HomeHome Updates: Tips & IdeasHome Update Ideas5 CASE STUDIES: 2000s Kitchen Updates: Tuscan, Travertine, & Tons More (PART 5)

5 CASE STUDIES: 2000s Kitchen Updates: Tuscan, Travertine, & Tons More (PART 5)

Posted on January 11, 2024 by KylieMawdsley
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When remodeling kitchens from the 2000s, there’s usually travertine, maple cabinets, and granite counters to contend with (or at the very least, a TON of beige). Add in a Tuscan vibe and oil-rubbed bronze lighting and you’re suddenly 20 years younger, frosting your tips, and wearing a crop top with boot-cut jeans (wait, aren’t these back in style again?)

One of the great things about early 2000s homes, is they often have great bones (not the Jason Momoa type, but pretty great all the same). These include…

  • solid wood cabinets, or at least wood doors – most often maple, but sometimes oak or hickory
  • natural stone countertops, in particular, granite
  • more people were embracing wood floor in the kitchen over tile (one less thing to painfully coordinate with)
  • WAY fewer thermofoil cabinets than in the 90s
  • more full-height installations (cabinets going to the ceiling)

While it can cost a fortune to do a full kitchen remodel, the above bones can provide the base for a great transitional, budget-friendly update.

Linen White cream painted kit

Thank you to all my Online Color Consulting clients for sending in your photos! 

Hence today’s blog post. The first 3 parts of this series (UPDATE YOUR 2000s HOME) cover a wide range of ideas and updates that are more general. This blog post covers some more intimate details about specific kitchens, and what I MIGHT DO if I moved into these homes today.

Whether you implement one idea or a bunch, you’re bound to find inspiration for your home. 

This next kitchen is so close to looking like its ‘best-updated self’…

Kitchen with dark wood cabinets, travertine floor, Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan paint colour, island and pendants. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

The travertine tile floors give me a TON of colors to work with. And whether this granite (possibly quartzite) is original or new, the fact that I DON’T KNOW bodes well for it. While I might choose a more simple vein, the overall look is great (I’d throw a neutral, light texture rug on the floor to break up the tile a bit).

Also, notice the countersplash – where the countertop surface is used as a slab backsplash. This is a current hot trend and I have mad love for it. Sure, if you don’t love travertine or beiges, this kitchen won’t float your boat, but this doesn’t make it a BAD kitchen.

What does the above kitchen need (if it were my home)?

Painted cabinets in an updated shade of off-white with the wall color adjusted to suit the new cabinet color.

As for this next kitchen, it needs a little KLC (Kylie Lovin’ Care)…

Cherry kitchen cabinets before painting, beige tile floor

If you want to see more ideas to update your 2000s home, check out the links near the end of this blog post to see the FULL 5-PART SERIES!

Also, remember that this is a ‘learn as you go’ blog post, so there are a lot of details and considerations and LOTS TO LEARN.

This is a ‘bullet-point heavy’ blog post.

So, let’s get this party started…



I love it when a kitchen like this shows up on my to-do list.


There’s SO MUCH POTENTIAL! Sure, some might overhaul this kitchen and start from scratch. However, if you’re on a limited budget and want to get some bang for your buck, it’s hard to beat paint.

Look at these BONES – COME TO MOMMA!

BEFORE kitchen with wood cherry or maple cabinets before painting. tile floor, granite countertops, travertine (2)

Now are you ready for the GREAT REVEAL?

Kitchen, painted cabinets, orange tile floor, travertine tile, granite coutnertops, off-white beige cabinets, Sherwin Williams Moderate White. Kylie M Edesign

Check out some of my favorite island colors here


Notice we kept the original countertop, backsplash tile, AND floor tile. As for updates…

  • pendants installed over the island and a new dining fixture
  • cabinet paint color
  • island paint color

And that’s it.

The cool thing is that even though white cabinets are often ‘the goal’, the right, subtle off-white can look MUCH better. Why? This is not a ‘white kitchen’ kinda home, and white will come off too stark for these finishes. Off-white COORDINATES with them.



Let’s say the previous homeowners want to spend some smart money by updating a few more finishes. SURE, they could overhaul the whole space, but at that point, you’re starting from scratch, which isn’t what this blog post is about.

