Kitchen Tour

Before & After: Pink Cabinets Brightened a “Regrettably Neutral” IKEA Kitchen

published Oct 28, 2023
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Old kitchen partly demoed
Credit: Emy Stenudd

Five years ago, when Emy Stenudd and her family moved into their home in Vindeln, Sweden, people thought they were “crazy.” For starters, it needed a full renovation, but it had always been Stenudd’s dream to do a DIY renovation, so she saw it as an exciting opportunity. But there was just one problem — which, of course, led to another.

One of the main rooms in the new home that desperately needed an upgrade was none other than the kitchen. “It was in such bad shape, it almost didn’t work at all,” Stenudd said. “The dishwasher was broken and the stove, too. The flooring needed an update, and it was just not useful.” In addition to the structural issues, the cabinets were a shade of pink they didn’t want to keep.

The couple wanted to keep their costs low, so Stenudd’s partner, Joakim Johansson, demolished the entire original kitchen, added new flooring, put up drywall, built a huge, welcoming island (one of her favorite aspects of the room), and they designed and ordered new IKEA cabinetry. Once everything was installed, it was time to paint the kitchen cabinets

Credit: Emy Stenudd

The couple opted for a light gray-green sage color for the cabinets, but it didn’t quite sit right with them. “At first, I thought that the best thing was to just keep the kitchen as neutral as possible so I wouldn’t regret my choices — but that was the worst thing I did! I regretted it from the second it was done,” Steunudd said about the cabinet color.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love the kitchen’s design, but the paint color didn’t excite her as much as she’d hoped. So, she lived with it for a few years and then asked Johansson if she could repaint the cabinets. Of course, he agreed, and the pair painted the cabinets using bright, vibrant colors to match the rest of the house.

Credit: Emy Stenudd

Before the new pink, the kitchen was stunning but more subdued and neutral, while the rest of their home burst with color. However, with the help of a couple of paint cans, they were able to turn their kitchen into a warm, inviting space — without the help of professionals.

“I’m proud of it because it’s the first kitchen I designed, and it turned out quite well,” Stenudd said. “When we went to IKEA to order it, I got compliments for making it all by myself without help from their kitchen planners. And now, when everything is painted in such lovely colors, it’s even more satisfying!”

To see the rest of their colorful home (including an ingenious kitchen storage hack), visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy