BEFORE: Cloaked in Darkness
A painted backsplash, speckled laminate countertops, and an overabundance of cabinets trimmed in jarring forest green made this all-black kitchen the black sheep of the home.
AFTER: Light and Airy
Ceiling-to-counter marble subway tile, milk-white cabinets, and a butcher-block countertop lighten the mood in this makeover. Two overhead cabinets were replaced by open shelves that bring an airy quality to the space while keeping essentials at hand. (Cost: $2,106; after appliances: $4,552)
BEFORE: Unreachable Heights
Their dingy hue aside, the sky-high upper-level cabinetry in this kitchen left the homeowner without accessible storage to relieve countertop clutter and cutlery chaos.
AFTER: Down to Earth
Floating shelves alongside the microwave shelter cookware, while open shelving above provides a decorative alcove that breaks up the bank of cabinets. The wall-mounted magnetic knife holder corrals loose cutlery, freeing up the new butcher-block countertop for prep work. (Cost: $1,600; after appliances: $3,700)
BEFORE: Past Its Primer
With the grease-stained paint, awkward drop ceiling, weathered wooden cabinets, and tarnished linoleum floor bleeding style by the minute, it was time to perform first aid on this kitchen emergency.
AFTER: Artful Revival
Now that the drop ceiling is a thing of the past, color-coordinated walls, molding, doors, and cabinetry pop crisply against an airy, matte white backdrop. The vinyl composition tile flooring and subway tile backsplash add an urban counterpoint to the rustic wooden countertop. (Cost: $1,230.74)
BEFORE: Pasty Pastels
These homeowners were anything but peachy keen on their kitchen’s snooze-worthy, 1970s-inspired color scheme, homely pantry door, and lack of a central surface to gather around.
AFTER: Cool Cucumber
The kitchen reawakens with serene cucumber paint, a peppy blue tile backsplash, open cabinets, and a butcher-block island that encourages lively conversation. The chalkboard pantry door makes preparing grocery lists a treat. (Cost: $3,500)
BEFORE: Wooden Personality
This shabby-chic kitchen dated back to the 1960s, and its wall-to-wall wooden cabinetry and chintzy floor certainly reflected that bygone era.
Related: 15 House Features We Were Wrong to Abandon
AFTER: Mix-and-Match Vitality
Refaced cabinets and drawers adorned with nickel knobs and handles preside over a faux-marble countertop, an asymmetrically patterned floor, and a new era of modernity in this kitchen. A pendant light above the vaulted sink bears an aqua strip for vintage charm. (Cost: $4,600; after appliances: $10,100)
BEFORE: Cold Reception
A sweeping expanse of builder's-grade cabinetry and cold vinyl flooring subtracted space and ambiance from the tight quarters of this uninspiring kitchen.
AFTER: Farm to Kitchen
White-painted cabinetry, a concrete countertop, and a faux-bois floor evoke a cozy, farmhouse feel. Using wooden floating shelves in lieu of cabinets opens up the cramped corner, while a caged pendant light and a subway tile backsplash add an industrial-chic finish. (Cost: $2,380; after appliances: $4,880)
BEFORE: Didn't Bet the Ranch
These homeowners had little desire to wrestle with the broken faucet, holey cabinets, and chipping tile counters in their 1980s ranch-style kitchen.
AFTER: Modern Retrofit
After a thoughtful demolition, the homeowners opted for a sturdy wooden countertop to replace its tile predecessor. Caulked and painted cabinets, a beadboard backsplash, and a new faucet and sink spout style above a fashionable sink skirt. (Cost: $1,143: after appliances: $1,165)
BEFORE: Crash and Burnt Sienna
Outdated lighting fixtures, a bland, blond floor, and harsh burnt sienna walls and cabinets left these homeowners with a bitter aftertaste.
AFTER: Majestic Gradients
About 90 percent of this regal renovation was accomplished with paint alone. Baby blue walls, light gray cabinets, and a dark gray backsplash and island cabinetry soothe the senses, while square-stenciled floors and industrial lights lend modern sophistication. (Cost: $700)
BEFORE: Checked Out
A soiled checkerboard floor, sagging ceiling tiles, faded paint, and an unhinged cabinet door left these homeowners unhinged over their kitschy, 1950s-style kitchen.
AFTER: Solid Foundation
Chipped floor tiles were removed to reveal the wood beneath, which was then refinished and adorned with a saddle blanket for a colorful contrast with the freshly coated ivory walls and updated cabinet hardware. Caged pendant lights hang from a modern geometric ceiling to complete this head-to-toe makeover that didn't cost an arm and a leg. (Cost: $390.91)
BEFORE: Close Encounters
Claustrophobia reigned in this cluttered kitchen, with gadgets, cooking utensils, and cookware covering nearly every inch of the room's horizontal surfaces. Meanwhile, laminate countertops, gloomy pendant lights, and cabinetry that obliterated an old window robbed the space of sunshine.
AFTER: Zen Kitchen
Good feng shui is restored now that the window is cut back into the wall and open shelves supplant the old, monolithic cabinetry. With a new butcher-block counter, cozy jar lights, and a Julia Child-inspired pegboard pot rack, the homeowners can again experience the joy of cooking. (Cost: $699)
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!