Our DIY IKEA Kitchen Remodel ( & 8 Super Helpful Ideas)

We do LOVE adventures, but we NEVER imagined doing a complete kitchen remodel a week after buying our house!

We will talk about that unexpected flooding another time, today is all about things exciting and useful: the before and after tour of our mostly DIY modern farmhouse IKEA kitchen remodel, and 8 best ideas we have learned: such as how to create better kitchen layouts, incorporate favorite design styles, improve small kitchen storage,  select materials, and lots more!

outdated small kitchen remodel before

Remodeling our outdated kitchen into a modern farmhouse IKEA kitchen is one of the most challenging and rewarding things we have ever done!

Update: we finished our farmhouse DIY kitchen island(it’s an IKEA hack!) tutorial here!

Farmhouse DIY kitchen island ( an IKEA hack!) tutorial here!

*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

I hope what we have learned through our kitchen renovation can help others who are on a similar journey. Let’s start with the most awkward thing in our old kitchen:

DIY modern farmhouse IKEA kitchen remodel with boho style decor

When you have a massive fridge stuck in the corner of a small kitchen, blocking part of a window, it just doesn’t feel right. Which leads to our idea number one-

Kitchen Remodel Idea 1: start with kitchen layout to create a better flow

Tutorial on how we give the old fridge a $2000 look for $20!

( Some of the helpful resources are affiliate links. Full disclosure here. )

The first thing we did was to move the fridge to a new location, and open up the peninsula. This created a more open kitchen layout in our cramped small kitchen, which our new kitchen design is based on.

modern farmhouse kitchen with white cabinets, open shelving, square subway tile backsplash

You might be wondering where the fridge is now? We created a niche and moved it partially into an old closet space right by the kitchen. We bet you won’t recognize it! See it here. 

Kitchen Remodel Idea 2: bring your favorite kitchen design styles into the details

Our favorite kitchen design style is a blend of fresh modern, farmhouse, and colorful bohemian. Our old kitchen has a no-style, so that has to change. πŸ™‚

changing old kitchen layout

We used white IKEA kitchen cabinets with farmhouse sink, butcher block countertop, and white square subway tiles to create a bright modern farmhouse style.

I am also a huge fan of Anthropologie and boho styles,  as you can see in the mint colored fridge (below), brushed gold hardware, and the faux “cement tile” wall (  tutorial coming soon!)

new bohemian style room with anthropologie style mint fridge inspired by SMEG fridge
Tutorial on how we transformed the old fridge easily for $20!

Remember the big old fridge? It got a makeover too. We not only changed the fridge location, we also change the look of it! Here’s the tutorial on how we transformed the old fridge easily for $20!

Idea 3: More usable kitchen countertop space

Having enough kitchen counter space in the right places will make a kitchen much more user friendly. In a small kitchen it is even more important.

kitchen layout before : small kitchen with tile countertop

Instead of having only one big usable counter area on the peninsula, we now have two really nice big counter areas on either side of the sink, and will have even more: we put in a kitchen island on wheels in the design phase, and we are actually building it right now, so stay tuned!

white ikea kitchen with farmhouse sink and butcherblock countertop

Kitchen Renovation Idea 4: better materials for functions and style

Our old tile kitchen countertop and porcelain kitchen sink were among the first things we wanted to change. The tile grout joints and white porcelain sink would get dirty easily, and things break a lot in the porcelain sink.

kitchen design step one: move fridge

We updated the kitchen with warmer, softer, and easier to clean materials that contribute to a modern farmhouse kitchen, like maple butcher block countertop and a farmhouse sink!

beautiful farmhouse sink and butcherblock countertop in ikea kitchen with boho anthropologie style decor

We love our Zuhne 33″ stainless steel farmhouse sink with the beautiful faucet and range hood.  I will share more about our farmhouse sink and how to care for a butcher block countertop soon, and link to them here.

Idea 5: improve kitchen storage space and organization

A small kitchen often needs is storage space. One of the things we love about our IKEA kitchen is more and better organized storage spaces.

small kitchen storage with ikea pantry cabinet

IKEA kitchen cabinets are really well designed with better kitchen storage in mind. In addition to maximizing all the kitchen upper and base cabinets, we added a tall IKEA pantry cabinet and it really has made such a difference! We will soon be sharing a series of tutorials on how to design and install IKEA kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Makeover Idea 6: update kitchen lighting

removing fluorescent lights to update kitchen lighting

Can you see the fluorescent lights with a sheet of plastic cover in our old kitchen ? The cover is quite unattractive and the light quality felt cold.

modern farmhouse style rang hood cover with shiplap

We changed them to recessed LED lighting, which has a minimal profile. What a difference! Now our Kitchen lighting is bright, warm, energy efficient , and the look is a thousand times better than the plastic cover!

