The famous food writer M.F.K. Fisher once mused, “The problem of an ideal kitchen grows more complex as I ponder on it.” Indeed, with all of the choices to be made regarding kitchen makeovers, from hardware details to major appliances, creating your dream kitchen can feel like a huge undertaking, not to mention a major investment. Leave it to TikTok to disabuse you of the notion that you need an unlimited budget or an architecture degree to radically update your home’s cooking space though.
As the interior designers and DIYers of #DesignTok demonstrate, there is an abundance of options to fit every skill set and budget, rental homes included. Though it may take some craftiness and a bit of elbow grease (not to mention some tough decisions on where to splurge and where to save), it is doable. So, if you’re seeking inspiration for remodeling or renovating your kitchen—a place that fits your specific needs—here are seven TikTok creators with clever ideas for you.
White kitchens are timeless, but according to Kyla Herbes, the blogger behind House of Hipsters, they just need to be warmed up a bit. Incorporating materials like wood is one way to bring in a touch of warmth. “Layer in a couple of vintage breadboards against your backsplash, swap out your ceramic fruit bowl for a turned wood bowl,” Kyla suggests. “Or go all-in and add fluted wood paneling or wood slats to accent the wall or ceiling.”
For her impressive kitchen transformation, Kyla wanted to keep the existing all-white cabinets, both to minimize waste and rein in the budget. This motivated her to splurge on Buster + Punch brass pulls and stunning lighting from Hudson Valley Lighting—an Art Deco–inspired chandelier and a glass rod chandelier.
She balanced the cool cabinetry with earth-toned stones in the counters, backsplash, and a pièce de résistance island. The latter is a newer quartz design by Cambria called Clairidge, with tiger-like stripes of brown and tan. She adds, “It almost reminds me of coffee with milk.”
If anything’s clear from this brilliant remodel by Drew Scott, it’s that renting shouldn’t be an obstacle to building a dreamy kitchen. As Drew explains, “I wanted to create more of a statement within the space.” He recommends finding your kitchen’s unique elements and emphasizing them with decor or paint.
“I was in love with the arch opening leading into the breakfast nook and thought some bold wallpaper would be a perfect addition,” Drew says. “I took the design from there and added more black to all the window trim along with a new peel-and-stick backsplash in a rustic white brick. I also painted the underside of the arch black, so it looked like more of a focal point in the room.”
Indeed, renters who want to update their kitchens have an arsenal of tools to choose from. Drew emphasizes that “peel-and-stick tile and backsplash can be your best friend! Or, if you don’t like your floor, try utilizing peel-and-stick flooring.” He notes that cabinet hardware is another easy way to transform the cabinets without having to repaint, and finally, “swapping light fixtures and adding peel-and-stick wallpaper are other easy swaps that make all the difference.”
One of the tricky parts of doing your own remodel is estimating the costs ahead of time. Elena Lohse of This House 5000 has been sharing the renovation journey of her 1935 home in Toronto and occasionally gives her followers a peek at the price tags. Her page is a great resource for visualizing the components that go into updating a space, and discovering the art of mixing and matching splurges with budget-friendlier items.
For her kitchen remodel, Elena gave followers a breakdown of all the costs (“Thanks for the transparency!!! We need more TikToks like this,” replied one user), mixing Ikea cabinet boxes ($600) with custom drawers and cabinet fronts ($2500); quartz countertops, backsplashes, and a shelf ($9000) with additional wood shelving ($120), and more.
For Medina Grillo, the blogger and DIYer behind Grillo Designs, her old kitchen wasn’t a pain point per se, but she didn’t love spending time there either. Her remodel goal, she tells me, was to make the narrow and dark space more open and bright.
She replaced the dark countertop with a lighter laminate marble, switched to open shelving, added a KitKat tile backsplash, and put down new vinyl flooring—“Cheap, cheerful, and does the job,” she notes. The new wallpaper added a homey, floral touch, and, paired with a few other updates fully detailed on Medina’s blog, the result was a dramatic transformation.
But before getting started, Medina created a mood board, adding various colors, textures, and materials, to help streamline all of her ideas. Her favorite element of the updated kitchen is the stand-alone pantry cabinet. “It used to be a dated-looking vintage cabinet, and I upcycled it with some paint and added curtains for a more modern feel,” she adds.
David Lockridge’s account is overflowing with inspiration for home decorating and DIY (watch how he updates his bathroom with just tape and leftover black paint). He’s also a very proud #CleanTok influencer. “Please don’t walk on my vacuum lines,” he wrote in the caption of one video. But David’s kitchen transformation, on a $300 budget, is truly something to behold—and over four million viewers agree.
David and his wife started the process with a fresh coat of cabinet paint (Dover Gray by Glidden), updated hardware, and peel-and-stick backsplash tiles. But the real showstopper is the trompe l’oeil marble countertop. Using gray paint, some brushwork, and a glossy finish, David created marble-effect surfaces that brighten up the entire space.
The budget kitchen refresh from DIYer and thrifter Tamara Smith proves the power of a fresh coat of paint. With hues of eggshell, straw, and khaki, the former kitchen felt washed out. But with a few coats of Benjamin Moore Caldwell green for the cabinets and Rub ’n Buff Wax Metallic Finish in Antique Gold for the hardware, the color contrasts make the natural light from the casement windows feel even brighter. The resulting kitchen embodies vibes that are both homey and modern.
Interior designer Emily Shaw, who amassed millions of TikTok followers by documenting the transformation of her parent’s home, is an expert in DIY on a shoestring budget. For this stunning kitchen remodel, Emily’s goal was to update the space using as little time and money as possible. To do so, she preserved many of the original finishes and incorporated them into the new space. She also designed eye-catching custom shelving—without breaking the bank.
“I created industrial shelves using PVC pipe and brackets for a fraction of the price,” she explains. “It took a lot of research to find the correct attachments to make it secure, but when it was all in place, it turned out amazingly well and can support more than enough weight for anything [stored] there.”
Emily also recommends paying attention to lighting. “I think that lighting can make a much larger difference in a kitchen than people tend to acknowledge,” she says. “In this space, there was only one mount on the ceiling for a light fixture and it was not centered. Instead of paying to have it moved or more added, I utilized a fixture that has multiple bulb placement options with thrifted shades.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest