Refurbishing a small kitchen can make a huge difference in the functionality and aesthetic of the space. With clever design solutions and creative storage ideas, even the tiniest kitchens can be transformed into beautiful, efficient cook spaces. Here we will look at 11 stunning before and after small kitchen remodels for inspiration.
Choosing the Right Layout for a Small Kitchen
When remodeling a small kitchen, layout is key. The basic work triangle concept of keeping the main tasks of food prep, cooking, and cleanup within close reach is especially critical. Here are some effective small kitchen layouts to consider:
Single Galley Layout
This simple single-file layout is great for maximizing limited space. Position cabinets, appliances, and counters along one wall and include a peninsula or island to add surface area. This creates a compact workflow.
An L-shaped layout makes good use of corner space, with counters along two adjacent walls. The peninsula can separate cooking and cleanup zones. This layout offers two work zones.
A U-shaped layout provides three work stations along three walls. This creates an efficient triangle workflow while enclosing the space. The open end can accommodate a table or island.
Similar to a U-shaped layout, the G-shaped kitchen adds even more versatility by extending one leg of the U for additional counters and storage. An island can fill in the open middle space.
11 Small Kitchen Remodel Before and Afters
Here are 11 stunning small kitchen remodels to provide inspiration for your own project.
1. Bright and Airy Cottage Kitchen
This dated, cramped cottage kitchen was opened up with contemporary white cabinetry and counters, creating a fresh, spacious look and feel. Large windows flood the space with natural light. Open shelves provide accessible storage.
Before: The old-fashioned wood cabinetry and busy floor tile gave the small space a cluttered look. Poor lighting and ventilation made the kitchen feel dark and closed in.
After: The white Shaker-style cabinets mixed with open shelving give this kitchen an airy, uncluttered aesthetic. Pendant lights, a skylight, and large windows make it bright and cheery. The light floor tile helps reflect light.
2. Modern Farmhouse Kitchen
This small, dated kitchen was adapted into a charming modern farmhouse style. Timeless white cabinetry and wood countertops lend a fresh, contemporary cottage look while maintaining the farmhouse vibe.
Before: The existing layout was awkward and inefficient. Dated oak cabinets, beige tile counters, and worn laminate flooring had seen better days. The peninsula wasted space.
After: Removing the peninsula opened up space for a sleek white Shaker-style cabinetry with new quartz countertops. Wood shelving and accents add warmth. New efficient appliances, pendant lighting, and tile flooring finish the updated look.
3. Minimalist White Kitchen
This cramped, closed-off kitchen was opened up and bathed in natural light with a crisp, minimalist remodel featuring sleek white cabinetry and light oak floors. The space feels serene and uncluttered.
Before: With dated mahogany cabinets and black and white tile floor, the small kitchen felt dark and choppy. The awkward peninsula wasted space and blocked light.
After: Knocking down walls opened up the space. The minimalist glossy white cabinetry, quartz counters, and light wood flooring create an airy, seamless look. Large windows and a garden window flood the space with natural light.
4. Contemporary Cottage Kitchen
This outdated kitchen and adjacent laundry room were combined into one efficient, contemporary cottage-chic space with a clean, uncluttered look. White shaker cabinets and light counters reflect light.
Before: The laundry room and small, cramped kitchen were closed off from each other and the rest of the home. Both spaces were inefficient and outdated.
After: By combining the two rooms and giving the space a contemporary makeover, it is now defined by its airy, open feel. White Shaker cabinets, marble counters, and a large porcelain sink give it a fresh new aesthetic.
5. Rustic Farmhouse Kitchen
Traditional meets modern farmhouse in this new rustic kitchen, bathed in natural light. Crisp white cabinetry combined with open shelving and a large porcelain farmhouse sink creates a light, uncluttered look and feel.
Before: The closed-off galley kitchen had dated oak cabinets and worn laminate counters. Poor lighting and ventilation made the small space feel dark and cramped.
After: Tearing down the wall to open up the space establishes an airy, modern farmhouse vibe. White shaker cabinets, marble counters, and oak shelves provide rustic contrast. Large windows and a skylight flood the kitchen with natural light.
6. Scandinavian-Inspired Kitchen
This boring, cramped kitchen was radically transformed into a bright, efficient Scandinavian-inspired space. White shaker cabinetry reflects light while the accent wall and open shelving provide warmth.
Before: Enclosed on three sides with poor lighting, this small kitchen felt dark and confined despite its busy oak cabinetry and patterned floors.
After: By opening up the space and giving it a Scandinavian inspired redesign, this kitchen is now defined by its bright, minimalist look. Crisp white cabinetry, light wood accents, and accent wall work together to create an airy, uncluttered aesthetic.
7. Contemporary Coastal Kitchen
A dated, inefficient galley kitchen got a contemporary makeover with a coastal vibe. Crisp white shaker cabinetry, beadboard paneling, and accent tiles establish the beachy look.
Before: The cramped galley setup with oak cabinetry and neon backsplash felt disjointed and closed-off. Poor lighting left the space dark.
After: Opening up the space and using white shaker cabinetry, coastal blue tile accents, marble counters, and beadboard paneling transforms this kitchen into a light, efficient coastal retreat. Pendant lighting brightens up the space.
8. Modern Industrial Kitchen
The homeowners personalized their small, closed-off kitchen with a trendy industrial look using exposed ductwork, concrete counters, and metal accents. This remodel opened up the space visually.
Before: Enclosed on three sides, the dated kitchen felt dark and cramped. The awkward layout wasted space.
After: By knocking down walls and giving the space an industrial edge with concrete counters, exposed ductwork, and metal accents, the small kitchen is now defined by its modern, trendy aesthetic.
9. Contemporary Galley Kitchen
This outdated galley kitchen was opened up and completely transformed with contemporary styling. A clean, streamlined look was created using glossy cabinetry, marble counters, and stainless steel appliances.
Before: The narrow galley kitchen was disjointed and closed off from the rest of the home. Dated oak cabinets and worn laminate floors had seen better days.
After: By opening up the kitchen to the living space, the galley layout is better utilized. Sleek white lacquer cabinetry, marble slab counters, mosaic backsplash, and stainless appliances give this kitchen a luxurious, contemporary look and feel.
10. Open Concept Kitchen/Dining
This closed-off kitchen was opened up to an existing dining room, creating an airy open-concept kitchen/dining space. The white shaker cabinetry provides a clean, updated look.
Before: The small outdated kitchen felt cramped and closed off from the rest of the home. Mismatched cabinetry and worn counters had seen better days.
After: Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room really opened up the space. The area takes on an airy, open feel with the clean white shaker cabinetry and light granite countertops reflecting light. Pendant lighting adds warmth.
11. Craftsman Style Kitchen
This poorly laid out kitchen was adapted to better suit a Craftsman style home with beadboard cabinetry, granite counters, and a farmhouse sink. Removing walls opened up the space.
Before: Enclosed on three sides, the space was cramped and inefficient. The peninsula wasted space and blocked light.
After: Knocking down walls opened up the kitchen to natural light. White beadboard cabinetry, granite counters, and a farmhouse sink establish the craftsman look. Pendant lighting warms up the space.
Tips for Remodeling a Small Kitchen
Remodeling a small kitchen presents unique challenges. Here are some helpful tips:
- Consider layout options – Evaluate different configurations to find the most efficient workflow.
- Remove walls & doors – Knocking down walls can really open up a space. Removing doors to adjacent rooms also helps.
- Add windows and skylights – Maximize natural light with large windows, bay windows or garden windows. Skylights are great for interior spaces.
- Use reflective surfaces – Glass cabinet doors, mirrored backsplashes, and light-colored countertops help reflect light.
- Incorporate multifunctional fixtures – Tables with storage, cabinetry with built-in seating, etc.
- Add shelving – Open shelving provides accessible storage while keeping things light.
- Use glass cabinet doors – Glass doors keep everything visible while retaining a light, airy look.
- Include hidden storage – Pull-out shelving, hidden drawers, and blind corner cabinets increase storage.
- Use space-saving appliances – Compact appliances like slim dishwashers, microwave drawers, and mini fridges save space.
With careful planning and clever design, even the smallest kitchen can be optimized for efficiency and style. These small kitchen remodels demonstrate how transformative renovating can be. With an updated layout, light finishes, and multifunctional elements, a cramped, dated kitchen can become a beautiful gathering space tailored to your needs and style.