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12 Ways to Modernize Your Kitchen, According to Reddit Users

The Reddit peanut gallery has spoken. Here's what you need to do to modernize your kitchen.

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Lighten Up Everything

Reddit user Buildadoor purchased a 1930s Tudor home, posting a picture of the kitchen they would like to modernize.

“Lightening everything up is a great way to modernize, but to make everything ‘go,’ you’re going to have to be really thoughtful in picking your colors,” says Reddit user designdesigndesign11. “Maybe a light gray and white checkerboard floor, marble-look counters, and then a tile backsplash in any traditional pattern: subway, herringbone, etc.” If your home has any of these 12 features, it’s time for an update!

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Try a Gray-Washed Look on Cabinets

“My mom is redoing her kitchen,” says Reddit user hashtagmollyno. “She doesn’t like how rustic her cabinets are, but they’re high quality wood cabinets. How could we modernize without hurting the wood?”

DimeInPieces responds with: “You could do an oil based ‘wash’ over the cabinets that retains the woodgrain but gives them a white- or gray-washed look that is more contemporary. It doesn’t really harm the wood itself. There is a lacquer on the wood. The new finish simply sits on top of the lacquer.” We would add that you may need to sand the lacquer finish lightly to provide a proper surface for the gray-wash paint to adhere to. Here are 15 easy ways to get that modern house feel.

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Cover Old Cabinets With Vinyl

What do you do if you’re a renter and the landlord wants things, even the hideously old cupboards, to remain as-is?

“If you do not like the color of the cabinets, some relatively cheap sheets of vinyl would help cover them. You can get 5.5 sqm of good wrap for around $100 US,” suggests Reddit user Silverbug.”

Transform dated, worn-out cabinets into attractive new ones. This article shows kitchen cabinet refinishing techniques and how to instructions for replacing doors and hardware.

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Swap Out Frosted Glass With Clear Glass

Reddit user suckerpepperoni has a pretty modernized kitchen in comparison to some of the other ones on this list, but they’d still like to see some upgrades! One person suggests replacing the frosted glass in the cabinet doors with clear glass. “You can go to a store that cuts glass,” says Processtour, who advises that the cabinets will require nice, organized dishes inside since you’ll be able to see in.

“I like this idea and I think it’ll modernize the space immediately,” says another Reddit user. Check out these 15 mysterious old-home features that aren’t useful anymore.

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Change the Blinds to Shades

“I’m renting but I want to update this kitchen, help!” says Reddit user Steffany_w0525.

“The first thing is window treatments! Replace those blinds or clean them, and add some curtains or shades,” suggests quincy777. Another user suggests Roman shades. They’re a budget-friendly, easy way to modernize windows!

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Update the Lighting

“I’m a 27-year-old business professional who has little interior design sense. I would like to redo the kitchen of my new condo with a small budget if at all possible,” says Reddit user dat_persian.

Users had a lot to say about updating the lighting to modernize the kitchen. “Update the light over the sink to match your knobs and pulls,” suggests Reddit user writergeek. “And look into under-cabinet lighting to brighten it up.”

Another user suggests replacing “the light fixture above the sink with something more modern to match the floating shelves.”

Another user says: “After the backsplash is in, put in some under cabinet lighting. Lighting will make your kitchen feel bigger.”

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Remove the Valance Over the Sink

One of the things that dates this kitchen so much is surely the valance over the sink. Reddit users agree big time for this kitchen makeover!

“I think getting rid of the wavy pelmet above the window would make a huge difference,” says Joinourclub.

“I’d lose the wood around the window to open it up a bit more,” adds Junglist_grans.

So what could you do? How about hanging a nice pendant light over the sink and a cheery, light curtain!

A kitchen reno is a big project that brings loads of excitement and stress—especially when the vision falls short for lack of planning, poor construction or inexperience. Check out these 14 renovation fails that will make you cringe.

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Replace Tiled Countertops

Tiled countertops get a bad rap for being dated and difficult to keep clean. “Replace the awful tiled countertops with a butcherblock top, which will give the kitchen some warmth,” suggests Reddit user hausi22 for this kitchen renovation.

Another user agrees with changing up the countertops.”It needs some color or contrast, maybe some soapstone countertops and a coordinating back splash.” Here are a few ideas to upgrade your apartment kitchen.

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Update Ceiling Fixtures

“I bought a late 1940s built house. Everything looks like this. Starting the renos. Any ideas?” asks Reddit user givnerHundoP.

“You could update that ceiling fixture pretty easily to add a more modern vibe. Include a ceiling fan for ventilation. Track lighting above the sink would be a great add too,” suggests Reddit user mollybolly12.

Another user also suggests a new light fixture, among other updates. “I love mid-century Modern, so honestly wouldn’t change much except the flooring. A cobalt-blue tile backsplash, new light fixture, metal countertops and paint job in a contrasting bright color would bring it up to date.”

Better kitchen lighting doesn’t have to cost a fortune. These 5 upgrades—track lighting, under-cabinet lighting, recessed lighting, dimmers and better bulbs can all do the job without busting your budget.

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Remove Linoleum Flooring and Fix the Wood Floor Beneath

“What are ways in which you would update this 60s kitchen to bring it into the future?” asks Reddit user Watsac54.

Regarding flooring, one user says, “Depending on the age of the house and where you’re located, there might be wide plank fir floor under the sheet goods that are there now. Peel off the linoleum, sand and clearcoat, and bob’s your uncle.”

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Whitewash Wood-Planked Walls and Ceilings

If retro wood-planked walls and ceilings aren’t your thing, Reddit user murclur37 suggests whitewashing them. “You can whitewash the wood. It will really brighten up the space and you don’t end up with soul less drywall. My parents have a cottage that has wood planked walls and ceilings and that is what they did. It looks beautiful.”

Reddit user jessdb19 agrees. “This is exactly what I’d do (the white washing). Gives it a beautiful look, and you can use other colors than white…I’ve seen grays, creams and colors done lightly that just look heavenly.”

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Remove Railings Along Cabinet Tops

Space and simplicity is of the essence in a modern kitchen. That’s why so many Reddit users suggest people looking for help on kitchen renovations remove any cluttered-looking attributes. “Remove: all the railing along the tops of the cabinets, curtains, soffits if you can, and the glass-door cabinet above the peninsula,” suggests Reddit user ambe9. “If you’re replacing the range hood, I would definitely recommend removing the soffits and putting in a full chimney-style range hood rather than an under-cabinet one. You get a more open feel in the kitchen and those tiny upper cabinets are mostly useless anyway.”

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: