Couple transforms 40-square-foot kitchen into dream space

Because you have so much less to work with, even small spaces can cause the biggest renovation stress. This DIY project proves it. 

New York couple Nick and Maegan Neubeck just recently bought a small fixer-upper in Grahamsville, New York. The home needed major repairs -- and the two often left their cozy Brooklyn apartment on weekends to tackle their new venture. 

"We chose to embark on this pretty much on our own. We're having a little help from a contractor to do the sheetrock and stuff," Nick said, according to Delish

Related: These are our dream kitchens

13 PHOTOS
12 fabulously colorful kitchens
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12 fabulously colorful kitchens

Colorful accent pillows and side tables certainly make an impact when it comes to giving your home some pop, but taking on a whole room with a distinct color scheme in mind is a whole other story. And as long as you’re up for the challenge, why not go for the unexpected by focusing on the kitchen. Here, we’ve zoomed in on a dozen of our favorite vibrant spaces to get you inspired. Some make a striking statement with a single bold shade across cabinets and appliances, while others use small-scale accents like rugs and bar stool upholstery to clever effect. All do a marvelous job of catching the eye.


Shown: The kitchen is the hub of this Illinois house devised by Carlene Nolan Pederson and flows into the family dining area, where the designer placed a trapezoidal table she created for the space.

Photo: Steve Hall

Architectural and interior designer Beth Klomparens combined the kitchen and the dining area of a Manhattan apartment so that her client, who enjoys informal entertaining, can cook without leaving her guests. Klomparens incorporated a fireplace using an existing chimney.

Photo: Scott Frances

In Dave DeMattei and Patrick Wade's California home of their own design, a Charles Edwards light fixture is suspended above the kitchen's marble-top island; marble subway tiles are used for the backsplash behind the Viking range and hood, and the open shelves display an assortment of ceramic pitchers and serving pieces.

Photo: William Waldron

The kitchen in a historic Greenwich Village townhouse designed by Stephan Jaklitsch and Richard McGeehan is outfitted with walnut cabinetry and a mirrored backsplash. The Sub-Zero refrigerator has customized lacquer panels, the range is by Bertazzoni, and the sink fittings are by Waterworks.

Photo: William Waldron

Custom-glazed subway tiles wrap the kitchen walls in a Long Island home decorated by Steven Gambrel. Along with 1930s aluminum pendant lamps and a Beaux Arts–style clock, the space boasts a Lacanche range, a RangeCraft hood, and barstools from Sundance Catalog; the sink fittings are by Michael S. Smith for Kallista.

Photo: Gili Oberto

Architect and decorator David Mann equipped a New York kitchen with custom-made stainless-steel cabinetry and counters that he offset with walnut shelves.

Photo: Nikolas Koenig

Czech chairs from the 1930s are grouped around a Jean Dunand marble table in the kitchen of decorator Muriel Brandolini's Manhattan brownstone. The perforated cabinets were custom made by City Joinery; the range is by Viking.

Photo: Pieter Estersohn

A Gracie metal-leaf wallpaper lines the kitchen ceiling of a San Francisco pied-à-terre by Thomas Britt; the range is by Amana.

Photo: Roger Davies

In a Manhattan duplex penthouse by ODA-Architecture, the kitchen’s red-lacquer cabinetry and stainless-steel counters and backsplash are by Snaidero; the cooktop is by La Cornue, the sink fittings are by KWC, and the stools are by de Sede.

Photo: Anthony Cotsifas

The kitchen of an apartment designed by Mark Gilette inside a 300-year-old English country estate is outfitted with an Aga range; the counter stools are covered in a Pierre Frey fabric.

Photo: Luke White

Keeping watch over decorator Pedro Espírito Santo’s kitchen in Lisbon, Portugal are a 17th-century statue of Saint Francis of Assisi (far left) and a 19th-century Italian porcelain figure (on the marble island); the decorative tiles are 18th-century azulejos.

Photo: Bjorn Wallander

Pendant lights from Ann-Morris Antiques hang from the pressed-tin ceiling in the kitchen of a Montana retreat by designer Michael S. Smith; the breakfast area is furnished with rod-back Windsor chairs, and the range is by Viking.

Photo: Roger Davies

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While the rest of the home's projects went seamlessly, the kitchen needed a lot of work. At only 40-square-feet, it provided quite the challenge for the couple, both of whom were eager to complete the project themselves. Problems within the minimal space were exacerbated by old appliances, rusting parts and dark cabinets.

It was almost claustrophobic.

If that wasn't bad enough, parts of the home were inaccessible due to the inefficient design. But with a little TLC, the couple was able to pull off the ultimate small-space renovation. 

Watch the video above to see how the whole project came together! 

Related: DIY projects to tackle at home 

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DIY home decor: 7 projects that are worth the (minimal) effort
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DIY home decor: 7 projects that are worth the (minimal) effort

​MID CENTURY DAYBED 

Okay, so I don’t have a guest bedroom, and definitely won’t anytime soon, but when I do, I think this mid century daybed is definitely the way to go. To sum it up: 1. Cover your box spring with a cute cover or sheet. 2. Attach mid century legs. 3. You’re done. There are no more steps. 

GENIUS. 

This would also be a great solution for a studio apartment, just sayin’  

Image via Sugar & Cloth

GOLD PATTERN DESK ORGANIZERS 

Desks always seem to collect knick-knacks, so whether you just need a place to house all your loose items, or you need a mechanism to store your office supplies, these little gold catch-alls are the perfect solution

(Cough. I don’t actually have a desk yet, but when I DO, these are going to be high on my priority list!)  

Image via homeyohmy 

LEATHER & WOOD COAT RACK 

This DIY coat rack is something I’m pretty sure Dot & Bo would sell for like $400. Except the pieces of wood are basically broomsticks you can buy at the hardware store, with a bit of leather wrapping. I mean, really? Please be easier. DIY home decor at it’s finest, guys. I’m determined to find a place for this to go in my apartment. 

Image via A Pair and a Spare

EASY CRATE STORAGE

I’m not even sure this can be considered a DIY seeing as it doesn’t require any steps, but isn’t that the best kind anyway!? 

I love the idea of using wooden crates as shelves on a desk. You could also hang them on the wall! I’m secretly thinking of doing this in our bathroom, but I haven’t shared this with Neal yet. (Shhhh.) 

Image via A Pair and a Spare 

DIPPED FLATWARE 

This dipped flatware DIY is an amazing solution for that old second set of silverware you’ve got lying around. Wouldn’t it be cute for entertaining, or a BBQ? And so easy too–just dip, hang, and dry! 

Image via Lovely Indeed 

DIY NEON WORD LIGHT 

I can’t get over how easy this is, and why I had never thought of this previously! Who knew making your own neon word light would be such a snap. 

Although I’m afraid I wouldn’t know which word to use. I think “hello” is a safe bet though, don’t you think? Which word would you go with? 

Image via I Spy DIY 

DIY GOLD LEAF CLIPBOARDS 

And finally, the little beauties you saw above–gold leaf clipboards! I think this is such a fun way to hang art on your walls, and a great example of how something super simple can make a huge impact! (OR it would make a great little gift, don’t you think?) 

Image via Lovely Indeed

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