Dark “Befores” Find Their Bright Side

Chilling scenes transform to happy ever afters

In the renovation world, nothing is more satisfying than witnessing the evolution of a dark “before” into a dream-come-true space. These kitchens and baths started out as unwelcoming, dated, and in some cases, unfunctional rooms. With help from Sweeten, a free service that matches renovators with vetted general contractors, they took a complete 360°.

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(Above) A Chelsea bathroom

Even the homeowner, Kristen, recognized the fear-factor of her studio bathroom. “The shower and tub had gotten a little scary,” she said. Already dark due to a lack of windows, the floor-to-ceiling slate tile certainly wasn’t helping matters. Building regulations prevented plumbing reconfiguration, but the cosmetic changes, from fresh paint to new fixtures, were more than enough to transform the space.

beige kitchen space with maroon half wall and white door before renovation
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(Above) A Prospect Heights kitchen

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This co-op kitchen hadn’t been renovated since the ‘80s—and it showed. The mismatched walls, dated cabinets, and overhead lighting gave the space an eerie vibe that called for a full gut renovation. The limited counter space (only 24 square inches!) and cabinets were swapped for floor-to-ceiling white cabinets, updated appliances, and quartz countertops.

white subway tiles in a beige kitchen with breakfast bar before renovation
black tiles in a kitchen with gray cabinets and white over head cabinets after renovation
(Above) A Westchester kitchen

Both form and function were lost on this townhouse kitchen. The vinyl flooring, beige countertops, and dark brown cabinets were straight out of a ‘70s nightmare, not to mention many of the appliances didn’t even work. Eager to get it in functioning condition, these renovators gave the kitchen a much-needed facelift with new shaker cabinets, a slate tile floor, and most importantly, brand new appliances.

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(Above) A Park Slope bathroom

The pink tile and overall decrepit bathroom didn’t dissuade Matt from buying his home. It did, however, lead to a complete remodel. He wanted a clean, neutral space that he and potential future subletters or owners could also enjoy. A walk-in shower and modern floating vanity brought in a modern yet classic sensibility.

dark brown kitchen with counters and cabinets before renovation
natural brown kitchen cabinets and white countertop along with breakfast bar and blue bar stools after renovation
(Above) An East Flatbush kitchen

“Tortured” was the best way to describe the kitchen in an East Flatbush rowhouse. The dropped ceiling and dark paneling could make anyone who dared to enter feel trapped. The renovators saw the potential and moved forward in creating a chef-worthy kitchen designed for entertaining.

Have a scary space of your own that you’re thinking of renovating? Check out our renovation cost guides to get started.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.


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