5 Ways to Personalize Your Kitchen Remodel (No Matter the Scale)

Mix colors and furniture styles plus cabinet and countertop materials to make a kitchen makeover of any size unique and lively.
By: Karin Beuerlein


Courtesy of IKEA®

All too often, the average kitchen suffers from FSS: Furniture Showroom Syndrome. The symptoms? Cabinets all in the same color and finish, monotonous appliances, a wall color that picks up on the flecks in the laminate countertop, all of which flows into an adjoining eating area that's matchy-matchy, from the chairs to the china cabinet. Sound painfully familiar? If your kitchen could use a little makeover magic, here are some ideas for introducing unique personality with harmonious results.

Know What to Mix and What to Match

Remember that you don't have to stick to any one style, color or even era  but try to connect different items with a single common thread. If you mix modern and traditional patterns for your dinnerware, for example, link them with a common color.

In the image above, the wooden countertop on the island picks up the brown wall treatment and floor without matching them perfectly. At the same time, it works nicely with the white countertop used elsewhere in the kitchen, adding another layer of interest rather than using the same countertop material everywhere.

Keep an Eye on Geometry

If your kitchen feels monotonous, it may be in the lines. Look around at the surfaces of countertops, appliances, the table  is everything square-edged? All curves? If either is the case, pick an accent piece and throw it into reverse. For example, if the breakfast bar is rectangular, opt for stools with rounded or even whimsically shaped backs. If the table is round, try a square glass vase as the centerpiece or a boxy light fixture overhead.

Free Upper Cabinets From Lower Ones

If you've been eyeing a change but don't have the budget to replace all your kitchen cabinets, consider going halfway. If you have dark wood cabinets, replace a bank of the upper cabinets with metal, white or glass versions for a dramatic new look. Or replace the doors only on the lower ones for another budget-minded update.

The same goes for countertops  a quartz island topper in a contrasting color/tone from all the other countertop material can dress up the old look without redoing the entire space.

Separate Your Table and Chairs

There's no rule that says these have to match or that you have to keep a set together. A dark teak table, for example, can look amazing with white painted chairs. If you have a great table and chair set you love, don't despair  use different chairs with the kitchen table, but scatter the original chairs all over the house with seat cushions in various patterns and colors to tie them into each different space.

Even in formal eating areas, you can get away with the old switcheroo. Take just the end chairs away and replace them with grand upholstered versions for a luxurious look or chairs with tailored slipcovers for understated elegance.

Finish Off the Identical Finishes

The very simplest kitchen update can be a swap of cabinet knobs and pulls. Try mixing modern shapes for upper cabinets with more traditional versions in a similar finish for the lower ones.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Kenneth Brown on the Functional Kitchen

What is a functional kitchen? It's all about what works for you, says designer Kenneth Brown. Here, his advice on creating the kitchen you want.

High Style in a High-End Kitchen

It's all about elegance in David McNulty's kitchen design for a sophisticated and expensive Chicago kitchen, from hand-carved friezes to fabulous freezers.

Spruce Up Vintage Kitchen With Charm

Cabinets, appliances and expanded storage give a kitchen a fresh start.

Kitchen Cabinet Materials

Get the info you need on kitchen cabinet materials, and explore your options for pre-fabricated or custom kitchen cabinets.

Custom Kitchen Islands

Make your kitchen space stand out with these unique custom kitchen island tips.

Gourmet Kitchen Remodel

Designer Karen Needler shares her story of a small kitchen remodel featuring pro-quality appliances and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry.

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel

Figure out what you want from your new kitchen with our questionnaire and worksheet

How Much Kitchen Do You Need?

Get the most value from your kitchen remodeling project.

The Right Elements for Kitchen Design

Follow these 13 steps for a better kitchen remodel.

Today's Kitchens Require Attention to Detail

It's the little things that count in larger, multipurpose kitchens.


Texas Flip and Move

6:30am | 5:30c

Rehab Addict

7:30am | 6:30c

Rehab Addict

8:30am | 7:30c

Rehab Addict

9:30am | 8:30c

Rehab Addict

10am | 9c

Rehab Addict

10:30am | 9:30c

Rehab Addict

11am | 10c

Rehab Addict

11:30am | 10:30c

House Hunters

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

Home Town

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

Home Town

1am | 12c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.