15 kitchen makeover ideas – to add instant personality to your space

These kitchen makeover ideas will up the wow factor in your space for sure...

Kitchen makeover before and after
(Image credit: @lifeatstaustell)

Looking for simple kitchen makeover ideas that will give you space a new look quickly and cheaply? Well your search is over. We believe that yes, while a kitchen should be functional, it is the heart of the home, so it should represent the people who live there and it shouldn't take a whole kitchen remodel to do this!

We have rounded up some really quick and easy DIY kitchen makeovers that prove all you need to make your kitchen feel new in imagination (and some paint). So keep scrolling for loads of inspiring space and be sure to check out our kitchen ideas feature for even more. 

1. Turn a dull kitchen transformed into a colourful masterpiece

Tilly of @tillyattwentysix has totally changed her dated, basic, oh let's just say it, boring inherited kitchen into a colourful masterpiece. Would you believe this is exactly the same kitchen?!

We love how colourful it now is, all done with just paint too. Tilly started by painting the current kitchen cupboards doors (we have a guide to painting kitchen cabinets if you need it) and replacing all the hardware with gorgeous gold ones. Then she replaced the tiles with these lovely pink metro ones, they look so fab with the dark green – again tiling a kitchen splashback it totally something you can do your self. 

Swipe to see the before!

2. Go for a quick kitchen makeover with bold kitchen tiles

colourful splashback in old home with butler's sink

(Image credit: Perrin & Rowe)

Inject personality into your space using wall or kitchen floor tiles in your favourite colour or pattern. If you have gone for a strong pattern on the walls, keep the worktops and units simple. The same applies for shiny and matt: always put a high-shine surface next to a matt one to prevent it looking too over the top.

Patterned, tiled floors make a very strong focal point, but if a full wall or floor pattern is too much, a splashback takes up little room and still adds character, plus it’s a more affordable solution. 

We've got a load of kitchen splashback ideas for inspiration, so go and have a read. 

3. Upcycle your kitchen using just paint

Kitchen makeover

(Image credit: @lifeatstaustell)

OMG, that colour combination! Who knew olive green and blush pink would look so amazing together? We are definitely going to be trying out this duo in the future. 

Ellie of @lifeatstaustell has totally transformed her kitchen using pretty much just paint. She began by peeling the shiny vinyl off the cabinets (if you are lucky you will be able to do this, if not just give them a sand down) and then painted them with primer. Then going over with a few coats of this gorgeous olive green which is Green 05 by Lick.  

And those fabulous tiles! They are just the originals painted with Frenchic's Ballerina and the stars were added on top using DIY stencils made from Ellie's save the date cards, but you can find loads similar on Etsy. If you want to give painting tiles a go yourself, we have a step by step guide to help. 

4. Make a feature of the dining table

Pendant light ideas: monochrome dining room with black table and metal chairs, a mix of black pendant lights at various heights, a white-painted brick wall and a white hide rug beneath

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer © Future)

A table is a fantastic starting point for a quick kitchen makeover. If you already have a gorgeous dining table, factor it into your layout from the start. It is important to ensure your kitchen designer knows what your table looks like and how big it is.

A good design should work with the style of the table, so try highlighting the material or colour with new cabinetry or worktops – or even your kitchen window dressings. If your furniture is timber, think carefully about other woods used and keep the number of wood finishes to a maximum of two per room.

Further highlight and make a focal point of the table with attractive, low-hung pendant lighting and good looking dining chairs. A carefully mis-matched set of chairs can look amazing – as can cheaply-bought chairs that can be painted (find out how to paint furniture in our guide).

If you need some tips when it comes to buying a dining table, we've got you covered. We've rounded up our favourite contemporary dining tables and traditional dining tables, so you can easily find something to match your style and budget. 

