Before and After: A Bland Kitchen’s Exciting Redo Features One of 2023’s Hottest Colors

published May 19, 2023
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White kitchen with neutral color cabinets before renovation.

At the end of 2022, Apartment Therapy asked designers to predict the trends that would be everywhere in 2023. One of the big ones? Color, and lots of it — especially in the kitchen. White kitchens will probably always be a classic look, but if you’re looking around your neutral cook space and thinking about making a change, this kitchen redo is for you.

Designer Sean Lewis of Airy Kitchens started with almost as blank of a slate as you can get in this kitchen, belonging to clients who had recently relocated to be closer to their kids and grandkids. The kitchen they started out with was pretty dated, with an uninspiring color scheme of gray and white. Plus, it wasn’t functional — the couple wanted to be able to gather with family in their kitchen, and the cramped layout just didn’t allow for it.

As part of a larger renovation that also included updating another bathroom and a laundry room, Sean stepped in to give the couple their dream kitchen. That involved enlarging the kitchen with an addition to the house, opening it to the dining space, and creating a more functional layout.

The addition required the window in the kitchen to be replaced and slightly relocated, Sean says, but the kitchen still feels plenty bright thanks to a cheerful color palette of sage green (Sherwin-Williams’s Clary Sage) and buttery yellow. The beautiful patterned wallpaper, adorned with birds and flowers, doesn’t hurt, either. While the cabinets themselves have a simple and classic Shaker-front design, they’re anything but basic thanks to the leaded glass inserts that adorn the top row; Sean commissioned them from a local stained glass maker. The pattern echoes the shape of the backsplash tile below. “The backsplash tile and matching leaded glass cabinets are our favorite things!” Sean says.

The expansion of the kitchen allowed Sean to sneak in a large island, which provides lots more space for food prep as well as some extra room for counter seating. Creating enough square footage to make the new kitchen layout possible is not a project for the faint of heart, Sean notes. “Home additions will take longer than expected,” he says — and as a designer, he certainly has the experience to back that up. For anyone taking on a project of this size, he advises, “have patience and keep a good relationship with your contractors.”

Another highlight of the kitchen is right around the corner, where the fridge used to be. Now, it features a hutch in a sunshine-y golden color (Sherwin-Williams’s Bee’s Wax). The piece provides tons of practical storage, and its freestanding furniture look complements the rest of the kitchen’s cottagey vibe. 

The kitchen now strikes just the balance Sean’s clients were hoping for. “The whole space is open, colorful, and highly functional,” he says.

(Still feeling color shy? Check out these 16 colorful kitchens before beginning your next redo.)

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Bland Kitchen’s Vibrant Redo Features One of 2023’s Hottest Colors