Whether you’re planning a complete kitchen overhaul or you're just looking for a few quick and easy updates, these creative kitchens are sure to inspire you.
After a hurricane flooded architect Wayne Good's 110-year-old Chesapeake Bay cottage, he seized the opportunity to design
his dream fish camp-style kitchen in just over 150 square feet. The ceiling features repurposed exterior siding that was flipped
to expose the richly worn wood.
Typically used for barn roofing, the kitchen's corrugated material adds authentic farmhouse charm for only about $15 per sheet.
Clean white floors complement the cabinetry and island in this kitchen. A minimal number of upper cabinets keeps the space open. In their place, cantilevered antique chestnut shelves, reminiscent of a ship’s deck, add an organic touch. The shelves display plain white dishware against a wall of deep royal blue tile. The stainless steel appliances and large hanging light fixtures over the island call to mind metal boat fittings.
The builder used aged cypress, salvaged from an old mill, to construct the kitchen cabinets and for facing some of the appliances, such as the icemaker and refrigerator. The reclaimed wood was cut, planed, and then made into cabinetry. A light finish lets the natural grain remain visible.
Creamy antique white on the cabinets pairs with a coffee-bean color on the island in this warm kitchen. The matte finish of the deep brown honed granite countertops perpetuates the aged appearance.
White Shaker-style cabinet fronts are a bright foil for the vibrant glass-tile backsplash. Niches display cobalt bowls. A
two-toned, two-tiered concrete counter -- pale green above and charcoal gray below -- adds sleek style to the work and serving
This homeowner insisted on finding an old piece of furniture for her kitchen island. Something too new would spoil the cottage effect. On the hunt for the perfect antique, she found a weathered white island with a solid wooden top. With two drawers and an open area below, it increases the room's storage. To keep things warm and cozy, the cabinets are painted slate green and topped with a black glaze for an aged look. The black granite countertops feature a honed finish, a process that eliminates the sheen on the surface. Fabrics with a vintage appearance soften the space and contribute to the homey feel of the room.
The kitchen opens onto the living area so the chef can join in the fun. Open shelving, plentiful drawer space, and a cabinet over the range provide maximum storage in this efficient design. Paprika red barstools inject a punch of color.
This space speaks with a French accent. Exposed ceiling beams, wrought iron, and hand-carved wood accentuate its old-world flair. The designer included many unique features and design ideas that personalize the space. Beautifully adorned with raised carvings, the island houses an under-counter refrigerator, freezer, and warming drawers, as well as abundant storage areas.
The mix of warm colors and texture make this kitchen feel comfortable and cozy. The brick walls add architectural character to the space.
In this casual home, a formal dining area just wouldn't fit. So the kitchen and dining room share one end of the great room.
In the kitchen, a large T-shaped island provides a prep area for cooking and a casual dining surface surrounded by stools.
The island also houses a dishwasher, sink, wine cooler, and additional storage. To the right of the island, a convenient bar
area boasts another sink, room to display glassware, a single-drawer dishwasher, and an icemaker. This separate space allows
partygoers to get drinks without crowding the cook.
Nearly wall-to-wall windows on one side of this kitchen provide lots of natural light but posed a challenge for cabinet space.
The solution: two pantries with full-extension rollouts for dry goods or dishes, plus a serving area and glass-front upper
cabinets. Simple yet elegant features include Shaker-style cabinets and hidden appliances. Beaded board, which appears on
the island and behind the serving area, is a unifying element.
Because there's a bevy of surrounding windows that also contain a lot of mullions, upper cabinetry would have competed with
this look. Tiers of cantilevered shelves get the job done. For stowing away cookware, a central island provides more storage
and separates the kitchen from the adjacent dining room and family room.
Take a tour of this kitchen.
A large chopping block containing a precut opening is set into the marble countertop under one window. Blue appliances provide
the ultimate in cooking convenience, and wooden cabinets feature a gray patina finish and glass-front doors. The marble countertop
and backsplash complement these hues. An oversize island, complete with a cooktop and additional storage, encourages casual
Take a tour of this kitchen.
