Kitchen

Budget Rental Kitchen Remodel That is Easily Reversible

Think you’re stuck with your rental kitchen the way it is and that you can’t do anything to change it? This rental kitchen remodel will change your mind! I had a $500 budget to inject some fun and personality in a generic rental kitchen and to make it more functional to prepare meals.

Tessa's-Kitchen-before-side-view-square

Now, first let me say that this is a perfectly nice kitchen as it is in it’s original state. It’s all a matter of taste – if you like white than this is great. If you like more color and pattern, then this isn’t going to do it for you.

Smart-Tiles-tile-close-up

The mission was to inject some fun and personality and to do that, I chose these beautiful peel and stick tiles (Smart Tiles VINTAGE in AZUR) to “redo” the backsplash by installing them over the existing tiles. The colors and pattern in the tiles are full of life and perfectly match the eclectic quirky sense of style that I was going for.

Smart-tiles-cutting-them

The tiles are easy to cut with a utility knife and a ruler so getting around outlets and window frames is really easy and fast.

Smart-Tiles-tile---installing-them

To install the tiles, you just remove the backing part way to start and then keep peeling it off as you stick the tile onto the wall, or in this case, the existing tile. Doing it this way is so much easier than having to remove the existing tile, which would make a mess! Plus it’s easy to change you mind after – All you need is a hair dryer to heat up the tiles a bit to loose up the glue and the tiles come off cleanly without leaving any residue on the existing tiles.

Cornice-made-from-wood-scraps

I used the colors in the Smart Tiles as inspiration for the rest of the makeover, including the rustic window cornice/valance I made with some scrap wood. By using some brackets on either side of the cornice, it simply rests on top of the cabinets so I didn’t have to make any holes in the walls to install it.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

On old IKEA kitchen cart also got a revamping with new wheels and a new top. I made the top with pine boards and furring strips and stained it with a semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called wedgewood.

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

I also made the kitchen cart even more functional by incorporating a spice rack on one side. It’s now the hub of the kitchen and with the beautiful blue stain I chose for the top, it looks right at home with the tiles. 

Image_2_Tessas_kitchen_side_view_of_corner_with_island_horizontal_web_watermarked

I love how this turned out and the best part is that everything is easily removable when moving out, including the tiles. All you need is a hair dryer to heat up the tiles a bit to loosen up the glue and the tiles come off cleanly without leaving any residue on the existing tiles. This is also perfect if you don’t want to commit to a look like this for the longterm.

Image_4_Tessas_kitchen_wide_front_view_horizontal_high_res_watermarked

Tessa's Kitchen side view of window close up high res watermarked

The entire kitchen remodel came in under budget at $446, including the plants. You can watch the entire makeover, including how I installed tiles, made the window cornice and the IKEA kitchen cart revamp, in this video.

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

Think you’re stuck with your rental kitchen the way it is and that you can’t do anything to change it? This rental kitchen remodel will change your mind! I had a $500 budget to inject some fun and personality in a generic rental kitchen and to make it more functional to prepare meals.

Tessa's-Kitchen-before-side-view-square

Now, first let me say that this is a perfectly nice kitchen as it is in it’s original state. It’s all a matter of taste – if you like white than this is great. If you like more color and pattern, then this isn’t going to do it for you.

Smart-Tiles-tile-close-up

The mission was to inject some fun and personality and to do that, I chose these beautiful peel and stick tiles (Smart Tiles VINTAGE in AZUR) to “redo” the backsplash by installing them over the existing tiles. The colors and pattern in the tiles are full of life and perfectly match the eclectic quirky sense of style that I was going for.

Smart-tiles-cutting-them

The tiles are easy to cut with a utility knife and a ruler so getting around outlets and window frames is really easy and fast.

Smart-Tiles-tile---installing-them

To install the tiles, you just remove the backing part way to start and then keep peeling it off as you stick the tile onto the wall, or in this case, the existing tile. Doing it this way is so much easier than having to remove the existing tile, which would make a mess! Plus it’s easy to change you mind after – All you need is a hair dryer to heat up the tiles a bit to loose up the glue and the tiles come off cleanly without leaving any residue on the existing tiles.

