A Kitchen Refresh

Our clients in Marietta liked the way their existing kitchen functioned for their family. But the look of it was stuck in the 1990s. They were craving a transitional white kitchen that would be cohesive with their traditional colonial home. The current state of their kitchen — great functional layout, good bones, and high-quality cabinets — as well as their practical approach made us suggest a kitchen refresh.

We were able to give them the light and bright kitchen they wanted and it now serves as the heart of their home. The result is a classic white kitchen with transitional style. This means it skews traditional but has some updated modern touches that make it more versatile.

a kitchen refresh beforeBefore

Let’s back up and show you what they were working with — the kitchen was dark, the peninsula was not functional and they didn’t like the microwave location. But our clients liked the layout and the way it worked for their family. While the pickled finish on the cabinets was stuck in the 1990s, they were very high-quality custom wood cabinets that were still in fantastic shape. This made us recommend a kitchen refresh instead of a full remodel.

a kitchen refresh

What Is a Kitchen Refresh?

A kitchen refresh is when we come in and change a few elements but the layout and most of the original bones stay in place. Refreshes usually include new appliances, lighting and cabinet hardware, and 2-3 impactful changes. They don’t involve taking down walls or replacing the majority of the cabinets. A kitchen refresh also means that you’ll be keeping appliances and plumbing in the same locations. By keeping things in the same locations, it most often means your flooring will stay intact as well, or that we can weave in some new pieces and blend them with your existing floors where needed.

We like to recommend a kitchen refresh when there are only about 2-3 big elements that need changing. If you need to alter more than 20% of your cabinets, then a kitchen refresh is probably not the best option. We’ll use this kitchen as a case study so that you can get a better idea of what’s involved in a kitchen refresh.

a kitchen refresh before


This kitchen had a solid peninsula with a sink that our clients didn’t find all that useful. They also didn’t like the clunky look of the microwave placement and felt there could be something more attractive in that area.

a kitchen refresh

What We Refreshed in This Kitchen

Because our clients had high-quality custom cabinets, we suggested that we do a high-quality paint job and replace the knobs and pulls. This is not to be confused with a kitchen refacing, which means we replace the existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts. We also replaced the countertops and backsplash, moved the microwave into the existing island, added open shelving and transformed their solid peninsula into an eat-in area. We painted the walls, updated the light fixtures and replaced the older appliances.

This photo  shows a new microwave drawer that we installed in their existing island. A lot of our clients are opting for this kind of microwave setup. It is a more ergonomic and attractive solution than placing it up at eye level.

a kitchen refresh before


Our clients have four kids, and the peninsula was not serving them as well as it could. The sink made no sense unless it was set up as a wet bar during a party. But they did like having easy cookbook access that the peninsula provided so we came up with an alternative solution for that.

a kitchen refresh

Refreshed: Major Changes

When talking to our clients about their kitchen transformation options, we recommend going for a reface if there are three or less major changes they want to make to the structure of the kitchen. In this case, transforming the peninsula, retrofitting the island for the microwave and replacing the old microwave cabinetry with open shelving were the three major changes that we made. For the most part, we kept the existing cabinetry. A kitchen refresh is only worth doing if you have high quality cabinets already. Otherwise we strongly recommend replacing cabinets.

The peninsula transformation was the most impactful change to the room. It makes the kitchen feel more open and provides a great space for having meals and doing homework. The eat-in peninsula is open and allows for the family to gather around it rather than sitting in a line. We love this kind of setup because it makes conversation much easier. We  weaved in some new flooring to match the existing flooring underneath the open peninsula.

eat-in peninsula

When we reconfigured the microwave area, we were able to remove the center shelf and cabinetry. At the same time we were able to preserve the cabinets that flanked it. We replaced that space between them with wood open shelves.

Wood kitchen open shelves

The natural wood on these open shelves adds warmth and interest to the transitional white kitchen. These kinds of shelves are great for displaying cookbooks, plants and favorite objects.  The beautiful quartz backsplash continues all the way up the wall behind them for an elegant look.

a kitchen refresh

Refreshed Kitchen Lighting

Lining the pendants up over the peninsula and island created an organized and cohesive look. The oil-rubbed bronze and clear glass pendants ride that transitional line between traditional and modern. While six is a pretty large number of pendants, the clear glass keeps the view open. And the scale and spacing of the pendants fits this kitchen to a T.

wolf wall ovens

Our clients opted to keep their range and vent hood. They also wanted us to save and reuse the racks over the oven and we were able to do that. However, they replaced their wall ovens. The sleek look of the Wolf appliances adds a modern touch. So do the streamlined cabinet pulls.

a kitchen refresh arched window

Refreshed: Counters and Backsplash

Replacing the countertop and backsplash with a marble-like quartz was a big part of this refresh that was very impactful. The new material updated the kitchen instantly and now the high backsplash meets the bases of the upper cabinets. The sink was already in a great spot, enjoying the view out the elegant arched window. Our clients got a new stainless steel sink and commercial-style faucet. Both of these elements added more modern elements to the transitional mix.

a kitchen refresh

When Should I Consider a Kitchen Refresh?

If you’re wondering if your kitchen will be better suited for a refresh than a remodel, see if it meets these criteria:

  • You have high-quality cabinets with fronts and functionality that you like.
  • You want to keep your layout and the major appliances and plumbing in place.
  • Your existing flooring is in good shape and you like it.
  • Taking down walls or adding onto your kitchen won’t be necessary.

We are happy to lend our expert opinion about your kitchen needs. Schedule a free consultation to let us know more about your project. We can help you assess if a refreshed kitchen is the right solution for you. And if it’s not, we will explain other options.

To get more kitchen refreshing, refacing and remodeling ideas, check out some of our other recent blog posts:

Before and After: A Refaced Kitchen

Six Kitchen Goals for 2021

Kitchen Renovation: 10 Special Cabinet Features To Know

What To Do When You Don’t Have a Pantry