This room is separated from the family room by a large island. Perfectly proportioned, this is a cook's kitchen with no wasted
space. Constructed of rich wood to resemble a table with sufficient overhang on three sides, the island negates the need for
a separate breakfast room.
Take a tour of this kitchen.
With hidden storage solutions and great ideas galore, this kitchen seems too serene to also be hardworking―but it is.
This space is anchored by three elements―the floor-to-ceiling pantry on the far left, a similar bank of side cabinets that conceals the fridge and freezer, and an island. Another plus: The table nestled into the island can be pulled out easily because of sleek casters on the legs.
The thought of open shelves in a kitchen can send a chill down the spine of even the most organized homeowner. But here’s the dish: The secret lies in the mix. It is easy to handle open display when you have enough closed space to hide the not-so-pretty items. The key is to know how much openness you can handle before it gets messy.
High on these homeowners’ list was natural light, which meant windows―and lots of them. Instead of filling the kitchen’s end and side walls with upper cabinetry, the couple installed a series of double-hung windows.
This homeowner made great finish choices, from an aged stucco treatment on the walls to alder wood cabinets and porcelain
Wide pine boards, nailed horizontally and painted white, give character to these kitchen walls. High-gloss white porch paint brightens the wood floor and makes it look like an enclosed porch.
Nothing adds vintage, cottage appeal to a space like beaded board. Pair with warm wood, dusty green, and crisp white to complete the look.
The neutral color palette in this kitchen helps to highlight the detailing in the cabinets, furniture, and light fixtures.
Filled with every amenity needed for daily cooking, this kitchen also opens to the grilling deck for easy entertaining.
Take a tour of this kitchen.
This kitchen, added to the 1852 house in the 1940s, once served as an outdoor hitching station. The homeowners updated the room with whitewashed cabinetry, marble countertops, and a generous island.
To achieve vintage charm with modern function, the homeowners chose state-of-the-art components designed, whenever possible,
in turn-of-the-century style.
Heart-pine flooring salvaged from an old home is repurposed here as countertops. The color of the cabinetry is a take on Williamsburg green, which was wildly popular during the restoration frenzy of the mid-20th century. It was tweaked with a touch of gray to soften the contrast with the white walls. The walls themselves are plain horizontal boards.
These homeowners created an island that has everything you need, including the kitchen sink. At one end, a countertop-height rectangle of granite offers plenty of prep space. One side boasts a wine rack and cabinet storage while the other holds trash, recycling, and the dishwasher. At the end, an attached round granite tabletop, supported by a pedestal stained to match the island, steps down to table height.
The island was inspired by a catalog find that the homeowner loved; the original design needed some improvements. She incorporated electrical outlets in the legs to make the large work surface more functional. She dispensed with cabinet doors on the island to maintain a more open feel. The piece is topped with a rich cherry wood. The large central island incorporates open shelving underneath to allow easy access to trays and serving pieces. The burlap drum shades and cherry island top impart a sense of warmth to the dining area.
A kitchen island is the perfect way to visually divide the kitchen from the rest of the room. This homeowner thought about how she works in the kitchen and had the essentials installed accordingly. She chose to have the sink rather than the cooktop on the island so she could look out over the room. A small pine table and Windsor chairs tucked next to the island are a surprising--and more comfortable--alternative to barstools.
Cooking and eating areas merge in this space, while an open island makes it all the more breezy.
This kitchen’s original wood floors and plank walls and ceiling set the stage for simple elements. The designer suggested the homeowners install open shelves--simple and boxy--above the countertops and along one wall. One of the owners built the shelves himself in a matter of days.
Layered in wood from floor to ceiling, this kitchen would convert even the most ardent city slicker into a lover of all things handmade and hewn. Most of the wood for the kitchen cabinetry, as well as other built-ins in the house, was fashioned from salvaged, old-growth heart pine. The source for this sought-after material came about when the homeowner dismantled a nearby collapsing farmhouse. In the process, he also milled the lumber and then handed it over to his cabinetmaker to use during construction.