5. Add some texture with DIY wooden units

This gorgeous boho kitchen makeover was mostly achieved with just a can of French Chic Al Fresco paint! Obviously the gorgeous styling has helped with this revamp too. The open shelves, the fab rug, the prints and the houseplants all add to the boho look. 

You might notice the wooden panelling at the end of the units too. That was also a really nifty DIY job that would be easy to copy. Simply take timber planks and cut them to fit the end of your unit, nail them into place, checking that the nails go into the sides of the joints of the cupboards. You can varnish them to get a tone that suits your kitchen or paint them in a colour to add a bit of a feature. 

6. Introduce eye-catching kitchen lighting

Copper pendant lights from Pooky

(Image credit: Pooky)

One of the easiest ways to start a kitchen makeover is with really handsome kitchen lighting. As the kitchen is now a multi-functional, family space, it’s important to layer practical task lighting with decorative ambient lighting. Overhead lighting is necessary, but not atmospheric, so add low pendants and wall lights where possible.

Visit high street stores, lighting specialists, antique fairs and reclamation yards to find your perfect style. Remember, pendant lights don’t have to be overly practical, so long as you factor in task lighting elsewhere, so go for something that looks great and makes you smile. Either highlight the colour or material elsewhere in the kitchen design, or choose contrasting finishes for a unique look.

If you need more inspiration head over to our feature on kitchen lighting ideas

7. Work with existing kitchen furniture

antique retro kitchen cabinet with glass door

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

You may have a treasured freestanding cabinet or bookcase that you’ve inherited or brought from a previous home. Mixing freestanding kitchen furniture and vintage kitchen cabinets with fitted units can create a bespoke look. The trick to incorporating old and new units is to keep them on opposite walls.

For a colour accent, try upcycling a salvaged find in a contrasting shade to the fitted furniture: a simple white kitchen would look lovely with a dresser in dark charcoal or vibrant yellow. Keep an eye on local auctions and markets for one-off pieces.

If your vintage finds are in need of a bit of an update, two words – Chalk. Paint. Literally is there anything a lick of that stuff can't solve? Go and have a read of our guide to painting furniture just so you know what you are doing. 

8. Make a feature of a breakfast bar 

Here she is 🙌🏻 Hope you love it as much as I do!💗I’ve worked all week but it’s finally done! I’m so so happy with the end result. The kitchen now feels like part of the house 💗✨ • I’d been planning the whole thing since I was last off in May so have been ordering everything I’d need in advance. • I’ve taken massive inspiration from a few accounts on here that have made me believe I could make it a room that I loved! @thisenglishhome for her amazing full kitchen makeover she did recently (I am determined to spray paint my sink in the near future)💕 @theaccountantandroofer for the idea of using the wooden batons and @edwardian_love for making a feature out of the breakfast bar with them😍 and finally @mishkashoe and @lifeatstaustell for the vinyl and beautiful kitchen makeovers they’ve both completed 💕 So thanks everyone 💕 • Colour F&B Greensmoke zinsser base matched by @decoratingcentreonline • Wooden battens from @wickes • Vinyl for worktops @vinylwarehouse.co.uk • • • @pimpupmypad #pimpupmypad #beforeandafter #kitchenmakeover #kitchentransformation #budgetkitchenmakeover #myhousebeautiful #dailydecordetail #mydailyhomesquare #homesohard #showusurgaff #letterboxhome #decodwelling #myspaceanddecor #myseasonalstyling #styleitreal #myinteriorsquares #myinteriorstyle #periodhomesofinsta #myperiodinterior #myperiodhomestyle #myrenostory #therenovationcommunity #yourdiyhomes #dailyhomeshare #mydailyrenovation HomeatVictoriaRoad | Natalie

A photo posted by @homeatvictoriaroad on Jun 28, 2020 at 10:00am PDT

Everyone seems to be loving the green paint for a kitchen makeover right? This super cool kitchen was transformed by @homeatvictoriaroad using Farrow & Ball's Green Smoke. We also love what has been done with the breakfast bar, the stripes were created using just wooden battens – very creative and adds a focal point to the space too. The worktops are covered in a marble vinyl, a favourite amongst DIYers, and really easy to stick over the top of any tired surface.