We want some good bang for buck (I could make another Jason Momoa comment…)

BEFORE kitchen cabinets, wood, granite countertop, travertine tile backsplash.

And for those who subscribe to my blog/Instagram, NO, I haven’t given up on my eternal love for Ryan Reynolds (or Gosling) – my love knows no bounds. And let’s be honest, none of them are as hot as my Tim.


Starting with the backsplash and countertop, I wouldn’t do one or the other – they both stay or they both go.


It might seem complicated, but if you think about it, it makes sense…

1. The backsplash and countertop more or less work with each other. However, neither coordinates with the VERY BOSSY tile floor. If we change only the backsplash, we still haven’t fixed the main issue, and have possibly made it worse.

2. If we replace only the countertop, there’s a good chance the lower row of backsplash tiles will pop off too.

3. If we replace ONLY the countertop, it’s more noticeable that the backsplash also doesn’t coordinate with the floor.

4. There isn’t a modern countertop that will coordinate with the floor AND the backsplash – they have different needs.

However, I wouldn’t replace BOTH of them either.


Painted wood kitchen cabinets, island Benjamin Moore Ashwood Moss, green grey. orange tile floor, travertine, granite countertop, off-white beige Moderate White, Sherwin

And look at that kitchen island in a gorgeous shade of dark green

There’s no modern countertop that will look good with that tile floor – it has too much orange in it. You’d have a beautiful new countertop and a hot mess partner with the floor.


LOOOONG story short, if I’m going to spend smart money in this kitchen, to start, I’m replacing the tile floor. And given the busyness of the countertop and backsplash, I’m looking at hardwood or LVP floor to add a simpler, updated layer to this space. I’d get into which stain/type/etc…but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. This is just to get you thinking on the right lines.

kitchen with beige painted off white cabinets, granite counters, travertine tile, photoshop wood floors.

And guess what, buttercup?

Once the floor is wood, we could consider replacing the backsplash too. Whereas before, the tile floor held back ANY countertop or backsplash adjustments. Once it’s gone, we can find a subway tile that coordinates with the existing cabinet color and original countertop. This is considerably more affordable to update than the granite counters.

Keep in mind that Photoshop is new to Kylie M Interiors, so I can’t get the backsplash perfect, but this rendering gives you the general idea…

kitchen with painted cabinets, not real wood floor and subway tile backsplash, cream beige cabinets and granite, dark island

Allllll of this, and the original cabinets, appliances, and granite countertops are still kickin’ it – that’s quite the kitchen makeover on a budget!



This kitchen (below) is SUPER 2000s with its cream cabinets, granite counters, travertine backsplash, and beige tile floors…

Kitchen with cream painted cabinets in Antique White. Giallo Ornamental granite countertops and beige tile floor. Kylie M Interiors Edesign before image

Even though it has the typical 2000s finishes, it’s still a stinkin’ gorgeous kitchen in its own right. It’s just not UPDATED to today’s standards/styles. While this might not bug a person living in the home (if this is their jam), it WILL affect their home’s resale value. If I view this as my potential home, it isn’t my jam no matter HOW MUCH peanut butter I add to it.

Home Staging – These 5 Rooms Matter the Most

However, unlike the last kitchen, I don’t have any after photos – this one is just for ‘ideas and inspiration’ (not all of my clients send in their after photos – AND I LOVE WHEN THEY DO, wink-wink nod-nod).

Let’s bullet-point this baddy…


  • The cream of the cabinets is too yellow for the beige travertine backsplash (which you’ll see much easier below). The cabinet color is Sherwin Williams Antique White (my nemesis).
  • The wall color (what you can see of it) is too yellow for the backsplash, countertop, and tile floor. It looks to me like the wall color coordinates with the cream cabinet color. But because the cabinets don’t coordinate with the other hard finishes, the palette is off.
  • Travertine itself can be pretty, but it’s best when it’s 3×6 and in a standard subway tile layout. The diagonal pattern and small dark accent tiles date this kitchen to the 2000s.
  • The 12×12 tile floor is too orange for the backsplash and the countertop. While it looks fine in the previous photo, the photo below shows how the tile has far more orange-pink in it.

kitchen before with travertine

How to Update Cream Cabinets & Trim

And while there are a few other details, those are the big ones.