Honed granite countertops―as cool and bumpy to the touch as river rock―help distinguish the cabin aura. Stainless steel appliances add just enough of a contemporary feel to contrast with the chicken wire inserts and the unfinished beaded-board backsplash.
The inset cabinets and bin pulls add to the old-house aesthetic of the room. The homeowners decided to splurge on details in the kitchen and family room because they knew that they would spend most of their time in that area.
This kitchen isn’t married to a single style. Industrial style light fixtures and stools are mixed with traditional elements like Windsor chairs to create a unique and personalized look.
Two features in particular steal the show in this kitchen: the oversized hood above the cooktop and the dining table on casters. Even though some storage is lost by using an oversize hood, it creates a bold statement. The table is veneered in the same wood as the island and cabinetry, and it easily rolls out for dinner parties.
This homeowner chose simple cabinets and pendant lights from IKEA and painted the walls a soft white to get an airy look. The antique rug adds a sense of history to the brand-new room.
This kitchen has an interplay of neutral and blue tones. The cabinetry, marble countertops, and backsplash create an off-white backdrop for bowls, trays, and dishware. The homeowners didn’t want the use of blue to be too heavy-handed or expected. Nautical-style lighting above the island helps carry the coastal look into this space.
To avoid the expense of relocating the plumbing, the homeowner kept the room’s original footprint but updated the cabinetry,
appliances, and fixtures. He replaced the dated wood cabinets, which hung near the ceiling and were difficult to reach, with
easy-to-access open shelving and Shaker-style lower cabinets—all painted crisp white. A ceramic subway-tile backsplash and
sleek marble countertops complete the monochromatic look. Open shelving holds everyday basics; lower cabinets store pots and
This bright and cheerful kitchen establishes hospitality even before guests take the first bite. “I love to cook,” the homeowner says, “and feeding my family and friends is my way of showing them how much I appreciate them.”
These fresh white cabinets are a beautiful background for retro laminate countertops and a vintage-inspired stove.
The Shaker elements―clean lines, plain trim, and no ornamentation―are great for contemporary decor. The timeless design is
another plus. If the homeowners ever want a new look, the cabinets can adapt to a number of styles. Here, stainless appliances
and hardware add industrial flair, as do steel tube legs on the island.
Ceramic tile that looks like terra-cotta grounds the light space with warm color. It looks like the real thing but is easier to maintain. The countertops in a sand tone also add rich color.
A pair of hay rakes fits the rural flavor of the stone fireplace, but there’s nothing rustic about twin oven units, which
combine for a versatile collection of cooking surfaces from griddle to grill. Along a bank of cabinets a stainless steel side-by-side
refrigerator works to maintain the freshness of food.
The cabinets include a handy flip-up door which conceals the microwave, keeping it convenient but out of sight. A tumbled marble, ceramic, and carved-tile backsplash contrasts with the wooden cabinetry, which has basket-weave doors and drawers.
Some of the best treasures in this kitchen are found objects. The homeowners used old ship lights for a chandelier in the
kitchen. Shrimpers’ rope accents the edge of the countertop that is supported by columns found at another old house.
This kitchen achieves a clean, crisp look with Shaker-style cabinets, a tile backsplash, granite countertops, chrome hardware, and stainless appliances.
A white shade allows light to stream into the small but efficient cooking space. In the cooking area, cream-colored countertops and tiles blend beautifully with the white cabinetry. Open space above the cabinets increases the sense of height. Metal hardware on cabinets adds a punch that is repeated on the stainless steel refrigerator and stove.
This homeowner cleared the back wall of the kitchen and created an opening into the dining room. All white walls, cabinets, and countertops also make the space seem bigger. To keep the room from feeling too flat, she added color and texture with accessories such as curtains and a jute rug. She reinforced the vintage look of the house with a new tongue-and-groove wood-plank ceiling and a trio of oversize globe lights, a splurge item.
