The word “renovation” tends to conjure up nightmares. Why, you may ask? Renovations can be taxing, time-consuming, and not to mention, expensive. With such a collection of negative adjectives, it’s a little surprising we ever do them at all.
But the truth is, renovations give us the chance to build out the spaces we’ve been dreaming of. A kitchen renovation can be the difference between a space you struggle to fit into and one you absolutely love spending time in. Since a renovation puts you in control, you can stock up on the features you’ve always craved—and ditch the ones you never really cared about.
Of course, all this control can get a little daunting, and it’s often hard to know where to begin. But, the following 51 kitchen redesign and remodel ideas will give you all the inspiration you need to get started, helping you tackle the first step of any renovation: figuring out what you want the renovation to look like.
Commit to a Palette You Love
Your palette doesn’t have to be the first thing you think of when planning out a kitchen renovation, but it’s a pretty great starting point if you’re not sure where else to begin.
Think about the colors that already exist in your space and consider what shades might complement them. Then, give your cabinets that aesthetic tune-up they’ve been craving. You might be surprised at how thoroughly a quick coat of paint can transform your space.
Make the Most of Your Space
If you’re not in the mood for months of construction—and really, who is?—look for creative ways to work with the space you already have.
Could a counterintuitive layout—like placing your dining room next to your kitchen, rather than across from it—make your space feel more functional? Start by establishing a sensible structure, then stock up on the pieces you’ll need to make it happen.
Get Creative With Your Layout
Your kitchen doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. In fact, the beauty of a renovation is that you get to customize your space however you want to—so feel free to have a little fun with your layout.
If a kitchen bar is a must-have for you, make it work in your space, even if that means building in a diagonal bar. A triangular kitchen isn’t something you see every day, but, if it’s the best way to get the space you’ve been dreaming of, embrace it.
Have Fun With Your Floors
Putting in new floors can be a bit of a commitment, but if you spring for a bold option, the end result will be well worth the extra effort. Install diner tiles that complement your newly painted kitchen cabinets, or use your floors to add a pop of color to your space. Even sleeker options—like brand new hardwoods—are bound to transform your kitchen.
Look for Unobtrusive Storage Options
Storage space is a must in any kitchen, but if you’re navigating a smaller room, it can be hard to find the space for it. What are you supposed to do—cover the only window in your kitchen with a few extra shelves?
Rest assured knowing that clever solutions to these problems abound. Glass shelves, for instance, offer a low-profile way to add storage to your kitchen—and you can display them over your window without losing any natural light.
Upgrade Your Appliances
A natural step to take during any kitchen renovation? Rethinking your appliances. If they’re a little worse for wear, it might be time to upgrade them.
Swap your appliances out before you put new shelves or cabinets in your space. The last thing you want is a perfectly designed kitchen that can’t accommodate the stove you just splurged on.
Install New Shelves
Kitchen renovations don’t have to be incredibly involved. Sometimes, just adding a few new shelves to your space can make a big difference.
Start by considering how much more storage space you need, then find shelves that offer exactly that. This can be an easy way to make your kitchen more functional without leaving it feeling cluttered or crowded.
Spring for a Few Special Features
The point of a kitchen renovation is to give you a space that meets all your needs—so treat yourself to a few special features along the way.
If you’re a big wine drinker, build a low-profile wine cellar into your space. If you love to bake, consider springing for a double oven. These additions may feel extraneous, but they’ll make all the difference when you’re living in your new space.
Mix and Match Your Cabinetry
Consistent cabinetry is a popular choice—but it’s not the only option on offer. There’s no reason your cabinets can’t be crafted from different materials or rendered in different colors, so feel free to mix and match.
To keep things feeling cohesive, consider using one color on your top cabinets and another on your bottom cabinets. If you combine different materials, consider visually separating them in a similar way.
Play With Texture
Kitchens are loaded with different textures, and a renovation gives you the opportunity to customize yours. Think about the materials you’re using for your cabinets, your countertops, and even your floors, and look for options that play well together.
Turn Your Wall Into an Entryway
If you’re going all in on your renovation, remember that you can rethink the structure of your space. If a wall isn’t load-bearing, it can likely be removed—or turned into a stunning entryway arch, as seen here.
Structural changes like these can be a big commitment, so you’ll want to consider them thoughtfully. But, when done well, they can make a space feel larger, more open, and more intuitive than it was before.
