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See this small kitchen get a huge makeover — without a full renovation!

by Julie Pennell / / Source: TODAY

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Just because a kitchen is small, doesn’t mean it can’t get a big makeover. While open floor plans are all the rage right now, interior design blogger and author Melissa Michaels decided to keep the walls around her 144-square-foot Seattle kitchen — but somehow managed to make it feel larger at the same time.

 Before: The kitchen had dark cabinets and outdated features. The Inspired Room

Michaels wrote in her blog The Inspired Room that she loves the enclosed space because it’s so functional and has a really comfortable layout. "We kept the layout the same and just worked within existing walls, windows and doors," she told TODAY Home. "But we were able to update everything within the room so it all feels fresh and new, without the additional cost of tearing out walls or adding on square footage."

 After: Fresh paint and new appliances give the kitchen a bright and clean new look. The Inspired Room

While the size limited her from adding certain design features, like an island or dining table, Michaels was still able to make a big impact with less.

"It's a small space, so we needed to maximize every square inch," she said. "We installed a mix of heavy-duty drawers, a large lazy Susan in the corner cabinet, pull out pantry drawers, a built-in trash and recycling station, and more so we have lots of storage and a really functional kitchen very functional."

She also chose a neutral palette that would allow the room to be flexible so that she could change the look easily in different seasons.

 White cabinets allow Michaels to change the accessories up for new looks. The Inspired Room

After eliminating a couple of upper cabinets on one side of the kitchen that made the galley kitchen feel cramped and closed in, she replaced the other outdated dark cabinets with white ones that could be updated with accessories. "[It] really made a huge difference in the functionality of our kitchen," she said. "Our old cabinets were falling apart and the design was not utilizing the space efficiently."

For the walls, she chose to go with white-painted wood panels, which add warmth and character to the space. “The paneled walls make this room feel really solid and the horizontal texture is a pleasing visual connector to all of the elements in the room,” Michaels explained in her blog.

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To make the kitchen feel more inviting, she altered the two existing doorways to have arched openings. The new look gives it a more welcoming connection between the dining room and kitchen, and make both spaces feel extra charming, she said.

 The arched doorway gives the space even more character. The Inspired Room

Another fun design element that creates a nice focal point is the new round window above the apron-front sink. "Our kitchen has a view of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. We wanted to highlight the view and incorporate the mood of the sea outside our window into our kitchen design."

 Michaels said that while the kitchen is small, she decided to go with a bigger sink and loves it. The Inspired Room

While the room is light and airy with white details, one area where Michaels went bold was with a dark, moody navy Dutch door. “The door gets to steal a bit of attention in its own way,” she wrote in her blog. “I love the contrast to the white, and that adds its own touch of coastal-cottage personality to the space.”

 The paint color for the Dutch door is Blue Note by Benjamin Moore. The Inspired Room

Along with new stainless steel appliances, she also added a built-in wine rack, brass wall sconces and light herringbone tile floors.

“It’s still a ‘smallish’ kitchen,” she wrote. “But it sure feels like it grew in function, storage and counter space!”

See more of the gorgeous kitchen makeover here.

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