Kitchen Remodel Before and After + 11 Ideas That Add Value

Inside: Use these kitchen remodeling ideas to add value and lots of function to your home during your kitchen remodel planning phase.

Do you ever get totally hung up on all of the home projects on your to-do list?

I know I sure do. It can make me all sorts of crazy, but the other day I stumbled on photos of what our house looked like when we bought it about 7 years ago, and I’ve got to say that this home has come a really long way, and the DIY kitchen remodel we did awhile back definitely made the biggest difference in the way we live in our home.

From the minute I walked into this house I had a solid vision of what I wanted the kitchen to look and feel like and although this project has been complete for awhile, I have absolutely no regrets about any of the decisions we made during the kitchen remodel.

Kitchen remodels can be really crazy. There’s a ton of second guessing and planning that go into a total kitchen overhaul, which is why I thought I’d share the major changes that added the most value to our home during the process, and more importantly made for a kitchen that functions well and looks beautiful!

DIY kitchen remodel

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The Kitchen Pre-Remodel

Can you even believe that the kitchen below is the same space?!

Like I said, I had a vision for this kitchen from day one, but we actually lived with it like this for about 8 months before taking on this project. Taking the time to live in this space before making any big changes really allowed us to get a feel for how we wanted the kitchen to function and know exactly what changes we wanted to make  — besides getting rid of the obvious ugly.

11 Changes that Added Value and Function to Our Kitchen

before the kitchen remodel


1 | Upper Cabinet Height:

The cabinets that the builder installed in these track homes are ridiculous. Here we have high ceilings with standard height upper cabinets, which is a huge problem because having that horizontal line of the top of the cabinets is a huge visual distraction, not to mention it’s a waste of storage space.

Modern homes typically have higher ceilings and the cabinets should be proportionate to the ceiling height so that it draws your eye up.

Product Sources: White Cabinets -Ikea Grimslov 

white Ikea kitchen cabinets

2 | The Cabinet Color:

This oak color cabinetry is very dated. Going with white cabinets or a darker cabinet color, like walnut, are 2 choices that are timeless. We could’ve painted these, but since we wanted to change the style and the height of the upper cabinets, it was better to replace them all together in our case.

We decided to use 2 different color cabinets: White for the perimeter cabinets and a dark brown for the island cabinets. Again, this added to the custom feel of the kitchen and added interest by breaking things up a bit — not to mention it gave us the opportunity to use 2 different color counter tops too (see #6 below.)

We tied the look together by using the same cabinet pulls on all of the cabinets and used a handy method to install the cabinet hardware. 

And if you’ve been around awhile you’ll probably recognize the white cabinets as the same ones we used to create a built-in in our family room, which the kitchen opens up to.

Product Sources: White Cabinets -Ikea Grimslov  |  Dark Wood Cabinets – Ikea Laxarby  |  Cabinet Pulls – Ikea Lansa

3 | Built-In Oven and Range:

This kitchen has a large footprint and having a built-in oven creates a more seamless look., which definitely goes along with our decor plan. I personally prefer the look of a built-in oven and stovetop, and it’s a way to give your kitchen a bit more custom feel, which always adds value.

Because we entertain a lot, I wanted a double oven, but installing an oven in the same location as the slide in range didn’t allow for that…but you’ll see … I still got 2 ovens!

white Ikea kitchen cabinets

Product Sources: KitchenAid Single Wall Oven  ||  KitchenAid 5 Burner Range  |  Blue Glass Tile  |  Striped Tea Towel  |  Oil and Vinegar Bottles

4 | Adding a Range Hood

Again, if you look at large, high end kitchens the microwave isn’t over the range. Nope, high end kitchens usually have range hoods, because high end homes are all about focal points, and drawing your eye all the way up.

Adding a range hood required us to find a new location for the microwave which ended up being awesome because we also added that second oven I wanted! We ended up taking away a small piece of counter space next to the refrigerator and adding a wall cabinet to house both the microwave and the second oven — see #11 below.

Product Sources: Hood

5 | Adding a Kitchen Island

Why this kitchen wasn’t originally built with a true island is beyond me. It definitely has the space for it, so we made it happen, and it had a huge impact on our kitchen in more ways than one.

Adding a large island provides a ton of prep space, even more storage. Plus it made that large empty space in the middle of the kitchen make sense. Let’s be honest, that way too small cart there was not cutting it. 

The back side of the island is all drawers where we keep our trash cans, everyday serving plates and bowls, Tupperware, and utensils. And the front side, under the breakfast bar wasn’t wasted either. I put 12 inch deep cabinets there where I keep some of the things I don’t use very often, like small appliances, serving dishes, and the kids even have an art cabinet there on the left!

DIY kitchen remodel

Product Sources: bar stools  |  tiered fruit stand  |  Hood  |  Blue Glass Tile  |   Cabinet Pulls – Ikea Lansa  | Pendant Lights

6 | Quartz Counter Tops

Our style is definitely on the modern side so we knew we wanted clean lines and not a lot of pattern on our counter tops. Quartz was the perfect option because unlike granite, you can get almost solid colors without all of the flex and color variation.

