These Are the 17 Best Before-and-After Transformations We’ve Seen

Talk about instant gratification.

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You know how you feel like a whole new person after a fresh haircut? Multiply that emotion by 10 and you’ll understand what it’s like to complete a home renovation. Fortunately, you don’t have to live through one yourself to get that thrill of a total transformation. We’re on cloud nine just from looking at these before-and-after photosIn some cases, the changes are subtle—a coat of paint or new hardware gets the job done. Other projects dial up the drama by flipping the layout or adding square footage. But it’s not the scale that makes it great—it’s the vision. The 17 inspiring remodels below prove (almost) anything is possible. 

The 120-Square-Foot Kitchen

Designer Gabriela Gargano had quite a few challenges on her hands when it came time to renovate this Manhattan apartment: the overall lack of cupboards, closed-off floor plan, and outdated appliances to name a few. With little room to expand the footprint, the designer relocated the refrigerator in order to open a kitchen wall to the dining room and introduce counter seating as well as shallow cabinets. A shiny new range completes the picture-perfect makeover. 

The Finicky Landscape 

Meredith Marshall, a principal in renovation company Milkshake Los Angeles, learned an unexpected lesson in yard work when fixing up this Spanish-style house: Decomposed granite is trickier than it seems. After hiring a few different crews to pick up the extra piles of dirt that were spilling into the street, Marshall cleaned up the exterior with a crisp coat of white paint, desert-friendly plants, and a hot pink front door. 

The Moody Kitchen 

How did the duo behind the design blog Chris Loves Julia overhaul their Idaho Falls kitchen in just two weeks for $1,000 you ask? Knowing that replacing their countertops would send them over budget, the couple kept the dated stone and painted the backsplash a green-gray (the dark hue helps the granite fade into the background). 

The Ultra-Sleek Airstream

With just 200 square feet to work with, the owners of this Airstream managed to create a mid-century–modern space inspired by Mad Men. A wood wall finish inspired by that found in 1950s Spartan trailers gives the whole space a delightful retro feel. 

The Garden Oasis

Over the course of eight years (!), Whitney Leigh Morris transformed her tiny thoroughfare yard into a lush garden. A custom sofa, some gravel, and plenty of patience made the renovation possible.

The Bright, Open Cabin

This A-frame cabin wasn’t always light-filled and relaxing. Shannon Wilkins worked with the building’s wood ceiling and contrasted it with white walls and cabinets—she even painted the floors.

The Beachy Bathroom

Mosaic tilework puts this tiny powder room straight into seaside villa territory. Designer Mandi Johnson completely gutted the space, transforming it from dated and dingy to easy-breezy. Plus, how fun is that lemon yellow retro sink? 

The Light and Bright Kitchen

Photo by Sugar & Cloth

Photo by Sugar & Cloth

One thing Ashley Rose of Sugar & Cloth didn’t want to lose in her kitchen renovation was the open feel of the space. But while she kept the roominess, she revamped pretty much everything else to make it a modern retreat she’d actually want to hang out in. IKEA-hacked cabinets, sleek bronze hardware, and a blush pink appliance closet make this a prime example of form meets function. 

The Little but Luxe Bathroom  

photo courtesy of lynne bradley

What this Sydney bathroom lacks in size it makes up for in finishes. Designer Lynne Bradley scratched the ’80s vibe for a custom double vanity, complete with a pink pavé marble wall and rosy sinks. 

The Breezy Kitchen

photo courtesy of the chris and claude co.

Pro renovators Chris and Claudia Beiler managed to shift the layout of this Lancaster, Pennsylvania, kitchen to an L-shape without completely altering its footprint. The rearranged space now accommodates new appliances and a sit-down breakfast bar. They also replaced the bulky upper cabinetry by the sink with salvaged wood shelves to further emphasize the open and airy feel.

The Spanish-Style Home With Good Bones

photo courtesy of nancy scheinholtz

What you can’t see from just looking at the photos of this Spanish Revival home is that architect Nancy Scheinholtz had to totally realign the roof so that the original wood beams met over the center of the fireplace. She then resurfaced the brick and scrapped the ’70s built-ins for a clean finish that accentuates the house’s soaring ceilings. 

The Bespoke Kids’ Bathroom

photo courtesy of jenny komenda

Designer Jenny Komenda gutted just about everything in her daughter’s bathroom (brick veneer included), opting for timeless white subway tile walls, brass wall sconces, and herringbone-pattern floors. 

The Farmhouse-Fresh Bedroom

photo courtesy of brittany chinaglia

There are just some colors you should never paint a bedroom—and neon orange is one of them. Vintage Rug Shop founder Brittany Chinaglia traded in her carrot-colored walls for white shiplap so she can rest easy at night. 

The Vintage Cookhouse 

photo courtesy of dee murphy

Dee Murphy took the charm of her classic 1920s kitchen to the next level with the addition of white terracotta tiles, a forest green range, and an assortment of display-worthy trinkets. But the pièce de résistance is the ceiling, which she covered with hardwood floorboards.

The Under-$1,000 Exterior 

photo courtesy of ashley petrone

The very first thing people notice about your home? Its curb appeal. With a few helping hands, blogger and renovator Ashley Petrone pulled off this quick exterior facelift in just two-and-a-half days. Going over the dingy beige facade with a coat of crisp white paint was definitely worth the mere $1,000 the project cost. 

The Kitchen With a Colorful Kick

photo courtesy of studio diy

There are three major pillars of a kitchen renovation: cabinetry, flooring, and countertops. Studio DIY founder Kelly Mindell and her husband, Jeff, tackled them all in their 120-square-foot space, which now features Dunn-Edwards’s Galveston Tan cupboards, aged-brass pulls by Semihandmade, and a black double sconce over the sink. 

The Spa-Like Retreat 

photo courtesy of anita yokota

Anita Yokota waited patiently for 10 years before deciding it was time to tackle her kids’ bathroom. A self-professed bathtub fiend and former therapist, the SoCal designer’s top priority was adding a freestanding tub and skylight to create a zen-like space. Mission accomplished.

This story was originally published earlier this month and has since been updated. 

See more stories like this: Before and After: A Canadian Home Gets a Polished Scandinavian Makeover This Tiny Bathroom Before and After Is Truly Jaw-Dropping We Can’t Decide Which of These Two Bathrooms We Love More

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.