An Ikea kitchen renovation: from a falling apart space with poor work-flow to a clean, inviting, and very functional kitchen.A great DIY IKEA kitchen remodel with a few custom parts. Lots of tips on how they did it.

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In planning our upcoming kitchen remodel, I went to visit some friends who recently remodeled their kitchen with Ikea cabinets. It was mostly a DIY job, and it turned out beautifully. They shared some of their before and during construction photos with me, so we can see the process they went through.

The kitchen used to be a small, dysfunctional space with some structural issues. The appliances felt like they were in the wrong space, and nothing flowed.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

You can see the space where the old fridge went. Not only was the space way too small for a modern refrigerator, but it was pushed into the corner. Very inconvenient.

So, the first demolition was to rip out the cabinets around the space to make room for their fridge. This won’t be the fridge’s final location, but at least now they can have fresh food.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

An old electric range used to stick out into the center of the kitchen on a peninsula. I can’t imagine how unsafe that must have been with children around. I’d probably burn myself walking through the kitchen while a burner was still hot.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

The oven was a separate unit that was also poorly placed. You can also see the arched doorway that is the only access to the dining room. The arch looked cool, but the walk-through was very narrow, and it closed off the kitchen. That was the next change.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

They tore out the old cabinets, oven, and stove. Then they opened up that doorway by tearing down the wall to the studs. They also removed all the old layers of vinyl flooring and made some structural repairs in the floor.

Next, the walls were painted a beautiful buttery-yellow color that makes the kitchen feel warm and inviting all year long. And, with the sub-floor repaired, they started laying the new black and white tiles, which make a very eye-catching checkered pattern.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

They also added a new outlet. Since this wall is near the dining room, where everyone will eat, this is the perfect place for the refrigerator.

Here’s the finished floor. Beautiful.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

Next came the appliances. The fridge was put into it’s correct spot, and the new range was placed on the center of the adjacent wall. Both will be surrounded by cabinets.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

Here’s the base cabinets being installed. I think this is my favorite picture because you can see that they were still living here and using this kitchen. This was not a quick project. It took months. And they made each change work while still being able to use the kitchen. That gives me hope for our future remodel.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

The next two panoramic photos show the base cabinets being finished and the butcher block countertop installed.Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodel

Before, after, and the progress of a midcentury kitchen remodelWhen I asked my friends their favorite part of the kitchen, the husband said it was countertops, especially the seam between the two pieces. They hired someone to install the countertops, and he was really impressed with how well that joint was put together. This is saying something, because he had previously spent a few years working for a custom-cabinet maker. (Note to self: hire someone to install countertops; it’s not a DIY project).The perfectly aligned seam in a butcher blocker countertop

They also added two custom cabinets. Since the husband had worked for a custom cabinet maker, he felt confident in taking a cabinet box from Ikea and cutting it down. The first is a rack for pans and cutting boards.

Custom cabinet in an IKEA kitchen remodel

The other is a spice rack located near the stove. I love this cabinet. I need to figure out if we can do it in our kitchen. Custom cabinet in an IKEA kitchen remodel

Good lighting is important in any room, but it’s necessary in the kitchen. They removed the small, old fixture in the center of the room and installed recessed lighting throughout the kitchen.

Recessed lighting in the kitchen

They also added under-cabinet lights on a separate switch. These lights were from Home Depot because they liked the quality.

Install under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen

They decided not to add a barrier on the bottom of the cabinets to hide the lights. The kitchen has very simple, modern lines, and an extra board at the bottom would have changed that look. The under-cabinet lights do show a little, but you only notice them if you’re looking for them. Install under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen

Here’s the finished wall with the fridge. It actually takes up less space than the previous wall with the oven (which makes the kitchen bigger), and it fits with a modern-sized fridge.

A DIY IKEA kitchen renovation

In the last picture and this next one, you can see the sides of the large opening to the dining room. (I wish I’d gotten a better picture of it). The flow from preparing food to serving and eating food works really well now. Although the dining room is separate from the kitchen, it feels like one space.

A DIY IKEA kitchen renovation

Also, in this picture, you can see that the kitchen is not quite finished yet. Our homes are always a work in progress, right? They still need to put a frame around the window and door to finish them. But this kitchen now functions well. It has a good work triangle, flows well with the rest of the house, and looks inviting and clean.

A DIY IKEA kitchen renovation

I hope you had fun looking at this kitchen with me. It gets me excited and motivated to work on our kitchen. I’m working on planning the layout, and I hope to share it soon.