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15 Kitchen Remodel and Renovation Ideas

Modern kitchen with navy cabinets and no island
Anatoli Igolkin_Shutterstock

Even minor kitchen remodel ideas can generate major expenses, with Remodeling Magazine reporting that the minor kitchen remodel these days averages around $23,000. Even people who are excited about kitchen renovation may balk at the price tag and opt for a smaller facelift that adds a fresh look without breaking the bank. If you want your kitchen before and after to look great even when you do the DIY kitchen makeovers yourself, try some of these small and large projects yourself in 2021.

15 DIY kitchen remodel ideas

1. Turn busy, dark colors bright and neutral.

Small apartment kitchen remodeled with white cabinets / Shutterstock

In general, adding lighter colors will make your kitchen remodel look brighter and more airy, a modern trend. Whether you add white furniture, beige walls, or buy a bright white refrigerator, you’ll be adding a more modern edge to the space. Note at least one place in your kitchen that could really look better with a touch of brightness.

What you’ll need: 

2. Make clever use of small spaces.

Kitchen with blue tile backsplash and copper pots and pans
@travelling_gg / Twenty20

Note your kitchen’s assets, not just its shortcomings. Some small galley kitchens have high ceilings, allowing you to store rarely-used items very high up. Other kitchens may have too many appliances and lack counter space – consider adding an island, moving an appliance, or adding a rolling cart for storage.

What you’ll need: 

3. Choose bright cabinet paint or add glass.

Remodeled rustic kitchen with bright white cabinets
liloon / Shutterstock

Your cabinets take up a lot of kitchen real estate, so make them count. You can repaint the outside a satin white or a matte eggshell or some other neutral that looks bright and cheery in your kitchen remodel before and after. You can also opt to see everything inside by installing panes of glass in the cabinets instead.

What you’ll need: 

4. Opt for vintage hardware.

Wood kitchen cabinets with vintage bronze handles
Nataliia Zhekova / Shutterstock

If you can only do one thing, adding new hardware in a kitchen with very dated drawer pulls will do wonders. Just picking a beautiful antiqued bronze style or modern sleek chrome can completely change the vibe of your kitchen renovation.

What you’ll need: 

5. Replace cabinets with drawers.

Kitchen with drawer instead of cabinet
Raisa Suprun / Shutterstock

In some cases, a new set of drawers will serve you even better than cabinets, and having them along the bottom half of your kitchen will look beautiful and modern. Sleek options are available for affordable prices.

What you’ll need: 

6. Splurge on a big-basin farmhouse sink.

Luxury kitchen remodel with farmhouse sink
Breadmaker / Shutterstock

One modern fixture we’re starting to see everywhere is the large basin or two basin porcelain sink. The apron front looks beautiful in a modern bright kitchen remodel, and if you want something that will feel practical and luxurious at once, this is the thing! If you already have a large farmhouse sink, consider adding a more modern faucet with new features.

What you’ll need: 

7. Choose shelves to display antique kitchenware.

Kitchen with cabinet to display antique dishes
@4thwood / Twenty20

If you’ve got stoneware, matching glasses, or other harmonious, beautiful kitchenware, choose to make them a part of your kitchen storage shelves. Not only are they easy to use, but they offer options for seasonal decorating that offers decorative novelty without breaking the bank.

What you’ll need: 

8. Pick an understated, coordinated backsplash.

Kitchen with white tile backsplash
Berkay Demirkan / Shutterstock

Your kitchen backsplash is key to the room’s aesthetic. One dated backsplash can really spoil the look of the kitchen and prompt you to look for kitchen remodel ideas, so look into an understated neutral backsplash. If you prefer, a bold color can also be the perfect option when you’ve already redone the whole kitchen in neutral tones.

What you’ll need: 

9. Add an island for storage.

Modern rustic kitchen with island
Breadmaker / Shutterstock

Some kitchens are just not set up to hold everything a modern home chef needs, instead, focusing on ample floor space. Adding an island to the middle or edge of your kitchen offers a spot to put more of your items, freeing up counter space and keeping everything close at hand.

What you’ll need: 

10. Remove bulky islands for more space.

Modern kitchen with navy cabinets and no island
Anatoli Igolkin_Shutterstock

On the other hand, life without the island might be better if you constantly have to squeeze past fellow cooks. Try removing an island or stand of cabinets and see if having more space is a great trade-off to feel the airy lightness of a modern kitchen in your DIY kitchen remodel, maybe even making room for a breakfast nook.

11. Add a butcher-block countertop for warmth.

Kitchen with butcher block wood counter
FotoHelin / Shutterstock

If you aren’t ready to put in new granite, marble, or laminate countertops, one modern choice that is also economical are butcher-block countertops. Not only do they look nice even after being a bit weathered, but they add the comfortable glow of stained or raw wood.

What you’ll need: 

12. Add bar stools for camaraderie.

Traditional luxury kitchen with island and barstools
Breadmaker / Shutterstock

If you have a bar or other medium-high countertop in your kitchen, see what it’d be like to add bar stools. They are a great fit for drawing people to spend time near the kitchen without getting in the way, and are especially nice if there’s somewhere to tuck them away when not in use.

What you’ll need: 

13. Purchase new stainless-steel appliances.

Modern kitchen remodel with stainless steel appliances
karamysh / Shutterstock

If you’re overdue for a new appliance, see what is available for a bargain in stainless steel. This style is one of the most modern looks in appliances these days, and can add a sleek look to any kitchen. Remember, no need to get them all at once, since stainless steel is popular and can be fairly easily coordinated piecemeal.

What you’ll need: 

14. Stow small appliances to prioritize counter space.

Open drawers for storage in kitchen
Archi_Viz / Shutterstock

Toasters, blenders, cutting boards… before long, the countertop is covered! Find or make space for all small appliances so that you can maximize kitchen space. Even if this means adding a hutch or cabinet in a nearby room or closet, make the space to have those beautiful clear counters.

What you’ll need: 

15. Add jars, vases, or bowls for elegance.

Spices on display in glass jars in kitchen for decor
Oksana Shufrych / Shutterstock

No kitchen remodeling budget to speak of? You can still spruce it up! A visit to a local thrift store or big box store can yield inexpensive and simple jars, vases, or bowls to make the focal point of a shelf, counter, or tabletop. Don’t clutter, just add a little ambiance – vases can easily be storage for wooden spoons and other utensils too!

What you’ll need: 

The bottom line

Your kitchen remodel doesn’t have to have a major overhaul to look just a bit better, brighter, and more contemporary this year. Consider small kitchen remodel ideas or create a priorities list that you can work on as DIY projects throughout the coming year. You don’t have to do everything at once to eventually have some impressive kitchen remodel before and after pictures!

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