Cornice-made-from-wood-scraps

I used the colors in the Smart Tiles as inspiration for the rest of the makeover, including the rustic window cornice/valance I made with some scrap wood. By using some brackets on either side of the cornice, it simply rests on top of the cabinets so I didn’t have to make any holes in the walls to install it.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

On old IKEA kitchen cart also got a revamping with new wheels and a new top. I made the top with pine boards and furring strips and stained it with a semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called wedgewood.

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

I also made the kitchen cart even more functional by incorporating a spice rack on one side. It’s now the hub of the kitchen and with the beautiful blue stain I chose for the top, it looks right at home with the tiles. 

Image_2_Tessas_kitchen_side_view_of_corner_with_island_horizontal_web_watermarked

I love how this turned out and the best part is that everything is easily removable when moving out, including the tiles. All you need is a hair dryer to heat up the tiles a bit to loosen up the glue and the tiles come off cleanly without leaving any residue on the existing tiles. This is also perfect if you don’t want to commit to a look like this for the longterm.

Image_4_Tessas_kitchen_wide_front_view_horizontal_high_res_watermarked

Tessa's Kitchen side view of window close up high res watermarked

The entire kitchen remodel came in under budget at $446, including the plants. You can watch the entire makeover, including how I installed tiles, made the window cornice and the IKEA kitchen cart revamp, in this video.

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

Old IKEA kitchen cart gets a second life

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

How to organize kitchen cupboards to display china

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

Nine DIY ideas to survive any small kitchen

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can also easily make your own magnetic spice containers by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can also easily make your own magnetic spice containers by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

Small kitchen ideas: add an extra shelf in your upper cabinets

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelfHere’s a quick 1 min video on how I did it or below you have the step by step:

Step 1: I cut a 1″ x 3″ pine wood board into 4 pieces: 3 supports for the shelf, about 5 1/2″ long, and one piece to make a shelf the length of the cabinet. I used a miter box and saw to do this but you could have your piece of wood cut at the hardware store, even easier! 

Step-1-extra-shelf-in-a-kitchen-cabinet

Step 2: Since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to make any holes in the cabinets so I used Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape to secure the supports to the inside of the cabinets. I put tape on the top and side edge of each support and on the back of the 2 side supports, pressing the tape to make sure it adheres well to the wood. 

 Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step 3: I trimmed the excess tape with scissors and removed the tape liner.

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-part-2

Step-3-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets Step 4: I installed the 2 side supports in the back corners of the cabinet, pressing them in place, put the remaining support in the middle of the cabinet, perpendicular to the back, and then simply placed the shelf on top of the supports. The tape on the top edge of the supports keeps the shelf in place. 

Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-supportsEasy-extra-shelf-inside-cabinet-finished-shelfThe second shelf makes use of the otherwise wasted vertical space – it’s the perfect spot for spices or smaller pantry items and it makes it really easy to see what you have in your cupboards. And the best part is that it just took minutes to do and it’s easily customizable and removable thanks to Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-side-view

* This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

 

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelfHere’s a quick 1 min video on how I did it or below you have the step by step:

Step 1: I cut a 1″ x 3″ pine wood board into 4 pieces: 3 supports for the shelf, about 5 1/2″ long, and one piece to make a shelf the length of the cabinet. I used a miter box and saw to do this but you could have your piece of wood cut at the hardware store, even easier! 

Step-1-extra-shelf-in-a-kitchen-cabinet

Step 2: Since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to make any holes in the cabinets so I used Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape to secure the supports to the inside of the cabinets. I put tape on the top and side edge of each support and on the back of the 2 side supports, pressing the tape to make sure it adheres well to the wood. 

 Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step 3: I trimmed the excess tape with scissors and removed the tape liner.

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-part-2

Step-3-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets Step 4: I installed the 2 side supports in the back corners of the cabinet, pressing them in place, put the remaining support in the middle of the cabinet, perpendicular to the back, and then simply placed the shelf on top of the supports. The tape on the top edge of the supports keeps the shelf in place. 

Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-supportsEasy-extra-shelf-inside-cabinet-finished-shelfThe second shelf makes use of the otherwise wasted vertical space – it’s the perfect spot for spices or smaller pantry items and it makes it really easy to see what you have in your cupboards. And the best part is that it just took minutes to do and it’s easily customizable and removable thanks to Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-side-view

* This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

 

DIY wall mounted wood knife rack

When you have a small kitchen, storage space is at a premium. While my LA apartment kitchen is a lot bigger than my NYC studio, I wanted to free up some prime top drawer space occupied by my knives. My solution was to design and make a DIY wood knife rack that’s a hybrid between a knife block and magnetic knife strip. And the best part? I built it in just 30 minutes for under $10 without any power tools!

Materials you’ll need:
– a piece of wood: mine was 11″ x 8″ and I used pine board I had left over from another project.
– Lattice moulding: 1 1/4″ x 3 ft ($1.50)
Birch veneer edging pre-glued iron (affiliate link) on ($6.50) or 1/4″x 3/4″ screen molding for $2.
– Glue Dots advanced strength double-sided adhesive sheets or wood glue and clamps

Glue Dots Hybribond repositionable mounting tape (affiliate link) – optional if resting the knife rack on a counter top

Step 1: Cut the veneer edging into strips the height of your piece of wood (8″ in my case) and iron onto the front of your piece of wood, at the edge. Repeat with 3 more strips of edging, ironing them one on top of the other. Repeat the process for the other end. This is optional, but I also added edging on the sides of the piece of wood for a cleaner look.

 Step 2: Determine the spacing for your knives and iron on the dividers the same way as in step 1.

 Step 3: Glue the lattice pieces across the top of the veneer edging dividers, with one at the top and bottom and one in the middle.  To make this project mess-free and go faster, I used Advanced Strength Double-Sided sheets from Glue Dots instead of wood glue and clamps for this step. I cut the lattice with a miter box and saw (affliate link) but you can also have this done at the hardware store.

I love the look of the wood so I left my knife rack as is but you could stain it or paint it. Then all that’s left is to hang it on  your kitchen wall or on the inside of a cabinet door. I rested mine on the counter and used a sheet of the repositionable adhesive from Glue Dots to hold it up against the tile. This was such a simple project to do and I love that I now have easy access to my knives and that I’ve freed up some of that precious drawer space in my kitchen!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, don’t forget to enter my Glue Dots® giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When you have a small kitchen, storage space is at a premium. While my LA apartment kitchen is a lot bigger than my NYC studio, I wanted to free up some prime top drawer space occupied by my knives. My solution was to design and make a DIY wood knife rack that’s a hybrid between a knife block and magnetic knife strip. And the best part? I built it in just 30 minutes for under $10 without any power tools!

Materials you’ll need:
– a piece of wood: mine was 11″ x 8″ and I used pine board I had left over from another project.
– Lattice moulding: 1 1/4″ x 3 ft ($1.50)
Birch veneer edging pre-glued iron (affiliate link) on ($6.50) or 1/4″x 3/4″ screen molding for $2.
– Glue Dots advanced strength double-sided adhesive sheets or wood glue and clamps

Glue Dots Hybribond repositionable mounting tape (affiliate link) – optional if resting the knife rack on a counter top

Step 1: Cut the veneer edging into strips the height of your piece of wood (8″ in my case) and iron onto the front of your piece of wood, at the edge. Repeat with 3 more strips of edging, ironing them one on top of the other. Repeat the process for the other end. This is optional, but I also added edging on the sides of the piece of wood for a cleaner look.

 Step 2: Determine the spacing for your knives and iron on the dividers the same way as in step 1.

 Step 3: Glue the lattice pieces across the top of the veneer edging dividers, with one at the top and bottom and one in the middle.  To make this project mess-free and go faster, I used Advanced Strength Double-Sided sheets from Glue Dots instead of wood glue and clamps for this step. I cut the lattice with a miter box and saw (affliate link) but you can also have this done at the hardware store.

I love the look of the wood so I left my knife rack as is but you could stain it or paint it. Then all that’s left is to hang it on  your kitchen wall or on the inside of a cabinet door. I rested mine on the counter and used a sheet of the repositionable adhesive from Glue Dots to hold it up against the tile. This was such a simple project to do and I love that I now have easy access to my knives and that I’ve freed up some of that precious drawer space in my kitchen!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, don’t forget to enter my Glue Dots® giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dining Room on a budget: IKEA’s INGO and IVAR get a facelift

Having left behind most of my furniture when I moved from NYC to LA, I was basically starting from scratch to furnish my dining room. Being on a budget, I decided to go with an inexpensive pine table (INGO – $69) and pine chairs (IVAR – $25 each) from IKEA and give them an upgrade.

