Before & After: A Smart Layout Change Doubles This Kitchen’s Usable Space

published Jul 18, 2021
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Before: Dark kitchen with dark wood cabinets, orange wall, ceiling fan, and mosaic tile backsplash
Credit: Katie

When you move into a new place, it can often take a while before you’re able to take on a hefty renovation thanks to the time and money involved. Homeowner Katie and her family had been in their house for five years without making any major changes to the kitchen, which she says needed a lot of work. “There was minimal storage and no counter space, so a few IKEA trips got us a high table for additional counter space and some storage cabinets,” she says.

Credit: Katie

Even with a couple quick changes, the layout didn’t optimize for functionality, with its lack of counter space and an unused door taking up a portion of the wall that could have been better used in the kitchen.

Credit: Katie

Katie knew she wanted something that worked better for the family, with lots of storage and prep space — but she also knew she couldn’t get there alone. “We knew re-doing the kitchen was not a task we could DIY, so we saved up some money over the years until we were ready to have professionals come in,” she says.

Credit: Katie

Katie brought in a local contractor to take on the reno, which took four weeks in total. They started by removing all the old cabinets, then filled in the old unused door to make more functional wall space. That allowed them to create a larger kitchen without having to actually expand their house.

As far as the new kitchen went, Katie says IKEA had everything on her wishlist. They chose white flat-front cabinets, black countertops, and a new graphic backsplash that complements a quirky wallpapered accent wall.

Credit: Katie

The new cabinets now reach all the way to the ceiling, a smart swap that provides more storage for the family and makes the ceilings look taller, too. The contractor installed new appliances and a new tiled floor, too.

Credit: Katie

Now, the kitchen and the adjoining dining space feel brighter, bigger, and way more organized. “The previous setup always looked messy with the multiple colors, storage, different storage and counter setups,” Katie says. “Now everything is consistent and clean.”

In the end, the wait for their perfect kitchen was well worth it — and helped them craft a new design strategy, too. “We’re really happy with how it turned it out,” Katie says. “It’s made us really think about what we want so rather than purchasing and settling for a new dining table, we waited until something came up that made us say, yes, this is what we want.”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Smart Layout Change Makes This Kitchen’s Cook Space Twice as Big