A window-filled alcove functions like a dining room with a casual table, two slipcovered end chairs, and a pillow-topped banquette.
The built-in bench and wall of windows make this small space seem much larger. Two vintage light fixtures, hung with nautical
rope instead of standard chains, illuminate the space.
Take a tour of this kitchen.
The industrial, prefab nature of the Quonset hut home prompted the homeowners to use corrugated metal panels (available in most building-supply stores) on the kitchen island and surrounding cabinetry, but the sleek room is anything but aloof.
In this eco-friendly kitchen, the homeowner crafted shelves for the kitchen from lumber and stainless steel rods. They allow light in while providing storage.
Toile fabric in bright hues on these kitchen chairs partners stylishly with a contemporary table from the inexpensive retailer IKEA. The kitchen’s white cabinets and backsplash allow the homeowner’s fabric choices in the breakfast area to really shine.
The sage green kitchen cabinetry has generous space for dinnerware and pantry items, and a fossilized countertop surface adds
a sense of history to the space.
Take a tour of this kitchen.
This small, 1930s kitchen returns to its retro roots without sacrificing modern space and functionality. The center island replaces enough counterspace to fit a clothes washer and dryer in the room. Details like the farmhouse sink and green glass tile add throwback style.
Reclaimed heart-pine flooring flows from the adjacent dining room right into the cozy kitchen. Cabinets built in a whitewashed Shaker style provide a soothing contrast to dark-stained floors and wood trusses above.
Every aspect of the kitchen is designed to enhance family life. The large center island, topped with wood, resembles a farmhouse-style
table and invites dining. For a timeless appeal, the kitchen's informal cabinetry is done in dark wood tones and a rich cream
Two sinks and two dishwashers (hidden by wood panels) make cleanup efficient. An under-counter refrigerator at one end is perfect for keeping drinks cold. Stainless steel appliances give a modern edge to the traditional style. Glass shelves mounted on the window above one sink hold houseplants and glassware.
The owners transformed their ranch-style house into a cottage, with this family room-turned-kitchen as the star. The counters and island are topped with an African wood called iroko, which is highly resistant to moisture and easy to maintain.
This homeowner took a simplified approach to decorating. She chose fabrics, colors, and furniture with a decidedly Swedish
influence. Muted gray cabinetry with a distressed finish and open shelves reinforce the room’s openness. The stainless steel
appliances and sink add a sleek, metallic luster. Even the honed travertine marble countertops have a lightness.
Her flooring choice—pine boards covered in a thin coat of watered-down paint—contributes to the ambience.
Waves of blue drench this kitchen. A pale shade covers the walls and ceiling while a deeper shade is used on the cabinets. The wood floors carry a third shade of blue. Such colors are a perfect reflection of the nearby Gulf of Mexico waters.
The black-and-white basics in this kitchen make it feel airy and clean. The blue accents add warmth and interest. Tier curtains maintain privacy without blocking natural light.
In this new kitchen, intersecting timbers cross the ceiling to capture vintage character.
A kitchen that’s not rich on color doesn’t have to be poor on style. High-gloss white porch paint brightens what could have been a standard wood floor. A mint green, glass tile backsplash brings in a pop of color; green glass handles give the white cabinets and drawers a distinguishing detail. Stainless steel countertops are super easy for a chef to keep clean. Plus, the shiny metal is a savvy contrast to the softer touches in the space, such as the striped sink skirt; the baskets covered in floral fabric; and a traditionally framed painting near the island.
This kitchen peers into the living area via a counter bar. Barstools pull up for drinks, dinner, or conversation. The kitchen’s open shelving, painted green, reveals ceramics and serving pieces―many reflecting the colors in paint finishes and fabrics throughout the house.
The neutral gray of these cabinets blends seamlessly with stainless steel appliances.
Outfitted with heart-pine ceiling beams and sage walls like the nearby breakfast room, the kitchen is any homeowner’s dream.
