A lackluster kitchen gets a fresh and fabulous new face with cosmetic updates and vintage farmhouse details.


This galley kitchen layout was roomy but the dark finish of the sturdy cabinetry sucked the light from the room and did nothing to minimize scratches and scuffs. Dark ceiling trim, dated light fixtures, and mismatched flooring contributed to the unwelcoming aspect.


Gallons of paint, organized storage, zesty fabrics, and character-rich collectibles create a cheerful work and gathering space that highlights the family’s love of vintage style. The color palette, suggested by the white, orange, and slate blue of the tile border, adds energy to the room.

Paired sets of china chickens, heirlooms from the kitchens of grandmothers, peck peacefully on counters and windowsill and repeat the bird motif found in the window treatment fabric.


The bright white paint is a cost-effective way to instantly brighten the kitchen. (Get a long-lasting and good-looking paint finish by following the steps outlined here.

Like jewelry on a new outfit, new chrome hinges, door pulls, and bin pulls from Amerock dress up the freshly finished cabinets. And since every room needs a touch of black, the dark countertops become a design advantage.


With blue banding echoing the detail in the tile border, this vintage-style lighting star in a polished nickel finish from Rejuvenation looks right at home in the center of our farmhouse kitchen. We replaced the old globe light over the sink with a recessed fixture.


Well-loved hand-me-downs such as these vintage glass canning jars add collected character to the fresh face of this country-style gathering spot.


To keep the room light and bright, the window treatment is limited to a simple shaped valance that brings softness and a fantastic pattern of oranges and blues to the space. Here’s how to make it:

You will need a measuring tape, butcher paper to create the pattern, lightweight fabric, straight pins, matching thread, and a tension rod.

Measure the width of the window inside the frame and determine length of jabot-like ends of valance. Transfer measurements, plus 1 inch to width for ¼-inch double-fold side hems and 3 inches to desired length for ¼-inch double-fold bottom hem and 2-inch rod pocket, to butcher paper that you will use to create a pattern.

Cut out rectangle and fold widthwise. Starting at the fold (which will be the center of the valance) sketch your desired shape onto paper (this will be just one half of valance). Cut out pattern, leaving folded edge intact.

Unfold pattern and pin to wrong side of fabric. Cut out valance.

Fold over side and bottom edges ¼-inch, press, and fold over again for double-fold hem. Pin and stitch in place. Repeat for top edge.

Make rod pocket: Fold over top edges to desired depth and pin. Stitch in place.

Insert the tension rod through the rod pocket in the valance and install the tension rod inside the window frame.


Perched atop the refrigerator, a large vintage marshmallow tin brings both typographic interest and hidden storage up high. Use it to stash infrequently used kitchen tools, candles, or, um, marshmallows.


Old wooden produce baskets are ideal for corralling small items in cupboards or on countertops. Here, they hold and display a collection of heirloom cookie cutters.


A cookbook stand made from classic silverware props up culinary tomes for hands-free recipe consultation.


Bring a vintage sugar or feed sack up to artwork status on the kitchen wall. Choose sacks that have well-preserved graphics or opt for old large-format magazine advertisements promoting foodstuffs, kitchen appliances, or dinnerware.

Here’s what you need to get this look: a frame, a sugar or feed sack, homespun or linen fabric, spray adhesive.

Remove the cardboard backing from the frame. Measure the backing and cut a piece of fabric to fit. With spray adhesive, adhere fabric to cardboard, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go. Spray the back of the sack with adhesive. Place the sack on the center of the frame back, smoothing again but taking care not to stretch the sack. Reassemble the frame and hang.


Before the makeover, wood finishes in three different shades of brown took the focus from the more interesting details in the room.


The crisp white cabinet, door, and trim finishes showcase the orange walls, highlight the vertical lines and flirty scallops on the cupboards, and bounce light around the room, visually enlarging the space.


A variety of collectible yellow-ware bowls fill empty space atop the cabinets. They also make great catchalls for rarely used items.


A stainless steel cart acts as a mobile island and pantry, packing a lot of storage in a small footprint. A striped woven rug in coordinating color adds pattern underneath.


A retro-style breadbox atop the cart provides a handy spot to stash baked goods or other supplies such as flatware, cooking implements, or linens..


Employ vintage-style cracker jars, tins, and colorful footed colanders to corral everything from snacks and staples to drink mixes and party goods.


Lidded canisters spark memories of penny-candy stores while ensuring things stay fresh. Glass jars also let you see when inventory’s running low.


A row of metal bins holds root vegetables and piles of hardworking flour sack towels. Lidded glass canisters keep baking necessities fresh.


Photos by David Kreutz

© Caruth Studio

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