New Ideas for Kitchen Makeovers

Kitchens... we all want them and need them, but many of we first-time buyers won't get the perfect, ideal version in our first home. That doesn't mean we'll just have to eat out a lot. Actually, kitchen makeovers are fun. You can go big or small-- rehab the whole space or just sub in a new appliance. No need to do it all at once, either. Your taste and needs will probably change with time, so take that time, and enjoy the process as you grow into your home.

Today we offer ideas-- some of them quite new-- to get your started on the kichen you've always wanted. 

The Cramped, Linear Kitchen

You've seen these: kitchens built into a single line across one wall of a house offering little space, not a lot of storage, nowhere to chop the veggies, and no dishwasher. These all could be laments of first-time buyers with a less than perfect kitchen, but particularlyso with this relentlessly linear design we find in many American homes. Here's a typical example: this "before" picture, via HGTV.

Kitchen before and after

In the "after" photo below, note fun lighting adding a warm, friendly glow; glass tiles used as a  backsplash that adds sparkle and a feeling of more space; and the island/table in the middle of the room, which cooks could use to prep food-- or enjoy eating it. (Full information on remodel via HGTV.) And look: there is room for a dishwasher, something I can tell you from personal experience is a true joy and wonder after years of living in rentals without one. Today's dishwashers are smaller, more energy and water efficient, and come in an almost overwhelming array of colors. Go crazy!

Open Kitchens vs Closed Kitchens

Many new homeowners look forward to entertaining friends and sharing family meals, but if not blessed with an open floorplan, they may find it difficult to enjoy themselves while doing so. Older kitchens (and even sometimes those in less imaginative new construction) are often closed off, tucked away from the rest of the house, forcing the cook to remove him or herself from the fun. Being a lonely chef isn't anwhere near as satisfying as cooking with your guests-- or with your family-- talking, sampling food, and generally enjoying your time together.

Enter open kitchens. Here is a striking example, one that allows cooking, eating, living and entertaining to merge into one grand space. Photo: CDN Home The space is clearly loft-like, but if you're not afraid to knock out a few walls (or hire someone to do it for you), you too might achieve a similar effect.

Fridges that are Doubly Cool

Appliances get a lot of attention in kitchen remodels, and refrigerators are no exception. The choices, truly, abound.

Like the cutting edge? A stainless steel fridge is not your only option these days for a modern look. Check out this glass version. I like to imagine how clean and organized such an appliance would force me to be. Photo via

Glass door refridgerator

Also organizing (and cool looking!) is a chalkboard fridge. You can paint this material right onto an existing appliance. Learn how at Apartment

Chalkboard Fridge

Unusual, Sustainable Materials

Whatever you're remodeling, consider green options which not only save you money and help save the planet, but often look amazingly unique. This example, also from Apartment Therapy, shows how an enterprising couple remade their tiny ktichen using vibrantly painted cork floors and cabinets crafted from wine shipping crates. And yes, it's a DIY project!

small kitchen remodel

The point of this blog: inspiration. You may have found the home you want, perfect in all ways except for the kitchen. But that's a blessing. Now you can make it yours, personal and special to your tastes, needs, and budget. 

More Ideas

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert