From Dated to Dazzling: Our 70s Kitchen Remodels (Before & After!)

The 1970s conjure up visions of shag carpets, wood-paneled walls, and avocado green and harvest gold appliances. While dated, these kitchens have great potential for contemporary renovations that transform them into gorgeous, functional spaces.

In this article, we’ll showcase incredible 70s kitchen remodels with before and after photos, detailing the design and renovation elements that helped bring these spaces solidly into the 21st century. From opening up layouts to adding sleek new finishes, these reimagined kitchens shed their former retro vibes for a dazzling modern style.

70s kitchen 1

Follow along as we highlight ingenious updates like knocking down walls, replacing cabinets, switching up countertops and backsplashes, installing statement lighting, and upgrading appliances and floors. Let these stunning renovations motivate you to give your 70s kitchen the makeover it deserves!

Opening Up the Space

One of the most impactful changes in these kitchen remodels is opening up the floor plan. Creating an open concept kitchen improves lighting, traffic flow, and visibility. Knocking down walls between the kitchen and adjacent dining or living areas helps the space feel airy and seamless.

kitchen wall being knocked down to open

Extending identical floors, cabinets, and decor throughout the contiguous spaces also makes the kitchen appear larger. Appliances and countertops along the perimeter keep sight lines open. 

A Modern Cabinetry Update

Outdated wood cabinets with ornate details were common in the 1970s. Refreshing the cabinetry instantly modernizes the kitchen’s look and feel. Strategic updates to cabinet doors, finishes, hardware and layout create a fresh, contemporary style.

A Modern Cabinetry Update

Refinishing existing cabinet boxes with new stain or paint provides affordable rejuvenation. Popular modern colors include crisp white, light gray, or even bold navy blue. Changing hardware to brushed nickel or matte black pulls gives a modern edge. 

Surface Transformation: Countertops and Backsplashes

The laminate countertops and simple backsplashes of the 70s fail to make a style statement. Swapping these outdated surfaces for sleek new materials utterly transforms the look. Natural stone countertops like quartz, marble or granite provide depth and elegance.

Don’t overlook the backsplash as a place to add wow-factor. Use eye-catching subway tiles, mosaics, or stone patterns to make it a focal point. 

Surface upgrades lend an ultra-modern, polished look and feel. Renew counters and backsplashes to completely refresh the space.

Impactful Lighting

Strategic lighting can make a considerable impact in your newly designed kitchen. Use a combination of lighting types for maximum dimension.

Pendant lights over islands and bars create a focal point while providing task lighting. Under cabinet lighting illuminates countertops and backsplashes.

Pendant lights over islands

For ambiance, install dimmable fixtures and consider warmth-emitting bulbs. The right lighting transforms any kitchen from drab to dramatic.

Updated Flooring

Fresh new wood, tile, or vinyl flooring replaces outdated vinyl. This adds warmth and character.

Whatever you choose, ensure it’s waterproof and family-friendly. New floors anchor your design while withstanding the kitchen’s demands.

Timeless Transformations

With smart reimagining, 70s kitchen functionality can be reborn with integrated 21st century style. The avocado green appliances of yesteryear make way for a brighter, lighter, modern look and feel.

These stunning remodels prove that with strategic layout, surface, and cabinetry changes, quintessential 70s spaces can feel fresh and contemporary. Let the updates begin!

Appliance Upgrades

While avocado and harvest gold were popular appliance colors of the 70s, today’s kitchens demand high performance and style.

Sleek stainless steel french-door refrigerators, pro-style ranges, and matching suites create a polished look. Quiet, built-in dishwasher drawers streamline usage.

Sleek stainless steel french-door refrigerators

Beyond appearance, new appliances tout energy efficiency, durability, and technology integrations. With options like convection cooking, warming drawers, and Wi-Fi connectivity, appliances cater to modern lifestyles.

The right appliances blend solid engineering with aesthetics for the ultimate function-meets-fashion kitchen.

Storage Solutions

Maximize kitchen functionality with storage solutions tailored to your space.

Optimize blind corner cabinets with lazy susans or pull-out shelving. Add drawers for easy item access. Dedicated cutlery dividers keep utensils organized.

 lazy susans and pull-out shelving.

Other smart storage ideas include pull-out spice racks, pan organizers, and hidden trash/recycling bins to maintain a clutter-free look. Carefully designed storage keeps your kitchen items accessible yet out of sight.

Dramatic Decor Differences: 1970s vs Contemporary Kitchen Features

This side-by-side table compares quintessential kitchen features of the 1970s against current, modern elements. The dramatic differences showcase just how outdated mid-century kitchens appear today. Contemporary kitchens aim for an open, light aesthetic with high-end finishes and technology-forward appliances. Leaving dark cabinets, laminate counters, and compartmentalized layouts behind, 21st century kitchen remodels open up sight lines and infuse style.

This transformation table emphasizes the total revamp possible by renovating a kitchen firmly stuck in the 70s. Out with the old, in with the bold!

Mid-Century to Millennial: The Evolution of Kitchen Style

1970s Kitchen FeaturesContemporary Kitchen Features
Harvest gold/avocado appliancesStainless-steel appliances
Laminate countertopsQuartz, granite, or marble countertops
Simple tile backsplashesStone or mosaic statement backsplashes
Dark wood ornate cabinetsBright painted or light wood sleek cabinets
Closed floor planOpen concept floor plan
Fluorescent lightingPendant lights, under cabinet lighting
Vinyl flooringHardwood, tile, or luxury vinyl floors
Limited counter spaceIslands and bar seating for extra prep space
Single sinkIslands and bar seating for extra prep space
Dated wallpaperNeutral painted walls

Bringing Kitchens into the 21st Century

With strategic layout changes, material upgrades, lighting transformations, and tech-savvy appliances, these stunning remodels breathe new life into outdated 70s kitchens.

The closed-off harvest gold kitchens of the past make way for open, bright chef’s spaces suited for modern living. It’s out with the old and in with the bold new!

These ingenious renovations prove, with some vision and reimagination, kitchens of all eras can feel current and cutting-edge. It’s amazing what’s possible with a little renovation magic.


David Castaneda
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