display and Storage

Open shelving offers the perfect solution for displaying favorite dishes, cookbooks, and small décor while storing necessities within arm’s reach.

Ideal above sinks, stoves, and prep areas, open shelving fits nicely into casual, eclectic, industrial, and modern spaces. Mixing open shelving and glass fronts along with enclosed solid cabinet faces creates an appealing visual texture.

Ensure everyday dishes and glassware coordinate nicely before putting them on full display. And consider brackets to securely anchor shelving into walls for safety and stability.

Choose Statement Lighting Over Sinks and Islands

The proper kitchen lighting casts everything in the perfect light, illuminating tasks while setting a welcoming mood.

Make a statement and brighten food prep zones with pendant lighting. Multi-light pendants work wonderfully over kitchen islands and peninsulas. For more intimate single-sink areas, opt for a single dramatic pendant.

Ensure pendant mounts sit 30-32 inches above countertops so bulbs don’t interfere with tasks. Then fill in the remaining voids with strategically placed recessed cans for ambient glow.

Carve Out Space for Casual Dining

Since kitchens increasingly double as entertainment zones and family hangouts, consider incorporating casual dining space into kitchen design. By tucking in a petite table or breakfast nook near food prep areas, friends and family can comfortably gather.

Just ensure dining furniture fits without blocking primary kitchen work zones. Round pedestal tables with curved banquettes make great use of unused corners. For galley kitchens, a bistro table at the end cabinets creates a natural dining spot.

If a full-fledged dining zone won’t fit, just adding counter overhangs, kitchen islands with seating, or custom built-in benches allows for seating. Top with machine-washable seat cushions or chair pads to dress up the entire space further.

Repurpose Wasted Spaces

Even the most space-starved kitchens contain hidden real estate. Uncover every inch of usable space in a contemporary kitchen with clever storage solutions:

Dead Cabinet Corners

Take advantage of stagnant corner cabinets by installing storage innovations like:

  • Lazy Susans that swivel for access
  • Multi-tiered corner shelving on wheels
  • Vertical tool organizers
  • Angled corner drawers

This transforms previously inaccessible spaces into highly functional storage.

Empty Wall Voids

Make the most of the gaps between the ceiling and upper cabinets. Fashion this previously dead space into practical storage with:

  • Rail-mounted pot racks
  • Spice storage racks
  • Paper towel holders
  • Floating open shelves

Checking ceilings for water pipes or electrical before drilling. But when done properly, this transforms useless voids into prime organization space.

Add Warmth with Wood Elements

Want to add inviting warmth to cool contemporary spaces? Introduce reclaimed wood elements like:

  • Barn door cabinets
  • Wood plank open shelving
  • Rustic ceiling beams
  • Butcher block islands
  • Wood countertops

Contrasting rich wood against light cabinetry, backsplashes, walls, and metals creates lively, eclectic spaces. Ensure proper sealing so moisture doesn’t damage untreated planks.

Embrace Color

White, gray, and wood tones dominate today’s fuss-free kitchen palettes. But don’t be afraid to embrace color to infuse personality. Vibrant kitchen colors like cobalt blue, emerald green, and citrus orange enliven neutral spaces. Consider adding pops of colors via:

  • Painted cabinets
  • Bright island bases
  • Colored appliances
  • Colorful mosaic backsplashes
  • Cheerful dining furniture

For something subtler, layer in accent colors with smaller décor items like bar stools, rugs, window treatments, and art. This allows changing up colors seasonally while maintaining flexible neutrals.

Final Thoughts

Whether planning a full-on gut job or a quick budget refresh, smart kitchen updates make everyday meal prep simpler. From opening cramped layouts to heightening storage space, efficiency is key to this busy work area.

While white cabinetry and neutral backsplashes offer safe choices, don’t overlook the possibilities that personalized spaces. From dramatic navy kitchen island bases to metal and wood backsplashes, modern materials mix beautifully.

Hopefully, these four kitchen ideas and remodeling inspirations stir creativity upgrading your home’s heart. Remember even modest changes deliver dramatic visual impact and enhanced functionality.

Bayram Gulsen

Bayram Gulsen is the owner of Cabinets City. He always had this passion to redefine cabinetry to be at its best along with his dedicated team and the author of Cabinets City blog: You can find Bayram on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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