We used a dark grey (Ceasarstone, Raven) on the perimeter of the kitchen to contrast the white cabinets, and we used a white quartz that mimics marble (Ceasarstone, Misty Carrera) on the island to contrast the dark cabinets.

modern white kitchen remodel

Product Sources: Countertop – Ceasarstone, Raven  |  Countertop – Ceasarstone, Misty Carrera  |   Cabinet Pulls – Ikea Lansa  |  Blue Glass Tile

7 | Pendant Lighting

Our kitchen was one of the only places in the house that had recessed lights, which we loved, but adding some pendant lights over the island not only created a focal point and added some style, but also added light right where we do the most prep — over the island.

We did hire an electrician for this part because the spots for these lights didn’t already exist. While he was here we also had him make sure that our house was ready for a double oven electricity wise.

do it yourself kitchen remodel

Product Sources: Pendant Lights  |  bar stools  |  tiered fruit stand  |  Hood  |  Blue Glass Tile  |   Cabinet Pulls – Ikea Lansa  |    Faux Palm Leaves

8 | Glass Tile Backsplash

Deciding on a backsplash tile was probably the hardest decision to make. I toyed with the idea of doing a white backsplash tile, but I was really craving just a little bit of color in this space.

But going with a colored tile meant that I’d be stuck with it — eek! In the end we decided to go with a subtle light blue glass tile and I have to say I’m sooooo happy that we did. I’m a fan of all white kitchens, for sure, but for me a little variation and color adds to the welcoming feel I wanted in our kitchen.

RELATED:  5 Tips for Choosing Bathroom Tile

white Ikea kitchen cabinets

Product Sources: Blue Glass Tile  | hello sign – Home Goods  |  White Tray  | Coffee & Tea Canisters – Home Goods/ Target Dollar Spot  | Faux Agave  | Striped Tea Towel


before the kitchen remodel

9 | Adding a Second Oven

Like I mentioned before, having a true double oven wasn’t an option with the configuration of our kitchen —but that doesn’t usually stop this lady from figuring out a way to get things just how I want. We ended up creating a space for the second oven and a new location for our microwave by adding a tall wall cabinet to house the two.

We did have to give up a little bit of counter space to do this, but since we added so much counter space with the island, it was a no brainer. Plus, the little corner this configuration created next to the oven is the perfect spot to hide the toaster and the kid’s lunch boxes when they aren’t in use 🙂

blue glass tile backsplash

Product Sources: KitchenAid Single Wall Oven  ||  KitchenAid 5 Burner Range  |  Microwave  |  Blue Glass Tile 

10 | Laminate Flooring

The flooring on the main floor of our house was something we did before we even moved in. We ripped up the berber carpet and tile entry and replaced it with a wide planked dark laminate wood floor. But knowing we were going to be remodeling the kitchen, we left the (really ugly and dirty) linoleum floor in here.

So to complete the look of the kitchen and to carry the flooring on the main floor throughout the entire space for a really seamless look, we installed the same dark wide planked laminate floor in the kitchen too.

DIY kitchen remodel

11 | A Solution for an Awkward Space

Ok. Take a second and scroll back up to the before photo and check out number 11 there. What is that?

The previous owners had actually put up vertical blinds there to block the hallway on the other side —not cool — and placed a large wall shelf in that little nook —whaaaat!?! But we had other plans. Plans that included an adult beverage fridge — what can I say? We’ve got priorities!

beverage center in the kitchen


So how did we tackle such a big project?

It definitely took a lot of planning.

But once the planning was done and it was time to do the work, we scheduled work days and got to work!

The hardest part of any kitchen remodel is the fact that you have to go without a kitchen!

In order to be without a kitchen for as little time as possible we purchased all of the cabinets from Ikea and built them in our living room before starting demo. We were pretty much building cabinets every evening after work for about a week, but we got really good at it.

We also ordered our appliances and had them waiting in the garage and scheduled both the counter top guys and the electrician for the pendant lights — the only 2 things we hired out for for this remodel. –planning was the key here, and I give you all the tools to plan your own project in the project planning workbook — click the image above to grab yours.

Once we had everything ready to go, we rented a dumpster, got a babysitter, and got to gutting the kitchen. It was really exciting — and tiring.

kitchen remodel before

When everything was cleared out and a little bit of wall damage was fixed, we started installing the cabinets.

Ikea cabinets are much easier to install than you might think! They hang on a rail system, so once you have the rail on the wall, it’s a matter of hanging the cabinets and securing them.

kitchen remodel before

The counter top guys installed the sink so we just had to figure out the plumbing and install the new garbage disposal once they were done.

blue glass tile backsplash

Product Sources: Deep Single Granite Sink  |  Pull Down Faucet

Our kitchen remodel was a huge undertaking, and to be honest we really weren’t sure we could pull it off when we started — it really IS amazing what you can learn by just jumping in and doing it.