Kitchen Remodel Idea 7: change kitchen doors to kitchen drawers

small kitchen with porcelain sink

Another great way to create more efficient storage spaces is to use more drawers in the base cabinets. Although drawers require more cost and labor, they are worth it! Everything is a lot more accessible in deep drawers, vs deep shelves.

boho kitchen decor , stainless farmhouse sink and butcherblock countertop in white ikea kitchen remodel

We replaced almost all the doors with drawers in our base kitchen cabinets. We love that fact that IKEA kitchen drawers are quite easy to assemble and install. They are also well designed with matching storage containers and trays you can put inside the drawers.

Kitchen Remodeling Idea 8: the wonderful open shelving

There is a reason that almost everyone loves open shelving in kitchen, or anywhere. They look inviting, and they offer fun creative opportunities to decorate with seasonal and personal treasures.

farmhouse ikea kitchen with boho anthropologie style kitchen decor, open shelving, and butcherblock countertop

Hubby wasn’t so enthusiastic about open shelves at first because we love the doors and windows open all the time, and open shelving could get dusty. Luckily, I was able to sneak in some DIY open shelving above the range hood, and in the corner where a pipe is in the way of the IKEA cabinet hanging rail.

Now he uses the open shelves daily as his coffee station, and loves it. The verdict: we are having MORE open shelving in our next kitchen! πŸ˜‰

DIY modern colorful farmhouse kitchen remodel before & after with IKEA kitchen cabinets , farmhouse sink, butcherblock counter top

Stay tuned for our upcoming kitchen remodel series with lots of DIY tutorials, helpful tips, and design ideas!

Other kitchen makeovers ideas you may also love:

Sometimes all you need is paint! Check out our 25 favorite kitchen paint colors (with names!) to choose from!

Transform your kitchen easily with 25 beautiful kitchen cabinet colors and favorite designer kitchen paint color combos from farmhouse to modern glam! Paint color names for each kitchen with great designer tips! - A Piece of Rainbow

This DIY pallet kitchen is totally inspiring! See it here! 

Happy creating! See you next week!

Check out the updated list of our kitchen remodel tutorials here!


  1. Beautiful kitchen before and after! We are planning to remodel our kitchen soon, and your ideas have helped a lot!

  2. It’s literally amazing. I love how the changes it creates. How the storage being maximize , how the ridge move and use up all the ideas to have more spacious and very amazing kitchen. It gives me more ideas what should i do with my kitchen once I started remodeling it. This is very much helpful

  3. Did you use everything from IKEA for your kitchen design? We are thinking of using the bases and having custom fronts made.

  4. Just checking to see where or which butcher block countertops you used. Did they come from Ikea as well?

  5. You did a superb job on renovating the old kitchen and updating it with fresh and bright design ideas. The wall paper was a surprising touch and it worked.

  6. I love the wall paper and the color on the fridge. I read how you painted the fridge. I have a tiny tiny kitchen in new house and fridge is over how yours now is. Not much I can do with it but I do not want to rip anything out just yet. House built in 1850. But farmhouse sink is one of my ideas. But the wallpaper is so bright and cheerful.

    • hi jody, thank you! πŸ™‚ the “wall paper” is actually painted, tutorial coming soon! there’s a lot we can change with just paint!

  7. Beautiful! You did a great job and it looks just wonderful. I agree about drawers being more user friendly. Easier to get to everything. We are moving and remodeling both the old and the new kitchens and are looking forward to your future tips. We love IKEA items….they are easy to assemble and make you feel so creative. Thanks for sharing your great pictures.

  8. There is so much you can do and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money. You’re very creative, I love your ideas and your new kitchen! And also the fact that you have such great light in it. These wooden tops are the best thing. in my opinion, and the open shelving idea is awesome in some places (like you have it) but it wouldn’t be good to have it on the whole area.

  9. Your kitchen looks amazing! That’s such a transformation and it looks much more functional, too. We used Ikea kitchen cabinets to build a desk in our office and they look similar to these ones.

  10. Wow what a change! You guys did a greta job remodeling the kitchen, I love how it turned out, looks fanatastic

  11. OMG – what a radical change! You have done such an amazing job here. I know about Ikea’s kitchens but this is the first one I have actually seen put into place in an actual home. It looks stunning and I love how bright, modern and spacious it now looks.

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