By the way, I’m not trying to be mean or judgy.

I’m here to help you and other homeowners take your home’s challenges and work WITH them, rather than against them.

If you’re going to spend money, make it smart money (like spending it on my uber-special Online Color Consulting services).


How might paint fix the above 2000s kitchen on a tight budget?

  • Paint the cabinets a subtle, off-white – more orange, less yellow.
  • Paint the walls a slightly darker version of the cabinet color.
  • Alternatively, choose an off-white/light beige for the walls. Lighten it by 50% for the cabinets and trim.
  • Paint the island a darker, mid-toned shade of taupe/brown or a dark greige.
  • If possible, take off the decorative corbels/supports. Replace them with something more simple (if needed at all).


Let’s take this kitchen to the next level…without blowin’ the bank.

  • Paint the cabinets a subtle, off-white (these first 3 items were suggested above).
  • Paint the walls a slightly darker version of the cabinet color.
  • Alternatively, choose an off-white/light beige for the walls. Lighten it by 50% for the cabinets and trim.
  • Replace the backsplash with an off-white subway tile that MATCHES the cabinets, with matching grout (3×6 tile).
  • Update the cabinet pulls (the knobs are fine) to be less rounded and a bit more transitional.
  • I would add two pendants over the island as they ground a kitchen and would help this one look softer and more inviting.
  • If you replace the COUNTERTOP, you have to find one that coordinates with the backsplash and the floor (good luck, Chuck!)

While the tile floor in the above kitchen doesn’t coordinate with the countertop/backsplash, it’s not as bossy as the floor in the previous kitchen. Ideally, it would be updated, but it’s lower on the chopping block (when the budget allows).

When updating on a budget, sometimes you have to find a happy medium or save your money until you can do EVERYTHING at once. 

And while a new subway tile backsplash and the existing counter still won’t coordinate with the tile floor, it won’t be as glaringly obvious as the other kitchen. Plus, there will be coordinated cabinets and walls to add some visual relief.

The 16 Best Paint Colors for Cream Cabinets & Trim

The New Era of Laminate Countertops & Why They Rock



Again, this next kitchen is gorgeous – there’s nothing WRONG with it, it’s just not updated.

Travertine tile, Kitchen with Antique White glazed cream island cabinets, dark wood cabinets, best beige paint colour, Sherwin Williams Macadamia. Kylie M Interiors

But Kylie, aren’t wood cabinets coming back – even DARKER wood stains?

You bet your booty they are. However, when it comes to wood cabinets…

It’s all about grain and stain.

In the case of the above cabinets, they look maple, but the red-violet/cherry stain is way too strong. Today’s popular approach uses more ‘neutral, brown-based woods’ and we’re still seeing a lot of natural, or lightly stained oak, especially rift-cut.

Now that we have THAT out of the way, let’s talk about some ‘first step’ updates. For this, let’s talk about KEEPING the wood cabinets for now, as getting them professionally painted (recommended, especially with maple) is pricey.

  • Change the backsplash to an off-white (non-yellow), beige-inspired subway tile (3×6). The idea is to pick up a bit of what the tile floor is throwing down – cause it ain’t goin’ anywhere.
  • The current color is too dark and the undertones are wrong. Paint the walls an off-white beige, possibly a tone lighter or darker than the backsplash tile. If you love CONTRAST, of course, you could try a pretty greige or a shade of taupe (if I could see more of the countertop, I’d know for sure), but this can accent the warmth of your space and you’ll need to pull some of that color into your decor.
  • With your (hopefully) beige walls, paint the island only. Islands are a bit more DIY-friendly and the above one has already been painted once. I might consider a darker shade of greige to contrast the warm tones.
  • Considering the warmth of the finishes (floor/wood/walls) I might not do polished nickel cabinet hardware. I’d update it to black (rather than oil-rubbed bronze, as it only keeps this home in the 2000s). If you want to see a great mix-and-match chart for metal finishes, check out this blog post.
  • While I wish there were only two pendants, there are three, and taking the middle one out leaves the other two too far apart. All the same, I would update these to be a more simple, white cylinder with black metal posts (no chain). Alternatively, you could cap the two end ones and keep the middle one only. Then, choose a light fixture with one junction and several lights hanging off it (this general idea).

Also, here’s the rest of the space, so you can see how replacing the travertine is too big of a job for this blog post. It also shows how it’s not just the floor that calls the color shots, but the stone fireplace too.

Sherwin Williams Antique White with traavertine floor and beige walls and stone fireplace. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

Look at those Tuscan-style pendants – true artifacts! 


Along with the previously mentioned new lights and new hardware (which I don’t have the tech skills to change, I’m not that girl)…

photoshop rendering, painted off white dark wood tuscan, 2000s kitchen cabinets, dark painted island, granite and travertine tile floor


  • Because of the travertine tile floor and warm tones in the granite countertop, you’re probably looking at an off-white beige or maaaybe a mid-toned or darker greige (green undertone). If beige, I might even lighten it by 50% for a super soft look. Paint the trims this same lightened color – not white.
  • Heck, I might even try a moderately dark shade of taupe (if I had a better view of the counters, I’d know which is better – greige or taupe).
  • If the cabinets are a lightened beige color, paint the walls the regular depth version of this shade.
  • If the cabinets are a medium-toned greige, I would probably still do the right beige on the walls for some balance.
  • I would still match the subway tile to the cabinets with beige cabinets or try a tone darker with lighter grout. If the cabinets go mid-toned greige, I miiiiight still do the off-white beige or a softened, lighter greige with off-white grout (sometimes you don’t know until you land on the colors you want).
  • Possibly paint the island a darker shade of greige (assuming beige cabinets).

Let’s check out the greige option…

photoshop rendering of traditional tuscan style dark wood kitchen cabinets, travertine floors, granite counter with dark paint on cabinets

Son of a biscuit, does that ever look GOOD!

Same cabinets, same floor – new cabinet color, wall color, trim, and backsplash. Does this space still have Tuscan roots? Sure, but for the (fake) money spent, this home has taken a huge turn for the better – especially once the lighting is changed.

Backsplash Ideas to Update Your 2000s Home 

Seriously, if you think I talk a lot now, wait until you read more. Just remember…

Consider each point and how it MIGHT relate to your home. There’s some magic in these words! 

Now that’s all because of the travertine tile floor AND the countertop. While I would keep the floor (so much square footage and that’s a FULL remodel), let’s nix the counters…

Now of course, if we leveled RIGHT up and replaced the floor, we can do whatever the heck we want, but again – this is about doing SOME, but maybe not all of the updates a home needs.

Your kitchen doesn’t need to be a FULLY modern kitchen to look good, especially when you’re on a budget! 



Call me crazy, but I sure do love some 2000s kitchens. Many of them are pretty and inviting and it’s only that they aren’t considered ‘modern and trendy’ that they’re being changed. On the other hand, some were so poorly coordinated that like the great Jack Nicholson figured out, SOMETHING’S gotta give.

As for this next kitchen, everything is reasonably well-coordinated. And while the floor is a pretty strong stain color, it’s nice to see wood.

However, if updating is on the agenda, this home is a big job – painting the cabinets, trims, and walls – not to mention the travertine tile and granite, all of which are pretty, but quite specifically 2000s…

Sherwin Williams Kilim Beige paint color, glazed cream cabinets similar Antique White, wood floor, dark island, similar Giallo granite

I have mad respect for whoever did the black island – love it. 

The 16 Best Paint Colors to Update Cream Cabinets & Trim


The black island is a great first step for this space. If the above homeowners want, they could do a few more things to update their Tuscan-style kitchen without breaking the bank…

  • Painting the cabinets can be expensive/labor-intensive. The best way to update this space is to match the wall color to the cabinets, for a lighter, brighter look. For the trim, they might try the cabinet/wall color 50% lighter.
  • Replace the wrought iron pendant lights with ones with white fabric shades. This space has a lot of hard edges/shiny finishes (as do most kitchens) and a soft glowing fabric will soften the space and simplify it.
  • Update the home decor and accessories on the counters. The aged nickel vases go against the warmth of this space. I would find a few non-reflective decorative items in soft cream, blacks, and beiges. I’d also add in a bit of green via a plant or two.
  • Add a washable runner to break up the floor a bit and add some visual interest. Make sure the color palette of the rug contains the kitchen’s colors and nothing new (i.e., no blue/green/violet).

