12 Demo-Free Kitchen and Dining Room Makeover Ideas

It’s no secret that an outdated kitchen and dining room can visually age your entire home. After years of serving as your place to tackle meal prep work, time has likely taken a toll on your once-trendy backsplash, cabinets, and backsplash.

And while you may be eager for an upgrade, remodeling your kitchen and dining room can be expensive and render your kitchen useless for weeks (or even months). Instead of completing a full kitchen gut, read on to find out how you can bring your dine-in kitchen into the 21st century. Use these 12 tips to create a gorgeous dining room and learn how to update your kitchen without renovating (or demoing) a thing.

1. Get Organized

Feeling overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) by your kitchen and dining area? Although it is one of the less exciting aspects, organizing should be your first step before tackling other kitchen and dining room ideas. Toss (or donate) old gadgets, underused kitchenwares, and food items. Decluttering will not only make your kitchen and dining area look better, but you’ll have a much better cooking and eating experience if you’re not sifting through mismatched food storage containers. 

2. Clean Up 

Cleanliness is critical for kitchens and dining areas. Residual grime or scuffing can quickly drag down even the trendiest kitchens. Start by making a serious effort to clean up — clean every surface and pay special attention to your countertops, backsplash, grout, sink, oven, fridge, cabinets, baseboards, and floors. 

Doing a thorough cleaning will help you better understand the additional changes you’d like to make. 

3. Modernize Your Hardware 

Swapping out your hardware is one of the easiest — and fastest — kitchen cabinet upgrades you can make. Give your outdated kitchen an inexpensive lift by replacing your drawer pulls and knobs. 

Modernize your 2000s, dine-in, or traditional kitchen by replacing worn, scratched, or overly fussy knobs and pulls with a low-profile metal option. Sleek lines will add modern flair, while a crisp metal option will add a clean feeling. 

Ensure that your new metallic hardware compliments your appliances. For example,  if you have a cool-toned chrome or stainless steel refrigerator or oven, you may want to opt for cool-toned metals. 

4. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint 

Painting is an inexpensive way to breathe new life into your kitchen or dining room. Start by examining your kitchen and your current design style. If your kitchen feels small or dark, you may consider opting for light neutral hues. Lighter shades — think creamy whites, light khakis, or a light greige — can help your space look both larger and cleaner. Head to your local hardware store to grab a few swatches (and perhaps a sample or two) to ensure that your paint color of choice works well with both your natural lighting and artificial lighting. 

Looking for easy traditional kitchen remodel ideas? Consider incorporating an accent color. Greens, aquas, navy, or even pink are popular for kitchen cabinets or accent walls. Accent walls can quickly brighten up your space and complement your existing design style.

And, don’t forget the trim! If you’ve been wondering if you should paint or replace trim, you may want to consider painting as it’s the less expensive alternative and can still help you achieve a modern, clean look. 

Renting? Use peel and stick wallpaper in your kitchen or dining room for an instant and budget-friendly lift. 

5. Maximize Your Lighting 

A little light goes a long way. Dim lighting can cause your kitchen or dining room to look unwelcoming, cramped, or dirty. Start by playing up your natural lighting. Replace thick drapes with a sheer set of curtains that allow light to flow in.

From there, double-check your lightbulbs. Harsh fluorescent lighting can make your kitchen and dining area feel cold and unwelcoming. Instead, choose Warm White or Bright White lightbulbs that will give your kitchen and dining room a clean and welcoming appeal. If you don’t have canned or track lighting, consider upgrading your light fixtures themselves to something that feels more modern. 

Finally, install lighting underneath your upper cabinets above your countertops. Both renters and homeowners can opt for budget-friendly LED light strips or simple push-button lights to make it easier to see as you’re slicing and dicing. 

Pro Tip: Decorative mirrors can help maximize your lighting and create the illusion of a larger room

6. Upgrade Your Backsplash

Backsplash can make a massive difference in how your kitchen looks and feels. 

You can opt for a peel and stick style or can DIY your backsplash. No matter which route you go, there are many options to choose from. Add instant style with mosaic tile, subway tiling, marble, or a herringbone pattern. Depending on your goals, you can go with a classic neutral or a bold, trendy hue. Most new builds extend backsplash up to the cabinets, which can draw your eye up and make your space feel larger. 

7. Change Out Your Countertops

Countertops can completely change how your kitchen looks and feels. Butcher block countertops are perfect for those looking to create a farmhouse feel. The wood finish brings both style and warmth to your space. Just be mindful that you’ll need to regularly oil and maintain butcherblock. 

Love the look and feel of granite or marble? Choose easy-to-clean solid surface countertops. Solid surface countertops are an excellent option for high-traffic kitchens. 

8. Swap Your Sink 

Years of use can leave your kitchen sink stained or scratched. Consider upgrading your sink when a thorough scrub is no longer doing the trick. There are plenty of durable, attractive options to choose from. 

Additionally, you may want to consider swapping out your faucet. A modern, retractable faucet head adds functionality while making your sink look newer. 

9. Opt for New Appliances 

Dated appliances can age your kitchen — and drain your wallet. If your appliances are looking worse for the wear, consider upgrading. Modern energy-efficient appliances will quickly improve the look of your kitchen and can help you save on your electric bill. 

10. Emphasize Storage 

Have a small pantry? Adding storage space will help your kitchen and dining room look (and stay) tidy.  If you have a little more room in your dining area, consider adding in shelving, console tables, or chests where you can keep glassware or special occasion tablewares.

11. Upgrade Your Dining Table and Chairs 

 Furniture items that are too large or too small can lead to a kitchen or dining room that feels off-balance, so upgrade your dining set. Replace hand-me-down or old, scratched dining furniture with modern, polished options that best suit your space and needs. For small dine-in kitchens, consider a two or four-person table. Add barstools to your island for additional seating — ensure they are the correct size and height for your kitchen island or bar. 

12. Don’t Forget Decor

Finally, add in decor — but be mindful not to overdo it. Each decor piece in your kitchen and dining area should have a space and a purpose. For example, decorative mirrors can make your kitchen look larger and brighter, and framed artworks (or perhaps even a gallery wall) add style without having a large footprint. 

Don’t let decor items eat up your valuable counter or table space. Instead, get creative! Faux plants can be used to top your cabinets and add a touch of life, while you can display photos, lamps, or figurines items on shelves. A decorative area rug underfoot ties your dining area together while adding cushion and style. 

Create Your Dream Kitchen with CORT Furniture Outlet 

Complete your kitchen upgrade with new and gently-used furniture and decor from CORT Furniture Outlet. We’ve got everything you need to create a stylish and comfortable kitchen without breaking the bank from area rugs to dining tables and chairs. Shop new and gently-used items at up to 70% off original prices online and in-store today!


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