15 inspiring kitchen makeovers Transform your kitchen with fresh ideas for color, counters, cabinets, lighting, and more Portland loft: before After downsizing by more than 1,500 square feet, Monique and John Menconi bought a loft in Portland's Pearl District and set out to create a kitchen that could easily accomodate entertaining. Pinterest Portland loft: after In such a tight space, storage was key. Drawers and open shelves were used instead of standard kitchen cabinets to avoid unreachable, wasted back corners. A large table leaves room to entertain and provides another workspace. See more of this loft renovation Inspiring kitchen remodels around the West Retro ranch: The kitchen before The owners of this Arizona home wanted a '60s vibe, but with their own take on it. When they bought the house, the kitchen was retro all right, but lacked much style. See what they did with it next. Retro ranch: The kitchen after Being on a tight budget, the owners of this retro ranch house did most of the rehab work themselves—redoing floors, fixtures, walls, and ceilings—and then decorated with a mix of new and secondhand pieces. The owners found the Silestone quartz countertop online, never seeing it in person. It arrived a perfect fit for the multiuse room. Read more about this retro ranch remodel Before: Creative home renovation The new owners of this 1930's home in Oakland opted for a careful renovation that updated the house but preserved its character. As part of the kitchen makeover, cabinets were replaced using the same footprint; the countertops and walls were resurfaced, appliances updated, and plumbing revamped. See what they did next. Creative renovation In this home renovation, a new island increased counter space and allows for a prep sink beyond the main farmhouse sink. The kitchen cabinet doors were removed: “If a door’s closed,” says homeowner Jamie, “I have a tendency to forget things are there.” To maintain the integrity of the house, the owners had the walls repaired with plaster, not drywall. Fresh, colorful kitchen (before) The goal of this remodel was to transform a bland, U-shaped space into a brighter, more contemporary kitchen where the family could gather and entertain without going beyond the room’s footprint. Fresh, colorful kitchen (after) White Shaker-style cabinet fronts are a bright foil for the vibrant glass-tile backsplash. New niches display cobalt bowls. A two-toned, two-tiered concrete counter -- pale green above and charcoal gray below -- adds sleek style to the work and serving spaces. See more of this colorful kitchen makeover Bright kitchen (before) This kitchen had assets -- well-made cabinets, vintage tile countertops, and a generous layout -- but they were hidden by layers of aged grout, worn paint, scuffed linoleum, and cutesy detailing. Bright kitchen (after) A new island, covered in stainless steel and painted with bright orange auto body paint, makes all the difference. Other fixes included removing the wooden window scallop, replacing the knobs with metal handles, and covering the cabinetry with white marine paint. See more of this bright kitchen remodel How to refinish cabinets Before: Light-filled kitchen makeover Most potential buyers looked at this house and its poorly remodeled kitchen ― a typical galley, cut off from the garden ― and saw big headaches. John Jennings and Sasha Tarnopolsky saw design freedom. Light-filled kitchen makeover Two decisions in this remodel were key: replacing a window at one end of the galley-like space with a glass Dutch door and wrapping three sides of the room with a counter. The counter passes in front of the Dutch door, becoming a breakfast bar; light coming through the door washes the floor and walls. Design: John Jennings and Sasha Tarnopolsky, Dry Design, Los Angeles (323/954-9084, ext. 21) A kitchen for entertaining (before) This 12- x 13-foot kitchen was walled off from the adjacent dining room, which had a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay. A jumble of work surfaces made cooking prep and socializing difficult. A kitchen for entertaining (after) Now it’s a warm and inviting place to cook and hang out with friends. A bigger opening and hardwood floors connect the room with the rest of the house. See more of the makeover on Sunset.com. Beach kitchen (before) The original kitchen in this condemned beach shack in Venice, California, was a cramped, haphazard jumble. The young owners had major budget constraints but believed in finding creative ways to make the most of what they had. Beach kitchen (after) Out went the old mold — and fire-damaged interior walls — and in came space-saving wood cabinets, contemporary fixtures, and lightweight concrete countertops. The owners did most of the work themselves, turning a ruin into a neighborhood showpiece. See more of this beach shack makeover Airy kitchen-living space (before) Before the remodel, this circa-1900 San Francisco home had little connection with the outdoors. Most prospective buyers had walked in, looked around in disbelief, and left. Airy kitchen-living space (after) Light-reflecting flat white paint now covers old paneling. Floor-to-ceiling French doors open an entire wall to the small deck. A wood table and benches mixed with metal dining chairs create a relaxed look. A marble backsplash and wood display shelf make the kitchen handsome enough to entertain in. And the breakfast bay acts as a daylight-catcher that brightens the rest of the kitchen. See more of the makeover on Sunset.com. Before: Tudor update "When this house was built, the kitchen was only a place to work, so it was a small, dark room," says architect-owner William Hefner. "We wanted a kitchen open to a family room, so we put it at the back of the house. The dining room is now where the kitchen used to be." After: Tudor update Now in the kitchen/family room, traditional wainscoting and a coffered ceiling complement contemporary marble counters, glass cabinets, and a stainless steel hood. More: Learn all about this Tudor update Before: Modern farmhouse kitchen The small kitchen had an awkward space for dining and was hidden from the home's main living areas by a closet wall. After: Modern farmhouse kitchen Now a sliding barn door allows the kitchen to be hidden for formal dinner parties and serves as a place to hang holiday greeting cards. More: Get Dutto's tips for a phased remodel Before: Family-friendly kitchen The narrow U-shaped design of the all-white kitchen trapped an oven between the counters. There was barely room for two stools at the counter end. After: Family-friendly kitchen Warren and Jennifer Lloyd turned a cramped alcove into an inviting dining nook by borrowing room from a closet (located opposite the original freestanding counter) and rearranging the appliances. "We gained just 15 square feet, but the kitchen feels triple the size," Jennifer says. More: Learn more about this kitchen makeover Before: Bold kitchen remodel Within the same footprint, this 8½ by 20-foot kitchen changed from cramped and dated to spacious and modern. The designer worked this magic by incorporating areas once hidden from view and using a palette of contemporary materials in tones of red, black, and silver. Bold kitchen remodel The most dramatic transformation in this kitchen took place near the sink and range. The original flat ceiling was removed; now the angled line of the window bay extends upward, borrowing several feet from the former attic. Vertical bands of frosted glass panels set into a wall of cabinets emphasize the room’s newfound height. Stainless steel on the counters is repeated in new appliances. Design: Neil Kelly Design/Build Remodeling, Portland (503/288-7461) Before: Eichler update With a few subtle changes ― done without altering the floor plan or developer Joseph Eichler's basic post-and-beam aesthetic ― architect Anne Phillips transformed this space into something fresh and lively. Eichler kitchen update More light and openness, the latest appliances, and a richer color palette give this kitchen new life while preserving its midcentury-modern character. More: See what makes this kitchen work $30 Makeover (before) When Susan Churcher moved into her 1950s home, she faced a decorating dilemma in the kitchen. It was a dreary space with dated cabinets and dark brown appliances. Long-term plans called for a complete remodel, but what could she do in the interim? $30 Makeover (after) Color was this kitchen's quick fix. $30 worth of paint even spruced up the old appliances, achieving an entirely new look. See more of this budget kitchen makeover Get a head start Research is the first major step in remodeling your kitchen. Gather ideas from your favorite magazines, books, Web sites, and dealer showrooms. Once you have a folder of ideas, it’s time to do a reality check on needs versus desires. See all of the tips on MyHomeIdeas.com.