Stunning 90s Home Kitchen Updates (Before and After)

Four 90s Kitchen Remodel Ideas for 2024

Touches of warm grey and soft white throughout this kitchen paired perfectly with the oil-rubbed bronze finishes for this 1990s kitchen update.

The 1990s doesn’t seem too far in the past. But the home styles of that decade were distinct and didn’t exactly land in the “timeless” category. Tuscan kitchen designs, ultra-earthy tones, oak cabinets and floors, and more were common. If you’ve got a kitchen that was finished in the heyday of that time period, you’re probably dying to update your 1990s kitchen. Read to see 4 stunning 90s Home Kitchen Updates!

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RELATED: 9 Modern Kitchen Design Ideas with Honey Oak Cabinets

Today, we’re highlighting four of our 1990s kitchen projects. We’re talking all about how we created updates that really packed a punch and made a huge difference in hour our clients lived in their new space everyday. Read along for inspiration and get ready to transform your own space into one you absolutely love.

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From dull and cramped spaces to stylish and functional culinary havens, these kitchen updates prove that a complete remodel is more than just a cosmetic enhancement; it’s a game-changer for your lifestyle. Discover the reasons behind the decision to revamp these kitchens entirely – whether it’s to embrace contemporary aesthetics, improve functionality, or enhance overall home value. Read along for inspiration and get ready to transform your own space into one you absolutely love.

In the 1990s, kitchen design and trends were influenced by a combination of factors including technology, and lifestyle. Here are some common trends in a 90s kitchen:

  • Oak: particularly honey oak or golden oak cabinets were common in 90s kitchens, providing a warm and traditional look. Natural maple was also quite popular. These cabinets were often paired with faux brass, shiny gold hardware.
  • Laminate Countertops: Laminate countertops, often in beige, were prevalent in 90s kitchens. 
  • Floral Prints and Patterns: Floral patterns and grapevine prints were popular in 90s kitchen decor, appearing on wallpaper, and matching window valances and placemats!
  • Appliance Colors: White appliances were standard in 90s kitchens, although black appliances also gained popularity towards the end of the decade. Stainless steel appliances started to emerge as a trendsetter.

Why should you update your 1990s kitchen? 5 reasons to take the remodel plunge!

1. Outdated Design: 

Many kitchens from the 90s are characterized by specific design trends that may now feel outdated. A complete remodel allows you to bring your kitchen into the present with a fresh and modern aesthetic.

2. Improved Functionality: 

90s kitchens often have layouts that may not suit contemporary lifestyles. Think little desks and awkward corner pantries. Remodeling provides an opportunity to optimize the space, creating a more functional and efficient kitchen that caters to your specific needs. 

3. Increased Storage Space: 

Older kitchens might lack the storage capacity needed for modern living. A remodel allows for the incorporation of innovative storage solutions, maximizing the use of space and reducing clutter.

4. Boosted Home Value: 

A modern, well-designed kitchen significantly adds to the overall value of your home. If you’re considering selling in the future, a 90s kitchen remodel can be a wise investment, attracting potential buyers and increasing resale value.

5. Personalization: 

Your kitchen should reflect your personal style and preferences. Remodeling allows you to infuse your personality into the design, making the space uniquely yours. From color schemes to cabinet styles, customization options are vast.

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There are so many ways to transition your space into that modern kitchen you crave. 

Are you ready to step into the world of stunning 90s home kitchen updates? Prepare to be amazed as we take you on a journey through transformative before and after images that showcase the power of a kitchen remodel. In today’s fast-paced world, the kitchen has evolved beyond just a space for cooking; it’s the heart of the home, where memories are made and conversations flow freely.

Remodeling your kitchen completely isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating a space that aligns with your lifestyle, enhances functionality, and adds value to your home. Whether it’s updating outdated appliances, maximizing storage, or simply giving your kitchen a fresh, modern look, there are countless reasons why a complete kitchen remodel is worth considering. So, join us as we explore the possibilities and inspiration behind stunning 90s home kitchen updates!

90s-oak-kitchen-oak-floors

Kitchens of the 90s and even early 2000s are chock full of oak cabinets AND oak hardwood floors, loaded with outdated Tuscan vibes, and often times there’s 90s era kitchen trends that aren’t useful for today’s families. Think little desks and awkward corner pantries.

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Green Heights Trail

BEFORE

The lake home called out for a modern makeover, especially its kitchen! The homeowners were excited about giving it a contemporary remodel to blend seamlessly with the tranquil beauty just outside its windows.

Over the years, the previous owners of this home tried to update their kitchen. But unfortunately, the room was covered in 1990s style, outdated appliances and unappealing earth tones. Paint and hardware could only go so far. Oak cabinets, rusty red walls, and brown granite took center stage. The finishes were all mix & match styles and metals that appeared disconnected and unfinished.

Oak cabinets and brown granite kept this kitchen stuck in the 1990s.

Orangey oak cabinets and brown granite kept this kitchen stuck in the 1990s.

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The darker earth tones in this kitchen made the space feel dark despite the large windows.

The deep earth tones in this kitchen made the space feel dark despite the large windows.

The island in this kitchen was functional, but rather than creating space, it felt crowded because of the dark colors.The island in this kitchen was functional, but rather than creating space, it felt crowded because of the dark colors.

1990s-style light fixtures and appliances made this kitchen a mix-and-match room that lacked cohesiveness.1990s-style light fixtures and appliances made this kitchen a mix-and-match room that lacked cohesiveness.

RELATED: How to Update Your 90s Era Lighting

AFTER

Our goal was to brighten everything up and keep a cohesive classic vibe. Doing this, we knew we could completely shift the look and feel of the kitchen. Out went the oak cabinets and the outdated colors. In came new cabinets in creamy white paired with a soft grey center island in an upgraded and refined shape (with plenty of storage beneath). The granite countertops blended warm and cool tones, and a warm grey backsplash connected the space.

AFTER – FINISHES

For finishes, we kept things simple and classic. We used oil-rubbed bronze for the faucet, light fixtures, and cabinet hardware. Paired with this, we opted for sleek stainless-steel appliances with the refrigerator hidden behind cabinet panels for a sleek and bright look. Overall, the kitchen became a visual beauty. And beyond that, it was also a space with plenty of room to comfortably enjoy day-to-day tasks.

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A soft light gray kitchen island pulled a touch of coolness into this space, offering contrast to the warm white surrounding cabinets. Design by: Carla Bast

A hidden refrigerator was positioned behind custom cabinet panels, giving the kitchen a cohesive and bright white look.A hidden refrigerator was positioned behind custom cabinet panels, giving the kitchen a cohesive and bright white look. Design by: Carla Bast 

VIEW MORE ON THIS STUNNING TRANSFORMATION: Project Reveal – Prior Lake Remodel and Addition

Nevada Avenue

BEFORE

The oak cabinets, dark color scheme, and outdated countertops had to go. But beyond that, what this space needed more than anything was to be opened up. Separate dining spaces were popular in the 1990s. However, the open layouts of contemporary design are much more user-friendly in today’s world. For this renovation project, our goal was to open up the whole kitchen and dining space to create a modern look.

This separate formal dining room was spacious but felt disconnected from the activity of the kitchen (and as a result, was not used as much).

This separate formal dining room was spacious but felt disconnected from the activity of the kitchen (and as a result, was not used as much).

In this 1990s-era kitchen, oak cabinets and laminate countertops took center stage, making the space feel bland and in need of a revamp.

In this 1990s-era kitchen, oak cabinets and laminate countertops took center stage, making the space feel bland and in need of a revamp.

Appliances lacked cohesion thanks to updates over the years, and the owners knew they wanted a more curated look that felt complete.Appliances lacked cohesion thanks to updates over the years, and the owners knew they wanted a more curated look that felt complete.

RELATED: How to Work with Your Honey Oak to Update Your 90s Home

AFTER

What a change! Opening up the dividing wall between the kitchen and dining room was a big change for our clients in how they lived in the space each day. This connected each area and increased movement throughout the space. We opted for a clean look with dark stained cabinetry for a sophisticated look. Then we contrasted these with a warm white kitchen island (and plenty of extra seating!). We chose finishes and hardware in stainless steel and brushed nickel. Furthermore, our new lighting featured clear pendants above the island to keep things feeling light and airy. From cramped to classic, the remodel instantly transformed this kitchen.

Stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel finishes kept things cohesive and classic in this 1990s kitchen update.Stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel finishes kept things cohesive and classic in this kitchen. Design by: Carla Bast Design

A coffee bar offered an extra storage nook in this kitchen, using wall space strategically and functionally.

A coffee bar offered an extra storage nook in this kitchen, using wall space strategically and functionally with open shelving. Design by: Carla Bast Design

RELATED: How to Determine Your Kitchen Remodeling Budget

Oak Drive

BEFORE

This kitchen was open to the adjoining dining and living room spaces. Yet it was still outdated with its light maple wood cabinets, dark granite, and sharp angles. The green walls were a bit too warm and muted as well. Overall, the space needed a contemporary upgrade.

Warm green walls and light warm cabinets kept this kitchen feeling a bit too 1990s in style.

Warm green walls and light warm cabinets kept this kitchen feeling a bit too 1990s in style.

An open layout was convenient for this home’s owners, but the sharp angles and dark tones made the space feel cramped.

An open layout was convenient for this home’s owners, but the cumbersome island configuration gave it a dated look.

Black countertops were a bit too much of a contrast against the warm wood cabinets, and made the space feel much smaller than it was.

Black granite countertops were a bit too much of a contrast against the warm wood cabinets, and made the space feel much smaller than it was. The awkward divider wall on the island further closed off the space and limited the island usability.

RELATED: What Flooring Goes with Oak Cabinets?

AFTER

We kept the general layout the same. After all, the biggest need in this kitchen was a brighter aesthetic and more contemporary finishes. So, we opted for a modern farmhouse look. We installed a reclaimed wood island, a built-in dining banquette, bright white subway tile for the backsplash, and warm white cabinetry. The result was a bright and airy space that felt both open and fresh and tied in seamlessly with the living space.

RELATED: Are White Kitchens Timeless or Trendy?

Warm white cabinets paired with bright white subway tile instantly made this remodeled kitchen feel lighter and more open for this 1990s kitchen update.Warm white cabinets paired with bright new tile instantly made this remodeled kitchen feel lighter and more open. Design by: Carla Bast 

Reclaimed wood pops in the dining room table and built-in bench seating gave this kitchen a modern farmhouse aesthetic.

Reclaimed wood pops in the dining room table and built-in bench seating gave this kitchen a modern farmhouse aesthetic. Design by: Carla Bast 

A focus on lighter hues in this newly remodeled kitchen helped the already-open layout feel even more welcoming and spacious.A focus on lighter hues in this newly remodeled kitchen with glass front upper cabinets helped the already-open layout feel even more welcoming and spacious. Design by: Carla Bast

RELATED: Subway Tile Inspiration

Pheasant Ridge Road

BEFORE

This kitchen had some nice elements. But our clients wanted to ditch the two-tiered kitchen peninsula and closed off layout. There was ample room to cook, certainly, in the original design. Yet, the space still felt outdated and too dark. And as we know, that was a hallmark trend combination of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The owners of this outdated kitchen wanted to open things up and make the space feel more contemporary overall.

A center kitchen island coffee bar took up a lot of floor space in this 1990s-style kitchen.

A center kitchen island coffee bar took up a lot of floor space in this 1990s-style kitchen.

A two-tiered kitchen peninsula made the countertop space feel diminished and blocked the view around the room.

A two-tiered kitchen peninsula made the countertop space feel diminished and blocked the view around the room.

RELATED: Modern Countertop Colors for Honey Oak Kitchens

AFTER

We made some significant changes in the layout to create an open floor plan and a fresh look to this ’90s kitchen. We first replaced the peninsula with a more contemporary rounded island. This eliminated the extra tier in the process. As a result, the countertop was much wider and the view was not blocked. In addition, we completely eliminated the center coffee kitchen island. Instead, we created a coffee nook in the corner where the pantry used to be, increasing the floor space.

AFTER – COLOR PALETTE

And finally, we brightened everything up with white kitchen cabinets, stainless steel and brushed nickel finishes, and a classic subway tile backsplash. With a gray paint color to contrast it all, it became an instant family favorite. It was fit for everything from cooking, to entertaining, to family gatherings. For more information about choosing paint colors for your check out our Best Paint Colors for your 90s-Era Home blog post.