Hang Shelves from Your Ceilings
Some walls are more hardware-friendly than others, so if you’re navigating a kitchen wall that isn’t very kind to nails or screws, look for other ways to install new shelves and cabinets. Consider installing cabinets from the ground up and hanging your shelves from the ceiling.
This isn’t the kind of storage set-up you’ll find in every kitchen, but reimagining a space always requires a little creativity.
Keep an Eye on Your Accents
When renovating a kitchen, your countertops and cabinets will get a lot of love, but your accent pieces deserve just as much attention, as they affect the way your space ultimately comes together.
Keep an eye out for drawer pulls, faucets, lighting fixtures, and even windows while looking for opportunities to make those accent pieces feel cohesive.
Use Built-in Structures to Your Advantage
Every space has its own strengths and weaknesses, and your kitchen will be better off if you can make the weaknesses work with you, rather than against you.
A structural column might not be the kind of thing you want in your kitchen, but by pairing it with a kitchen island, you can use it to create implied boundaries and add visual structure to your space.
Soften Out Your Corners
Corners cause problems for cabinets. Just think about it: if you open the cabinet to the left of the corner, its door will cover the cabinet on the right side of the corner.
While this may not sound that impactful, it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to cook. Thankfully, there’s an easy way around this pesky problem: soften out your corners.
You can install a sink or put in a new cabinet in a corner to make better use of it. Any diagonal addition should make your kitchen more functional.
Keep Your Hardware Consistent
As you outfit your space, keep an eye on your hardware. It will be one of the finishing touches of your renovation, so you’ll want to make sure it brings out the best in your space.
One particularly statement-making option is to keep your hardware consistent by matching everything—from your faucets to your drawer pulls. Of course, you can just as easily pull off a mix-and-match approach, but keep cohesion in mind as you curate, and your space should come together nicely.
Create Space in Unexpected Places
When renovating, you’ll want to make the most of every inch of space you have. Look for opportunities to rethink unused walls and corners.
Could the spot underneath your staircase be transformed into a wet bar? Doing so might free up storage space in your kitchen—and make your space even more eye-catching than it already is.
Blend Open and Closed-Concept Design
Open-concept kitchens have become a favorite within the design community. But, there’s something to be said for closed-concept design, too.
What’s nice? A renovation gives you the chance to blend elements from both design philosophies. You can combine the fun fluidity of an open-concept kitchen with the cozy privacy of a closed-concept kitchen—sometimes, with an addition as simple as a wraparound bar.
Invest in Your Materials
Renovations can get expensive, so it makes sense to save money anywhere you can. But, consider splurging on a couple investment pieces along the way. The right marble slabs can transform your kitchen—making it feel luxurious, even if you’ve outfitted it in budget-friendly finds everywhere else.
Design From Ceiling to Floor
Remember that your kitchen isn’t just made up of cabinetry and countertops. While these are great candidates for a renovation revamp, your ceilings and floors deserve some love, too.
Consider lining your ceiling with exposed beams that echo the wood you’ve used in your cabinets, or cover your floors in a material that brings out the texture in your space.
Even a simple coat of paint on your walls can make a big difference. Zoom out a little and look for opportunities to bring your space together.
Build in a Dining Nook
If you have space to spare, consider building a breakfast nook into your kitchen. This will make your space feel even warmer and more welcoming, and with a little creative thinking, you can even use the addition as a way to expand your storage set-up—a built-in booth can cleverly double as a set of drawers.
Take Full Advantage of Your Space
Look at all the walls you’re working with, and consider whether they could be used more thoughtfully. If cabinets are only lining one or two of them, should you expand them to cover all three? Or, could you free up visual space by using lower cabinets on all three walls and removing upper cabinets from some of them?
Consider all the options your canvas gives you—then, commit to the ones that best meet your needs.
Have Fun With Lighting
Lighting plays a key role in any space—and that holds true even when it comes to your kitchen. Look for options that will both complete and complement your space.
Pendant lights can make a great addition to any bar or island, and a small chandelier can give you ample light without demanding too much room in your space.
Spring for Statement-Making Cabinets
Remember that the color of your cabinetry isn’t the only thing you can play with. You can make your space feel even more dynamic by springing for a textured option. Or—if you really want to make a statement—you can combine a vibrant color with a bold texture for a set of cabinets bound to turn heads.
Add Structure With a Portable Island
A kitchen island can make your space feel a lot more functional, giving you more counter space to play with, as well as a little added storage. But remember, you don’t have to build a permanent island into your space if you don’t want to. Portable kitchen islands are abound, and you can add functionality to your kitchen without sacrificing flexibility in the process.