I painted the chairs the same blue as in my kitchen (Behr, sailboat), and upholstered the seats with 1″ foam ($7 for 4 x 16″x16″ pads), batting ($5) and a fun striped fabric ($5). For the table, I stained the legs with a semi-transparent stain from Behr in a color called pinto white ($4 – 8 oz sample).

I love how the chairs add lots of personality to my dining room, and for additional seating, I made a banquette by building a simple bench out of 3/4″ MDF and making an upholstered panel for the back. Now it’s time to have a dinner party!

Having left behind most of my furniture when I moved from NYC to LA, I was basically starting from scratch to furnish my dining room. Being on a budget, I decided to go with an inexpensive pine table (INGO – $69) and pine chairs (IVAR – $25 each) from IKEA and give them an upgrade.

I painted the chairs the same blue as in my kitchen (Behr, sailboat), and upholstered the seats with 1″ foam ($7 for 4 x 16″x16″ pads), batting ($5) and a fun striped fabric ($5). For the table, I stained the legs with a semi-transparent stain from Behr in a color called pinto white ($4 – 8 oz sample).

I love how the chairs add lots of personality to my dining room, and for additional seating, I made a banquette by building a simple bench out of 3/4″ MDF and making an upholstered panel for the back. Now it’s time to have a dinner party!

DIY Temporary Kitchen Backsplash

I’ve always admired those colorful glass backsplashs in new kitchens. So when I moved into my new apartment, I knew I wanted to find a way to install one to add some color and personality to my very white and boring kitchen. But because I live in a rental, I had to get creative and came up with this temporary glass backsplash solution:

It was so simple and really quick and easy to do, and required no power tools at all, just some scissors and a stapler with staples. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: First I stapled some fabric I got online to a 1/4″ piece of plywood cut to the size of the wall I wanted to cover. I had the plywood cut at the hardware store to make things easier. You could also use mdf or hardboard and you could use paint to add color instead of overing the board with fabric.

Step 2: I slid the fabric covered plywood so that it wedged between the tile and the fan.

Step 3: I then slid a custom piece of 1/4″ tempered glass I ordered online, wedging it between the fabric covered panel and the fan, using gloves to minimize fingerprints on the glass. The glass will protect the fabric from getting dirty and from the fire of the gas stove.

And voila, a beautiful colorful backsplash that’s temporary and will be easy to remove. If you don’t have a space between the wall and the fan like I do to anchor the backsplash, you can use corner round molding screwing into the wall on either side to keep the glass and fabric panel in place.

It was the perfect way to add some color in my kitchen and it was the jumping off point for the rest of my kitchen makeover, which you can see here.

I’ve always admired those colorful glass backsplashs in new kitchens. So when I moved into my new apartment, I knew I wanted to find a way to install one to add some color and personality to my very white and boring kitchen. But because I live in a rental, I had to get creative and came up with this temporary glass backsplash solution:

It was so simple and really quick and easy to do, and required no power tools at all, just some scissors and a stapler with staples. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: First I stapled some fabric I got online to a 1/4″ piece of plywood cut to the size of the wall I wanted to cover. I had the plywood cut at the hardware store to make things easier. You could also use mdf or hardboard and you could use paint to add color instead of overing the board with fabric.

Step 2: I slid the fabric covered plywood so that it wedged between the tile and the fan.

Step 3: I then slid a custom piece of 1/4″ tempered glass I ordered online, wedging it between the fabric covered panel and the fan, using gloves to minimize fingerprints on the glass. The glass will protect the fabric from getting dirty and from the fire of the gas stove.

And voila, a beautiful colorful backsplash that’s temporary and will be easy to remove. If you don’t have a space between the wall and the fan like I do to anchor the backsplash, you can use corner round molding screwing into the wall on either side to keep the glass and fabric panel in place.

It was the perfect way to add some color in my kitchen and it was the jumping off point for the rest of my kitchen makeover, which you can see here.

Small kitchen ideas: tension rod above sink

I love tension rods and have used them for many things as I mentioned in this previous post. And they have saved the day again in my new rental apartment, this time as part of my kitchen makeover. By installing a tension rod above the sink, it gave me a place to hang my dish towel right over the sink: no more water dripping on the floor from wet hands reaching for the towel below the sink!