9. Highlight a favourite pattern or colour

Vanessa Arbuthnott fabric and wallpapers lining shelves

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Do you have a favourite painting or fabric that could be a starting point for your kitchen makeover? Nothing needs to exactly match, but should be able to sit comfortably in the same room.

Keep a small swatch of the fabric or a photo of the artwork with you when you visit showrooms and check it against fixtures, such as worktops or splashbacks, to see if the combination looks good. Even if the fabric is going to be on a small blind or a window seat, it’s important to ensure it will work.

10. Add colour for an easy kitchen makeover

Another brown kitchen transformed into something marvellous by @life.of.moo. Pale pink is definitely having a moment right now, so we say go for it and paint your whole kitchen in this stylish shade, no need to worry that it will date because you can just paint over it further down the line. 

Replacing your kitchen hardware makes a huge difference too, we love how the black handles look with the pink. And again, trusty vinyl has been used here to cover the old worktops but this time in an insanely realistic looking wood effect from Create Your World.

11. Put colour and pattern or texture at the windows

Persimmon patterned kitchen blinds from Hillarys

(Image credit: Hillarys)

If your kitchen cabinets are a muted colour (and who can blame you, they're easy to redecorate around and will be popular with future buyers), your floors are neutral (ditto) and you've chosen a splashback to match, you can still add colour and pattern with fabulous kitchen window dressings, such as kitchen blinds, or colour and texture with shutters.

12. Curate your own art collection

The kitchen floor has 3D-effect patterned tiles, which contrast with the pale pink of the walls

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

If you're planning an open plan kitchen, diner and living space, it's likely you'll have plenty of wall space not taken up by kitchen cabinets. So, curate your own art collection, making it a bright and cheerful grouping of your favourite things. Find out how to display photos and pictures to perfection and how to create a gallery wall for instant personality.

13. Add greenery with house plants

Vanessa Arbuthnott orange kitchen blinds

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Creating an indoor garden is a super easy way to transform a kitchen. Choose trailing plants for high shelves, spiky plants for kitchen work surfaces, low-growing succulents for the dining table, and a large, leafy house plant for an empty corner. You can't go wrong with the most popular common house plants – especially if you know the best indoor plants to buy with help from our handy guide.

14. Throw down a kitchen rug

Open plan living space with high ceilings

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

If you've got a living space within your kitchen, a rug's a no-brainer. But putting a rug within the kitchen area – either beneath the dining table or along the length of galley units – is right on trend. Ensure you choose one that can stand up to the wear and tear it will face in a kitchen. Indoor-outdoor rugs are a good option or something similar to the one used here in jute.

15. Wallpaper the kitchen for added interest

Wallpaper in kitchen by Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Putting a statement wallpaper on a wall or two in your kitchen will give it instant character and make for a really homely appeal. Pick large repeat patterns for a more contemporary feel to complement streamlined or modern cabinetry or to create a boho feel in a vintage kitchen; smaller or ditsy prints suit more traditional style kitchens, such as Shaker-style rooms. 

Use our kitchen wallpaper design ideas gallery to inspire your scheme.

More ways to pep up your kitchen:

Lucy Searle

Lucy is Global Editor-in-Chief of Homes & Gardens having worked on numerous interiors and property titles. She was founding Editor of Channel 4’s 4Homes magazine, was Associate Editor at Ideal Home, before becoming Editor-in-Chief of Realhomes.com in 2018 then moving to Homes & Gardens in 2021. She has also written for Huffington Post, AOL, UKTV, MSN, House Beautiful, Good Homes, and many women’s titles. Find her writing about everything from buying and selling property, self build, DIY, design and consumer issues to gardening.