Next, she lightened the area by installing punchy red barn-style pendant lights that she had bought unfinished and painted herself. But realizing that the dark upper cabinets still weighed down the space, Nikki finally ripped them out and replaced them, extending the beadboard backsplash and adding two rows of open shelving supported by curvy pine brackets she cut herself. Gray paint and vintage-style knobs and pulls soften the look of the base cabinets and help unify the space, creating just the breezy feeling she had hoped for. Says Nikki, "I spend a lot of time here with my kids, making PB&Js and doing dishes, and it's finally a place I really like."
Shown: Stained wood cabinets darkened the kitchen.