Cabinetry with an antique cream-colored glaze surrounds the space. Appearing to be a large cabinet, the refrigerator is disguised
Beside the refrigerator, open shelves placed in front of casement windows provide display for dishware and cookbooks. The area features quartz stone countertops, while an ample island occupies the center and makes food preparation a pleasure.
To balance out the traditional feel of the rest of the home, the kitchen's countertops, appliances, and cabinets are all clean
and contemporary. A quartz material protects not only the top of the kitchen island but also the sides from daily bumps and
Take a tour of this kitchen.
The builder of this home did a great job of making classic choices such as the white subway tile, the vintage-style hardware on the cabinets, and a mahogany top on the island.
These homeowners made clever paint choices. By selecting a dark green for the base cabinetry and island, they grounded the space with an appropriate connection to nature. Pale gold upper cabinets bring a welcomed lightness to the scheme. Interestingly, the units with glass-panel doors reveal that the same shade of green is used within.
In the kitchen, these homeowners chose Virginia slate countertops and then had a sink custom made out of the same dark slate.
The color hides stains that would show on a white sink
Clever details fill this kitchen. The floor painted by a local artist provides a graphic foundation for the colorful cabinets and sleek island.
With its fresh appeal and creative use of great finds, this kitchen makes a perfect spot to linger over the morning paper and a cup of coffee. The room’s artful combination of blue and white painted cabinetry and coordinating porcelain accents seems to come together naturally. Here, a pastel shade of blue was used for the walls and a cornflower blue for the island. For a jolt of lively color, a distressed faux finish was applied to the island. A copper countertop gives the workspace even more character.
One fun feature in this kitchen is the collection of pillar candles hanging over the island.
Without upper cabinets along the kitchen’s main wall, the room remains open and airy like the rest of the house.
The eclectic mix of textures in this kitchen—patterned tin, weathered wood, painted beaded board—adds character and personality.
The homeowner replaced the lower cabinets and gave the uppers new life with glass doors and brass hardware. Tired of white
kitchens, she drenched the entire space in a custom deep, dark green in a glossy lacquered finish. Her collection of white
dishes and serving pieces, an impressive La Cornue range, and a white subway-tile backsplash add interest and break up the
swaths of green.
From the salvage wood walls to the bevy of vintage trinkets, this kitchen has big personality.
The antique pieces in this kitchen inspired the rustic elegance of the cabinetry and finishes.
What’s the best thing about this cool, contemporary kitchen? It’s mobile! Rolling components make it easier to reconfigure the space from everyday to entertaining.
Instead of hiding the organically beautiful grain of the wood with paint, this homeowner chose a natural finish.
This homeowner let the natural wood finish of her countertops shine by painting all of the other surfaces in the kitchen either gray or white.
One thing about an open kitchen: You have less wallspace for cabinets, so you have to be creative with storage. Here, a large
island with drawers beneath the countertops provides the solution.
The island drawers are deep enough to hold large bowls, pots, and pans. The island also houses the oven. For a stylish backsplash, the designer installed a fireback into the wall behind the cooktop. This element is also practical; it doesn't absorb grease.
See more inspirational kitchen in our Editors' Favorite Kitchens video.
Situating the kitchen along a 30-foot wall takes up less space and creates ample room for dining. To accommodate the wall
of windows, Barbara fit all the appliances under the countertops.
When an entire home is one open space, it's important to limit materials for a cohesive look. All the walls are plaster, and new birch plywood was laid on the floors and living room ceiling. Paintgrip steel sheeting covers the fireplace and ceilings in the kitchen and sleeping areas.
We called our kitchen 'the time warp' because it looked like it hadn't been touched since the 1960s," says homeowner and Southern Living Executive Editor Jessica Thuston. "The matching yellow laminate floors, cabinets, and countertops—I have a feeling it was
pretty great back in its day." However, fast-forward 50 years and this space was in major need of an update. "We loved the
size and basic layout, but everything else had to go," Jessica says. Tour how she gave this relic some modern-day appeal.