Since there are so many portable islands to offer, you can easily find one that suits your space.
Try Out a Bold Backsplash
Your cabinets and countertops are great places to make a statement, but your backsplash can be just as impactful. After all, it’s one of the first things someone will see when they look at your kitchen.
Consider lining your kitchen with bold tiles in a vibrant shade or an eye-catching pattern. Let your backsplash extend across your kitchen, or keep it constrained to your sink or stovetop. Either way, it’s sure to make a stunning addition to your space.
Make Space for Your Favorite Décor
As you build out your renovation, be sure you’re creating space for everything you need to store as well as everything you want to showcase. If you envision beautiful paintings lining your kitchen walls, be sure to leave room for them—and make sure your shelves have ample space to store all your favorite kitchen items, too.
Remember that your kitchen isn’t just defined by its length and width. Its height is also incredibly important to consider, especially when you’re installing shelves and cabinetry.
Look up and see if you have any space up high to play with. A few upper cabinets could make a big difference in your kitchen, and if they’re relatively low-profile, they shouldn’t leave your kitchen feeling cramped or crowded.
Let Your Kitchen Continue
When renovating, you get to define the boundaries of your kitchen. So, if you want to extend your cabinets beyond your dining room, do it. By using cabinets and countertops that match the ones in your kitchen, you can keep the spaces feeling related—even if they’re not directly next to each other.
Invest in the Shelves You Need
Your shelves don’t have to run from wall to wall. If you only need a little storage space, take advantage of the opportunity to free up some visual real estate and opt for shorter shelves. Renovating gives you the chance to craft the precise space you need, so why do anything more or less than that?
Stack your shelves close together to keep them feeling related, and use built-in structures—like windows—to frame them.
Pay Attention to Nearby Walls
As you renovate, be sure to zoom out a little. What exists just outside the boundaries of your kitchen? Keep an eye out for walls, corners, and other adjacent spaces.
These nearby spots can affect the overall visual impact of your space, so they might be worth including in your renovation—or at least considering during the redecoration process.
Add a Booth
Make the most of an unused corner by adding a booth to your space. This restaurant-inspired addition will make your kitchen more functional, and it’s bound to make it feel a little more special, too. Plus, it can be a great go-to when you have no idea what else to do with a given wall or corner.
Play With Negative Space
Your cabinetry doesn’t have to cover every wall in your kitchen. In some cases, you’ll want it to because you’ll need all the storage space you can get. But, if your storage set-up is already thoroughly meeting your needs, there’s no reason to add unnecessary cabinets. Consider playing with negative space and using the contrast to balance out the rest of your kitchen.
Let Your Island in on the Fun
As you renovate your kitchen, be sure to show your kitchen island a little love. After all, it’s a focal point in your space—and it deserves just as much attention as your cabinets and countertops.
You can match your island to your cabinetry to create a little harmony, or you can treat it like a statement-making accent piece. Either way, the piece is sure to make a stunning contribution to your kitchen.
Pair Open and Closed Storage
Remember that you have a few different storage options to play with. Closed storage options—like opaque cabinets—can be great for tucking away functional must-haves. And open storage options—like shelves or see-through cabinets—offer a fun way to showcase your prettiest wares.
You can exclusively stock up on one or the other, or you can mix and match the two. Start by identifying the items you plan to store, then choose the option that bring out the best in them.
Spring for a Double Island
Most of the time, a single kitchen island will suffice. But, if your kitchen is sprawling and you could use the extra counter space, consider springing for two kitchen islands, instead.
Use one as a prep station and the other as a bar, or use them both more flexibly. Just be sure your islands look similar to each other and to the rest of your kitchen. This will keep the items feeling related, and your space feeling cohesive.
Try a Thinner Countertop
Countertops tend to be pretty thick, but there’s no real reason they have to be. A thinner countertop can have just as much visual impact. In fact, since it’s an out-of-the-box choice, it might be a more statement-making option.
Since thinner countertops demand less material than thicker ones, your unexpected design decision might end up saving you a little money, too.
Let Your Storage Solutions Double as Décor
Your storage set-up doesn’t have to stop at shelves and cabinets. There are tons of creative ways to store and display your favorite kitchen items—and many of them are pretty enough to double as décor.
Line your kitchen backsplash with a metal rod fit for hanging your prettiest pots and pans, or use your shelves to display your loveliest drinkware. Since options are abound, it makes sense to start with the items you want to show off and then to figure out the best way to store them.
