13 Kitchen Makeover Ideas to Modernize an Old Kitchen

Saffron Marigold - Updated: September 15, 2022

You’ve refreshed your bedroom, renovated your living room, and now you turn to our old kitchen. The center of the home, your kitchen deserves all the TLC you can bestow upon its walls, floors, and furnishings. Find 13 of the best kitchen makeover ideas here, plus our recommendations on the best linens for each redesign.

Why update an old kitchen?

An old kitchen may warrant a makeover if it is no longer ergonomic, in style, or functional. You might even be giving your kitchen a makeover if you’re planning on selling your home and want to boost its resale value. No matter your reason, learning how to update and design an old kitchen is a fruitful skill.

  • Functionality: Updating old appliances, increasing storage, revamping dining area
  • Timelessness: Installing classic cabinetry and materials
  • Aesthetic: Refreshing kitchen curtains and kitchen valances, repainting surfaces, removing old furnishings

Kitchen makeover ideas

A kitchen makeover doesn’t have to equate a complete remodel. In fact, revamping your old kitchen can be as easy as swapping out your stained and faded kitchen curtains for some new, vibrant linens. Let’s begin.

1. Old world vibes with modern-day accessories

Old world kitchens are often dark, accented with shades of brown and metals that bring an organic feel to the space. Well-made, bespoke, and practical items like double duty pots and cutting board-charcuterie boards balance out decorative flourishes and decadent decor.

Inspire Uplift

Pottery Large Cooking Pot

Old World Kitchen

Cutting and Serving Board

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Traditional kitchens feature architectural elements, so you’re in luck if your old kitchen design includes raised panels, pediment door and window arches, dark woodwork, limestone, and exposed beams. Take advantage of natural light and soften harsh architectural accents with linens from our Ivy Lace collection. Pair with a cheerful tablecloth like Morning Dew that emanates an old-school elegance.

2. Fun and quirky farmhouse decor

Live out your country living dreams with a rustic farmhouse aesthetic. Gather charming kitchen elements like vintage breadboxes and metal containers that’ll beautify your kitchen counter. Light woods, white paint, and freestanding units make a farmhouse kitchen timeless.

Original Barn

Salt and Pepper Shaker Set with Galvanized Metal Holder

The Apollo Box

Vintage Inspired Bread Box

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The Morning Dew prints were made for the French Country style, with their pale yellow canvas and graceful ogee print. This delicate print duo elevates the farmhouse style, which can veer towards pedestrian and raw, especially with a DIY approach.

3. Vibrant backsplash and ceramics for a cheerful Tuscan kitchen

Brighten up characteristically dark Tuscan kitchens with a multicolor backsplash. Other dateless alternatives include travertine, marble, and aged stone. Add drama using handmade pieces that hearken back to traditional arts.

Home Depot

Tuscan Tile Peel & Stick Backsplash Tiles

Williams Sonoma

Sicily Fruit Bowl

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A Tuscan kitchen, similar to an old world kitchen, comprises earthy tones and natural materials. It’s only fitting that you would choose Orange Blossom, a Mediterranean print, for your Tuscan-inspired old kitchen. Its warm color scheme blends in perfectly with wooden cabinets and other organic materials.

4. Bring in a freestanding kitchen island

A kitchen island is an uber practical idea if you want an integral unit sans remodeling. Another bonus is the extra storage you’ll earn for dishes, towels, and other necessities. In other words, goodbye clutter! Next, warm up the counter space with a rustic vase and plucked flowers.


Mid-Century Wood & Metal Steel Kitchen Island in Walnut

Crate & Barrel

Full Moon Clay Vase

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Take your kitchen makeover to the next level with a table runner from our Dahlia Daydreams collection and hang up matching curtains for an opulent kitchen. Accessorize this vibrantly pink print with Mid-Century Modern elements to keep it à la mode.

5. Pretty pastels

Garnish your old kitchen with easy-swap decor like pastel candles and pastel utensils. This way, you don’t have to invest in an all-pastel room in case you change your mind about your kitchen makeover. These sage green pastel candles are fitting for such a soft, dreamy vibe.

Saffron Marigold

Sage Paisley Hand-Painted Taper Candles

Peachy Mart

Pastel Colour 8 Piece Set

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Sage green is a beautiful pastel shade that fares well in an old kitchen crying for a makeover. Woodland Ferns combines this relaxing green with light blue and a white background to bring nature into your home. It’s a vintage-inspired botanical print, but it feels fresh, unique, and oh-so-fashionable.

6. Try banquette seating

For empty nesters who no longer need that large rectangle dining table, swap it out with a round table and banquette seating. Ensure your banquette area is comfortable with upholstered seats and curtains that help filter out harsh light. Glam up your banquette area with delicate touches like golden napkin rings and beautiful placemats.

West Elm

Botanical Napkin Ring, Brass

West Elm

Hargrove Banquette

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Adorn your new dining nook with Enchanted, a whimsical print that turns any space into a magical meadow with its abundant wildflower pattern. It’s a refreshing addition to all-white kitchens and dining areas. Plus, the royal blue is apt for a grand banquette nook.

7. Introduce a multifunctional baker’s rack

Create an English kitchen with a multipurpose baker’s rack, an exposed type of shelf that makes it easy to retrieve essentials like sugar, flour, pots, and pans. When you boot out ungainly shelving, your old kitchen will feel like new. Use your new shelf for storing appliances or for displaying dish collections. Cook books, spice jars, and wine racks can also call the baker’s rack home.