These things alone would be great, budget-friendly changes for this space.


  • Paint the cabinets a more modern, soft warm white or off-white.
  • Match a 3×6 subway tile PERFECTLY to the new cabinet color.
  • Paint the walls a color that coordinates with the new cabinet/backsplash color.
  • You know, I might even consider polished nickel hardware and faucet over what is probably oil-rubbed bronze right now (it’s hard to see).
  • Refinish the floors a slightly less orange stain color with a more modest/muted sheen.

4-PART SERIES: How to Create a Timeless, Trend-Proof Home



I love this next kitchen. I mean, sure, there are some dated elements, but a) it was well-coordinated in the first place, and b) it’s so homey and inviting looking.

A kitchen doesn’t need to be YOUR style to be beautiful! 

Starting from scratch in this next kitchen would cost a small fortune. Instead, my client hired me to jazz up the island with a new, more modern color…

Kitchen island before paint with Kylie M Interiors edesign

Sherwin Williams dark greige painted island, Urbane Bronze, cream and glazed kitchen cabinets, subway tile, leather barstools, red stain oak floor, greige walls,

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze


  • If the backsplash tile didn’t have the horizontal stripe, it would look much more current. And while it’s a touch yellow for the backsplash, overall, it’s great, and the glaze cuts back on the yellow hue. Read about trendy backsplash ideas.
  • The leather counter stools pull into the warmth of the granite and add some modern contrast and style.
  • The hardware is updated and simple – nothing overly curvy.
  • Love the pendant lights – this is a great example of using gold in a small, but impactful way (read more about lighting and hardware in PART 1)
  • If the cabinets weren’t glazed, they’d have a slightly better shot of transitioning to a new style (but even then, cream cabinets are a tough sell).

Kitchen cream painted and glazed cabinets, warm cream and gold granite countertop, cream subway tile backsplash, dark greige painted island, Sherwin Williams,

How to Update Your 1990’s Kitchen


  • Install a new backsplash with a similarly colored subway tile with no glazing and no racing stripe. I would also take the valance (wood piece) off above the sink and take the new subway tile up and around the window.

And then finally, when the banks are handing out money for free…

  • Update the countertop to a flexible quartz, either white or a soft, warmer quartz or quartzite with no rounded ends –  maybe even add some supports on the ends and extend it another few inches.
  • Paint the cabinets either a popular shade of white or a soft off-white that coordinates with the countertop.
  • Slightly wider oak floors with minimal sheen and a light to medium-depth stain.
  • Of course, there would be a few other details, but those are the big bones of it.

Remember, sometimes it’s about finding a happy medium between where we are and where we want to be.


Paint Color Ideas to Update Your Outdated 2000s Home (PART 1)

The Best Backsplash Ideas to Update a 2000s Kitchen (PART 2)

Ideas to Update Your 2000s Home: Hardware & Lighting (PART 3)

Ideas to Update Your Outdated Granite Counters (mostly 90s & 2000s) PART 4

Ideas to Update Your 1990s or 2000s Bathroom (PART 6)

Tile Trends: Subway Tile, Zellige, Herringbone & More


Check out my Online Paint Color Consulting

E-design, online paint color consulting with Kylie M Interiors. The best cabinet paint colour ideas. diy decorating and design blogger. Market

Chat soon, 

Kylie M Interiors Edesign, signature, online paint colour consultant using Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint colours. DIY update advice ideas


  1. Another amazingly informative post, wow! Thank you! I do have a quick question or observation–that later kitchen you show with all the travertine flooring and the creamy walls. I am surprised to see you suggest greige, including darker greige. I thought travertine was more pinkish orange and greige tends to have a green undertone. Usually I have seen you suggest colors like Moderate White, Divine White, on the one hand, and colors like Pale Oak, on the other hand. It does look great though, so just curious why you went with greige and not taupe here.


    1. Post

      Oooo, look at you paying attention, I LOVE IT! Some travertines can handle greige, BUT…they key is that it needs to be a great that’s ‘darker than’ the tile itself. If it’s lighter than it, they can fight. The idea is that the right greige with a noticeable green undertone can ‘accent/contrast’ the tile, rather than lean into it! But you’re 100% right, MANY times I lean into taupe (or beige) over greige – thank you for asking this!

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