Don’t Forget About Your Walls
Once you’ve outfitted your cabinets, your countertops, and your kitchen backsplash, you might feel like your kitchen is ready to go. But, have you given any thought to your walls?
Think about the space that extends above your countertops or around your backsplash, and consider whether it deserves a tune-up of its own. Wood paneling can add a little texture to your space, a coat of paint can add color to it, and other decorative details—like thoughtfully placed lighting fixtures—can really bring it together.
Store Stools at the Short End of Your Bar
Often, barstools extend across the long end of a bar. This maximizes seating while giving your kitchen an implied boundary. But, if your space is laid out less traditionally, it might make sense to store your stools along one of the short ends of your bar, instead.
To save space, consider a bar with a countertop that extends outward, giving you an obvious place to store your stools. And don’t sweat it if you can only fit one or two stools into your space—some seating is always better than no seating.
Use Open Shelving to Free Up Visual Space
If you’re worried about extra cabinets leaving your space feeling crowded, take full advantage of open storage options like shelves. Shelves can give you plenty of room to store your stuff without demanding much visual space, and this can make your kitchen feel roomier and more open while giving you all the storage space you need.
Match Your Cabinets to Your Floors
Picking a cabinet color can get intimidating. After all, the shade will become a defining element in your space—and you want to make sure it sets the right tone.
If you’re craving a statement-making option, consider matching your cabinets to your floors. This out-of-the-box choice is sure to turn heads, and if you let your upper cabinets in on the fun, you’ll end up with a floor-to-ceiling wall of color.
Look for Inspiration in Your Favorite Spaces
When reimagining your kitchen, look for inspiration everywhere—not just in other kitchens. You can pull design details from ritzy restaurants, cozy speakeasies, luxe hotels, and more.
These unexpected sources of inspiration can inform everything from your lighting choices to your storage set-up, leaving you with a space that feels both special and unique.
Turn Your Bar Into a Wraparound
If you’re looking for an easy way to add functionality to your space, consider building in a wraparound bar or transforming the bar you already have. This can increase the counter space you have to play with, and if you’re willing to buy a few new barstools, it can increase your seating capacity, too.
Invest in Every Detail
When it comes to renovations, we tend to focus on big-ticket items like cabinets, countertops, and kitchen islands. But, if you want to thoroughly transform your space, it’s worth thinking about the smaller details, too.
Choose your light fixtures thoughtfully, stock up on drawer pulls that bring out the best in your cabinets, and bring some crown molding into your space. Once you’ve knocked out the biggest items on your to-do list, take a good, long look at your space—and work your way from top to bottom as you figure out what details need to come next.
Use Lighting to Add Structure to Your Space
Lighting can make a space more functional, stylish, and more structured, too. As you build out your space, consider all the ways you can use lighting to your advantage, like using pendant lights to create an implied boundary in your kitchen or using different fixtures to make separate spaces feel distinct.
Add Functionality Everywhere You Can
Efficiency is important in any space—but it’s particularly important when space is limited. So if you’re navigating a smaller kitchen, look for ways to maximize functionality. Use a couple barstools to turn a countertop into an eat-in bar, and use shelves to add storage that feels both functional and decorative.
Play With Pops of Color
Your kitchen doesn’t have to be completely colorful or completely sleek. By employing thoughtful pops of color, you can blend the two aesthetics—creating a space that feels dynamic and true to you.
Of course, there are plenty of places to deploy these pops of color, like on your cabinets, your kitchen island, or perhaps most popularly, on your backsplash.
Let Your Island Double as a Cabinet
An island can make a practical addition to any kitchen, and if you want to double up on efficiency, consider a kitchen island that comes lined with a few cabinets.
If your storage situation is already under control, this extra feature may be unnecessary. But, if you could use the extra storage space, it’s a great way to sneak some in.
Consider the Whole Space
As you curate, remember to consider the spaces around your kitchen—this is especially important if your home is open-concept. If your kitchen shares space with your dining room, you’ll want to make sure the two look good together. Keep this in mind as you stock up on seating, lighting, and other items you could coordinate between the two spaces.
Don’t Be Afraid Take a Few Risks
Renovations can be draining, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at once. So whenever possible, try to have some fun with yours.
If you find yourself drawn to jade green appliances or silverware-shaped drawer pulls, take a risk—and give the items a shot. If things don’t turn out the way you thought they would, you can always backtrack. That’s the flexibility you get when you’re in control of the process.