Steel Standard Baker’s Rack

Williams Sonoma

Famille Rose Boxed Appetizer Plates

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Then, complete the look with English Gardens, a romantic print celebrating gorgeous floral bouquets rendered in blue and white. This pattern is a statement piece that conjures up stunning scenes on an exquisite blue-and-white china dinner plate or Toile de Jouy fabric—a beautiful pairing for your china collection.

8. Spicy color combinations

A red, yellow, and orange color scheme increases appetite. What a fitting color scheme to revamp an old kitchen! We recommend Spice Route curtains and table linens (both the main and coordinating print) for a fiery kitchen design. Tribal-inspired patterns and pastoral motifs combined with Spice Route create a welcoming atmosphere.


Round Desroches Oriental Handmade


Old Dutch 4-Piece Red Rooster Canister Set

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Lean into Spice Route’s rustic charm and decorate with other warm-hued accents. Consider upgrading any task lights with a lantern-inspired fixture for an authentic Mediterranean feel when paired with our Moroccan-inspired print. Tea sets, metal serving trays, and ornate pots all bring out the best in Spice Route and your kitchen.

9. Embrace classic cabinetry

Streamlined drawer and cabinet pulls enhance the look of any style cabinet, but most especially classic Shaker style units. Upgrade the look of old cabinets with new drawer pulls that have a longer shelf life such as matte black or aged brass finishes. Or, beautify the inside of cabinets while protecting your surfaces with dainty, waterproof liners.


Shelf Liner Drawer Liner


Large Massey Drawer Pull

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Trust Orange Blossom (the coordinating print) to honor your kitchen’s classic roots. A Persian-inspired print, Orange Blossom CP is faintly tropical with its orange and green blossoms set on a cream ground. Its revitalizing effect is magnified when combined with other classic elements like flower-filled vases and stone countertops.

10. Say hello to the outside

Let your gaze turn towards the great outdoors by orienting your dining area and other seating towards a window. Dine like you’re on a beach resort with thoughtful utensils made of natural materials like bamboo, and store them in deep green utensil holders for a tropical feel.


Stoneware Utensil Crock

Pottery Barn

Natural Bamboo Flatware Set

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A kitchen valance print like Tropical Garden is perfect for the occasion. Its multicolor blooms and tan background is the essence of a picture-perfect destination. If your window doesn’t offer much of an attractive view, bring the outdoors to your old kitchen with lush Tropical Garden table linens.

11. Bathe in blues for a coastal kitchen

Hang up your kitchen accessories on a wall to make use of eye-catching prints and colors. Turn an old kitchen into a blue paradise with aprons, mitts, and potholders in various shades of blue. Keep the wall and hooks white for a pleasing contrast.


Organic Apron

Bed Bath & Beyond

Martha Stewart Strie Medallion Oven Mitt Navy Blue

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Discover Morocco’s unparalleled blue skies and seas with Casablanca Blues—in either the white or blue rendition—for a maritime kitchen makeover. Its stylized quatrefoils bring an eclectic global charm to your kitchen, and the white and green accents pair beautifully with any shade of blue.

12. Mix and match metals for an industrial kitchen

Old kitchens designed with an industrial theme in mind highlight bare architectural details and an open layout. Often, a kitchen island and bar seating sits center. If you want to upgrade old cabinets into an industrial farmhouse style, consider installing pipe shelving with wood brackets in their place. Brass, silver, bronze, and black iron decor elements are essential.

JT Industrial Designs

Industrial Farmhouse Paper Towel Stand

Joss & Main

Tess Small Antique Rotating Sand Timer

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Complement the rugged and lived in look of an industrial kitchen with Ruby Kilim, a rustic red print inspired by geometrical kilim designs. Its red, black, and white accents harmonize with industrial kitchens’ browns and metallic finishes. Mix with wooden units, rustic decor, and vintage pieces for a stripped-down look.

13. Open up a cushy cafe kitchen

Set up a breakfast bar with decor inspired by the likes of the sophisticated Hepplewhite chair. Include elements of a cafe like a chalkboard frame or open shelving. Feature your espresso in a coffee corner, complete with espresso cups, sugar, and creamer. Incorporate potted plants for bursts of life throughout.

West Elm

Classic Cafe Upholstered Dining Chair Set


Wood Framed Wall Chalkboard

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Keep it elegant and chic with Victorian Lilac, a dignified ogee print rendered in dusty purple and ivory. This polished pattern keeps your cafe kitchen from looking anything but ordinary. Introduce ornate decor and flatware to dine like you’re a distinguished aristocrat among your fine Victorian linens.

Ideas to keep renovation costs down

If you’re committing to a full renovation, cut down on expenses by limiting your big-ticket designs and purchases.

  • Keep your layout as-is, e.g. no knocking down or extending walls
  • Go with open shelving instead of traditional cabinets
  • Source salvaged or reclaimed wood
  • Try laminate instead of marble or granite
  • Choose a freestanding island
  • Keep your old cabinets and refurbish them

How to update old kitchen cabinets

New cabinets are one of the biggest expenses in redesigning an old kitchen. Fortunately, there’s multiple ways to give them new life without replacing them.

  • Paint
  • Remove doors
  • Replace handles
  • Apply a new finish
  • Sand down the existing paint for a distressed look
  • Install new pulls/knobs

We hope these thirteen easy kitchen updates will spark new ideas for your new cooking and dining space. Remember that not all makeovers require a contractor when you can design your dream kitchen with a few major decor changes. Good luck, and happy designing!