When Caroline and Andy Roeser purchased their Houston home, it was done with a love of the neighborhood and a lot of vision.
Its windowless galley kitchen felt cold and dated, so the couple wasted no time renovating it to become a sunny, open space.
Tour how they made the transformation.
Feeling a bit confined in their dated Hannibal, Missouri, kitchen, Lynn and Bobby Boland wanted a complete overhaul. Without
adding an inch of square footage, designer Amie Corley gave them the stylish, family-friendly kitchen they were hoping for.
Tour their new space.
To complement the rustic wood wall, Designer Richard Tubb chose freestanding restaurant-grade stainless steel cabinetry and
enlisted blacksmith Darren Hardman to craft a custom steel island. Open shelving confines dishware to the essentials, while
a row of bare Edison lightbulbs provides general and task lighting.
Architect Ken Pursley repeated elements from the exterior of this rural cottage inside for a seamless and cohesive design.
Hand-poured concrete countertops pick up the floor's gray tones in this kitchen designed by owner and Southern Living style director Heather Chadduck Hillegas.
The main working part of the kitchen lines up front to back with twin cabinets capping both island ends and flanking the range.
Adding to the overall mix of styles and time periods in the kitchen, a vintage-inspired iron chandelier hangs above the sleek
center island. Hand-scraped wood flooring by Shaw Floors is made from recycled materials and mimics the look of antique wide-plank
Dark, woodsy hues, such as the bark brown stain on interior walls and trim and driftwood gray on the cabinetry, set the mood.
Well-chosen accents of red, chartreuse, and turquoise stand out from the subdued backdrop without interrupting the calm.
Southern meets Swedish in the kitchen with blue gingham fabric and whimsical carved-wood pulls.
This kitchen was designed to be the biggest room in the house. There's no formal dining space except for the large farm table.
And the industrial island offers a utilitarian twist to contrast with the room's old-world style.
Birmingham interior designer Lindsey Bond Meadows simplified the space by hanging two large glass globes that don't block kitchen views.
A rustic farm table takes the place of a central island in the kitchen, giving the homeowner a spot for casual meals.
Instead of beaded board, cover walls with horizontal planking that mimics old clapboards. Here, they’re installed flush for
a more modern feel.
Windows in the kitchen open to the central hallway and reflect original dogtrot architecture.
A small but efficient island holds refrigerator drawers and a bookcase for cookbooks. Painted deep gray to contrast with the
lighter color of the cabinets and topped with marble, it feels vintage and perhaps even original to the house. At the end
sits an antique tea table where the couple eats breakfast.
The U-shaped kitchen consists of three adjoining workspaces. One element of the work triangle can be placed along each wall.
Because of the separation of workspaces, this layout is ideal for multi-cook situations.
Combined with a classic farmhouse table and chairs, the clean-lined bench—attached to the island and painted the same color
as the cabinets—saves valuable floorspace.
After 10 years of living away in New England, Leslie Phillips-Greco was ready to return home to Texas. Determined to spend
every minute possible taking in the big Texas scenery, she planned her entire kitchen and dining porch with one goal in mind—to
bring the sights and sounds of the Hill Country inside. “We drink our coffee to the sounds of the turkeys and eat our dinner
to the sounds of coyotes howling,” says Leslie. “And we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Warm, aged finishes and ample seating create a cozy feel reminiscent of a European bistro in this Birmingham kitchen.
The entire stove niche is tiled with white ceramic subway tile for a clean look that blends seamlessly with the creamy walls
(painted Intense White by Benjamin Moore). A single long, white shelf replaces open cabinetry and keeps dishes right at hand.
Benjamin Moore's Galapagos Green in high-gloss oil coats the kitchen ceiling. The beautiful surrounding lake views are mimicked
by the color palette in this nature-inspired kitchen.
The walls, trim, cabinetry, and ceiling are all painted Benjamin Moore's Linen White in the same eggshell finish. Hammered
metal pendant lights and newly refinished wood floors are a nice counterpoint to the mainly white space.