A new rounded kitchen island with ample seating gave this kitchen a contemporary and open vibe.A new rounded kitchen island with ample seating gave this kitchen a contemporary and open vibe. Design by: Carla Bast

Bright white countertops were built around a farmhouse-style sink for a classic and timeless kitchen aesthetic.Bright white countertops were built around a farmhouse-style sink for a classic and timeless kitchen aesthetic. Design by: Carla Bast 

All-white cabinets and backsplash were paired perfectly with a sleek grey quartz countertop for a classic look in this open kitchen.All-white cabinets and backsplash were paired perfectly with a sleek grey quartz countertop and high-quality appliances for a classic look in this open kitchen. Design by: Carla Bast 

A coffee nook was created to be both functional and stylish in this updated contemporary kitchen.

A coffee nook was created to be both functional and stylish in this updated contemporary kitchen. Design by: Carla Bast

RELATED: Simply White vs Chantilly Lace – Comparing 2 Top White Paint Colors

Embarking on a kitchen remodel is not just a visual transformation; it’s a journey towards a more functional, efficient, and personalized space. The before-and-after images showcase the incredible potential for change, reminding us that our kitchens should evolve with our lifestyles. From outdated styles to enhanced design features, each remodel decision contributes to creating a kitchen that truly reflects your style and caters to your needs. So, whether you’re dreaming of a sleek, modern look or seeking improved functionality, a complete kitchen remodel is sometimes the key to unlocking the full potential of your space. Say goodbye to the 90s and hello to a kitchen that not only looks stunning but also serves as the heart of your home in the best possible way!

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Ready to tackle that outdated 1990s-style kitchen design? Pull a bit of inspiration from these projects. I guarantee your home will feel brand new and exactly as you imagined it to be.

For even more 90s-era home transformation inspiration take a look HERE.

Cheers

Hi, I’m Carla

carla-bast-interior-designer-and-blogger

I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with an outdated home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

I’ve been honored to be featured in:

Real Homes

The Spruce

Apartment Therapy / Cubby

Twin Cities Luxury + Fashion

MSP Magazine

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Hunker

Home Crux

 

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14 Responses

    1. All of our designs are created to blend seamlessly to the rest of our clients homes. Check out the portfolio for more photos!

  1. I have a 90’s oak kitchen with the single arched doors…also, a LARGE stepped island, brown granite Can I update by painting island only and new one level island, or should cabinet doors be replaced too? So expensive! before

    1. Hello Jane!~ Yes, you certainly can only do part of your kitchen, the island would be a great place to add some color and contrast!

  2. I’m a huge fan of your idea of opening up spaces by getting rid of dividers and just making everything feel all the more spacious and liberating. I’m planning on hiring kitchen remodeling services to work on my childhood home and I’ll definitely have to steal that idea. I’ve always felt the place was cramped and too busy so it would be nice to go in the opposite direction and free it up a bit.

  3. Your design ideas are wonderful, Carla, We just moved and our kitchen is in need of a 90’s update. Wondering if you have any solutions for a U-shaped open concept kitchen with a sink that looks into the living room? The kitchen is a nice size but the cabinets are very shallow and the drawers are extremely narrow. If you have any pictures you might be able to share that would be wonderful. If not, I totally understand. Thank you.

    1. Hello J. Klein, Thank you for your kind words! I’m afraid without having photos and a general overview of the spaces I can’t make a recommendation. However, I do have an affordable Q & A Service that might interest you. Take a look at the Service page and go to “eDesign” > “View eDesign Services” > “Ask Me Anything Q & A” for more information.

    1. Thank you! Be watching for more 1990s home updating ideas and check out our 90s Home category for other recently posted articles on this subject!

  4. Thanks for the tip about how I should focus on lighter hues when it comes to updating the look for my kitchen. I plan to look for a good kitchen showroom soon because I’m thinking about having a minor home renovations soon. The kitchen will be the one affected the most by that because I really want to give it a more modern look.

  5. I don’t want to update to grey and white. Everything in the past 10 years has been grey!! If I go with grey I think I’m dating my home as a 2010 house which is still dated. How do I refresh without making my kitchen grey and white?

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