It also makes a great spot to hang small plastic containers (I got mine at IKEA for $1) to hold sponges and for s-hooks to hang other light items like a dish brush. I love how it keeps everything off the counter and adds a bit of color too!

I love tension rods and have used them for many things as I mentioned in this previous post. And they have saved the day again in my new rental apartment, this time as part of my kitchen makeover. By installing a tension rod above the sink, it gave me a place to hang my dish towel right over the sink: no more water dripping on the floor from wet hands reaching for the towel below the sink!

It also makes a great spot to hang small plastic containers (I got mine at IKEA for $1) to hold sponges and for s-hooks to hang other light items like a dish brush. I love how it keeps everything off the counter and adds a bit of color too!

DIY magnetic spice rack

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork!

You can also make your own magnetic spice containers with store bought spices by simply gluing magnets (from the dollar store) to the bottom of small round spice containers – I used liquid nails glue. For square spice containers, you can glue thin magnetic sheeting material on the back.

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork!

You can also make your own magnetic spice containers with store bought spices by simply gluing magnets (from the dollar store) to the bottom of small round spice containers – I used liquid nails glue. For square spice containers, you can glue thin magnetic sheeting material on the back.

DIY magnetic frames

If you need more wall space to hang picture frames, think about using the sides of your fridge. All you need is some thin peel and stick flexible vinyl magnetic sheeting – you can get this at some dollar stores or online (a 24”x12” sheet is about $7). To make it work, remove all the hanging hardware from the back of the picture frame so there’s nothing sticking out and place the magnetic sheeting on the back, covering the majority of it. And just like that, the side of your fridge doubles as a “wall” to hang your picture frames.

 

If you need more wall space to hang picture frames, think about using the sides of your fridge. All you need is some thin peel and stick flexible vinyl magnetic sheeting – you can get this at some dollar stores or online (a 24”x12” sheet is about $7). To make it work, remove all the hanging hardware from the back of the picture frame so there’s nothing sticking out and place the magnetic sheeting on the back, covering the majority of it. And just like that, the side of your fridge doubles as a “wall” to hang your picture frames.

 

Quick fix to add more counter space

Are you desperate for more counter space in the kitchen? If you don’t tend to use more than 2-3 burners on your electric stove at one time, try reconfiguring your stovetop: take out one or two of the heating elements along with the aluminum plate and use inexpensive glass cutting boards to cover the holes. You’ll gain precious counter space and if the sudden urge to cook a large meal hits you, it’s quick and easy to put the heating elements back in!

Are you desperate for more counter space in the kitchen? If you don’t tend to use more than 2-3 burners on your electric stove at one time, try reconfiguring your stovetop: take out one or two of the heating elements along with the aluminum plate and use inexpensive glass cutting boards to cover the holes. You’ll gain precious counter space and if the sudden urge to cook a large meal hits you, it’s quick and easy to put the heating elements back in!

Short on storage space? Go vertical!

If you’re short on storage space, consider using the space above your kitchen cabinets to store rarely used items. Recycling paper boxes by “prettying” them up with contact paper or fabric is an inexpensive way to do this – it will keep visual clutter to a minimum and your items will stay dust free.

You can also make the most of that awkward space above the fridge by using white plastic drawers to store more knickknacks.

If you’re short on storage space, consider using the space above your kitchen cabinets to store rarely used items. Recycling paper boxes by “prettying” them up with contact paper or fabric is an inexpensive way to do this – it will keep visual clutter to a minimum and your items will stay dust free.

You can also make the most of that awkward space above the fridge by using white plastic drawers to store more knickknacks.

Make a small galley kitchen look bigger

If you live in a rental apartment and want to make your small galley kitchen look bigger, try adding a full-length mirror on the far wall. It’s a great alternative to mirrored backsplashes for renters: not only will it give the illusion of more space, the reflected light will also instantly brighten up the small space.

 

If you live in a rental apartment and want to make your small galley kitchen look bigger, try adding a full-length mirror on the far wall. It’s a great alternative to mirrored backsplashes for renters: not only will it give the illusion of more space, the reflected light will also instantly brighten up the small space.