Some of our friends thought we were nuts for taking on a project this big, but we couldn’t afford to hire someone to do it. I love how it turned out and even after a few years of living in this kitchen, there isn’t anything I would do differently. It’s the main hub of our home, where our friends and family gather, and where I cook so many meals (and have many-o-glasses-of-wine.)

Shop My Kitchen

Click Each Photo for Sources!





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Kitchen Remodel Before and After + 11 Ideas That Add Value

About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

31 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel Before and After + 11 Ideas That Add Value

  1. Jay Jorgenson says:

    My wife wants to remodel our kitchen. I like how you mentioned adding a kitchen island to provide plenty of prep space and storage. Thank you for the advice. I’ll share this information with my wife and see if she likes the idea.

  2. Laura Leighty says:

    I love your flooring – what brand of laminate and color did you use? Are you still happy with it?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      We used Bel Air Laminate in Ebony Oak

      The flooring has held up wonderfully though kids and dogs. Doesn’t dent or show scratches. My only complaint is that the dark color shows all the dust and dog hair, but at the same time it hides dirt.

  3. Tawnya says:

    I love it all and cant wait to tackle our kitchen. Can you give me an idea of how long it took you to finish?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Tawnya, from demo to completion it took about 5 weeks but we were working on it around my husband’s full time job. Excited to see how your kitchen turns out!

  4. Joy Butler says:

    It’s awesome that this article talked about kitchen remodeling to add more value to it. My sister is planning to renovate her kitchen so she can add a range hood and 3 more cabinets. I am not sure if the flooring is included, however, I will show this article to her as it may help her.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Best wishes for your sister’s renovation, Joy!

  5. Daniela from Sukhi says:

    The tip with the second oven is the one that I liked the most. One is never enough for a big family! 🙂

  6. Toni says:

    Love your diy island! Did you have to add anything to the sides to disguise the space between cabinets?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Toni! Not necessarily. We have counter depth drawers on one side and the 12 inch cabinets on the other side and at the end of each we used the IKEA end pieces to give them a finished look. There is a small seam but because we attached the backs of the cabinets together the seam is really tight and not noticeable.

  7. Amy says:

    What color paint did you use on the walls? I couldn’t find that info in your post. Thanks!!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Amy, great question! It’s Requisite Gray by Sherwin Williams. You’ll find more information about my whole house paint colors on this post.

  8. It’s lovely. This is such an amazing transformation. Thanks for sharing this post.

  9. Pam says:

    Your transformed kitchen is gorgeous, so light and airy looking.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks so much Pam!

  10. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    Love your kitchen! If I am ever allowed to re-do my kitchen, I will be stealing so many ideas from your kitchen! Since I live on an actual farm, there will not be a dark floor or counter (amazing how the dust shows so very well on them), but I would love to work in so many of your ideas. I will definitely have to check out Ikea cabinets! Your counter tops are fab and your backspash is the one I have been coveting!!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hey Susan, steal to your heart’s content! We’re here to help each other! Good luck!

  11. Connie says:

    Thank you, You just dont how much of a heaven scent uou to me right now.we are just fixing to redo our living room floor and do so painting so keep you fingers crossed and say a little prayer for us that this goes off with out a hitch and Bless you dear lady.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I’m so glad you found inspiration here, Connie!


    Beautiful colors and I just love it all, you guys did a great job : )

    1. Corey Willis says:

      It was a lot of work but soooo worth it! Thanks Jeanne!

  13. Michelle says:

    Beautiful transformation!!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thank you Michelle!!

  14. Candy Walsh says:

    Ya’ll did an amazing job! It looks perfect and I love the backsplash ❤️

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I love it too Candy; thanks for the high-five!

  15. Kimber says:

    Thanks for posting your remodel. Can you give us a rough budget for what you did and how much you saved/think you saved by doing the work yourself? Appreciate it!

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Hi Kimber! We spent about 22K total in the end but I would guess that we saved at least 10K in labor by doing it ourselves. My parents did a similar kitchen remodel around the same time (alos using Ikea cabinets and getting new appliances) and it was closer to 35K because they hired out for it.

  16. Sally Nesser says:

    This was a great and very clear break down of taking on a kitchen remodel. Bravo Corey!!! You got it all perfect too!! I am going to forward it on to my daughter who has been milling a kitchen redo for long time.

    1. Corey Willis says:

      Thanks Sally and big bunches of luck to you daughter! She can do this!

  17. Cathleen says:

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Your kitchen and all the things you’ve done with your house. It’s so bright and airy. Quick question for you . . . I have dark wood laminate floors in my house which I adore but I’m Swiffering a million times a day. They show every speck of dust and dog hair. Any suggestions?

    1. Corey Willis says:

      I sure do Cathleen! I’ve got the same crumb-showing issue as you and I’ve got a favorite go-to tool that I wrote about here

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