A Dark And Dated Kitchen Gets A Bright, Budget-Friendly Transformation

Rashida and Jasen Banks turned their kitchen into a fresh and inviting space.

“I wanted the kitchen to feel as if it’s always been here, even though it’s new,” says Washington, D.C., interior designer Rashida Banks . The room presented plenty of opportunities for updates, from the lackluster lighting to the basic cabinetry. When renovating this galley kitchen, Rashida’s main goal was making low-cost but dramatic changes to create a functional space with plenty of natural light. Inspired by the historic appeal of the Brooklyn, New York, brownstone that she grew up in and her love of modern, European-style cottages, she set out to bring her design dreams to life. Here are her best renovation secrets for making a small kitchen live large.

Rashida Banks' kitchen

Keyanna Bowen

Consider Where You Spend

“It’s not a big space, so we were able to splurge in a few areas,” says Rashida, but she and Jasen also did a lot of the work themselves. Although they spent a bit more on unlacquered brass hardware from Rejuvenation , the husband-and-wife team installed affordable pullouts from The Container Store in the deep cabinets. They also saved money by replacing only the front panels rather than investing in custom millwork. The cabinets are painted in light-reflecting Creamy White (OC-7) by Benjamin Moore .

Rashida Banks
Rashida Banks.

Courtesy Rashida Banks

Opt For Contrast

When updating the surfaces, Rashida used low-maintenance white quartz , extending the peninsula countertop to the floor for a waterfall effect. She also swapped out the retro backsplash for off-white subway tile and replaced the flooring with a matte black option.

Rashida Banks' Kitchen before remodel
Before: The kitchen lacked a focal point and felt disjointed from the rest of the cheery house due to the dull colors of the flooring, cabinetry, and countertops.

Courtesy Rashida Banks

Draw The Eye

“The kitchen doesn’t get a lot of light and felt heavy, so I wanted to brighten it ,” she says. Switching out the white stock door for one from Andersen Windows with contrasting wood and more glass creates a focal point while bringing in the sun and warming up the neutral color palette.

Change Your Storage Philosophy

“The glass-front cabinet over the peninsula has an appliance garage below for housing my mixer,” says Rashida of the handy nook designed to hold kitchen gadgets. It’s her most-loved feature in the room.

Rashida Banks' Kitchen
Rashida brought in thrifted pieces, which are a great way to save money while personalizing a room.

Keyanna Bowen

Don’t Underestimate Tiny Tweaks

She added crown molding to help create the illusion that the cabinets extend all the way to the ceiling. For a more bespoke feel, Rashida moved the microwave to the inside of the peninsula and installed a sleek vent hood in its place.

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