Help Jill’s Dark and Quirky Mad Men Kitchen My Kitchen Needs a Makeover!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Jill
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rent or own? Own

Jill’s kitchen is dark, quirky, outdated, and reminiscent of Mad Men‘s 1960s style. We have some suggestions and inspiration photos for Jill and her budget renovation efforts, but we want to hear your thoughts too. It’s our Kitchen Makeover of the week — read on for our ideas and to add your own.

Jill’s Kitchen

What does your kitchen need? We bought our South Philly Row house about a year ago and have made some major changes in the house since then. The kitchen is dark and outdated, but has some quirky old school charm. Every time I watch Mad Men, their appliances look eerily familiar. Because everything is functional, we can’t justify a total overhaul at the moment.

We’ve already converted an abandoned hutch from the basement into an island and added a few updated lights, but it really needs to be brightened and modernized while keeping some of the unique details.

What are your limitations?
• We’d like to keep the appliances. They are in great shape.
• Moderate budget.
• Most of the walls are covered in textured wall paper that we are loath to strip, but it can be done.

A Makeover Recipe

Jill, since you own, your budget is the only limitation to your creativity. This kitchen is so spacious and full of potential, too, so we think you can go a long way with just a few cosmetic improvements. Here are our inspiration notes and a makeover recipe, plus some resources!

Sophisticated Kitchen at Living Etc. This dark-cabinet kitchen reminded us of yours, Jill; with a good complement of white and a touch of glamour, we think your kitchen could achieve a similar effect.
Grasmoor Apartment – The sophisticated yet subtle paint color in Rebekah Sigfrid’s apartment is very inspiring to us. We are not huge fans of really bold color in this kitchen at least; we like more subtle treatments that let the food stand out!

Makeover Recipe:
• Remove the hardware from the cabinets, but otherwise leave them alone. (If removing them would leave unsightly holes, either plug and touch up with wood markers, or leave them on after all.)
• Remove the wallpaper and paint a subtle, light color.
• Install a new lighting fixture over the island — something with a touch of retro glamour to at least nod to this kitchen’s Mad Men roots. We love this faceted glass pendant at West Elm; it’s got the right colors and a great shape. Two hung staggered over the island would be different and beautiful.
• Do add a white subway tile backsplash. The glossy tiles will help reflect back light and make the white counters and dark cabinets stand out.

Suggested Resources:
White subway tiles, various prices at many sources
Rectangle Capiz Pendant, $259 at West Elm
Faceted Glass Penant, $129 at West Elm
• Benjamin Moore Paint – Brushed Aluminum, 1485
• Behr Paint – Ostrich Feather, WN 35

Those are just a few suggestions to start your inspiration process. Please check back in and show us what you do with your kitchen makeover. Readers — what would you do with this kitchen?

(Images: Jill via email; Rebekah Sigfrid via design*sponge; Making It Lovely)

We support our readers with carefully chosen product recommendations to improve life at home. You support us through our independently chosen links, many of which earn us a commission.