Search Results for: kitchen storage

Engineer Your “Vertical” Space: tiny kitchen storage idea

Loving to cook and having a tiny kitchen can sometimes seem like 2 things that don’t go together, but there’s ways to make every single cubic inch of that small kitchen work harder for you. Here’s the perfect example – my friend and her boyfriend love to cook and they have an aromatic olive oil collection that rivals most gourmet food stores or restaurants. There wasn’t any space for them in any of the cupboards, so the olive oil bottles ended up staying on top of the small kitchen cart. Not ideal since there is also very little counter space in this kitchen that be better used for something else. The solution? Going vertical!


There was a small narrow wall in the kitchen that didn’t have anything on it and would be perfect to store the olive oil bottles. But to make this work, it would require some DIY’ing to make a custom shelving unit that would fit the narrow wall, and be as thin as possible to not stick out off the wall to much.  Luckily, the olive oil bottles were just a hair under 2.5″ in diameter, so small enough to fit on a 1″x3″. So here’s what I used to make the rack:

  •  1″x3″ cut to length (to clear the thermostat that was right at the edge of the door, I had to make a cut out but other than that all the pieces were the same length to fit the width of the wall.)
  • Screen moulding (for the railing at the front)
  • Outdoor semi-transparent stain (white)

I attached the boards together with screws (I skipped the glue but of course you could add glue at the joints), drilling pilot holes first and then using a speed square to make sure all the boards were at a 90 degree angle. I don’t have any pictures of attaching the boards together but it’s basically the same process as any shelving unit, including this narrow pantry I made.

Once the boards were screwed together, I sanded them and gave them a fresh coat of white outdoor semi-transparent stain. As I was doing this project at my friend’s place, I didn’t have all my tools or supplies and I couldn’t counter sink the screw heads and cover them with wood filler, as I usually do. Instead, I used what I had on hand: some white nail polish. The screws are still visible but now they blend in and I like the more rustic look it gives the shelving unit!

Then the last step was securing the rack to the wall with 2 small brackets (I used small plastic wall anchors for the screws).

Such a small easy project and yet it completely transformed the kitchen and not only made it more functional but also more beautiful.


The olive oil bottles now serve both for cooking and as art. This project truly is a perfect example of what “Engineer Your Space” is all about: taking ownership of where you live, even if you’re renting, and creating a home that is tailored to you and how you live. Here’s to making yourself at home, right here, right now.


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DIY pull out kitchen storage cabinet

Search Results for: kitchen storage

DIY pull out kitchen storage cabinet

This simple DIY kitchen storage cabinet on wheels is a great solution to add storage in what is usually wasted space.

Here are the things I mention in the video:

3 tier pull out cabinet
4 tier pull out cabinet
5 tier pull out cabinet

Here are some of the tools and materials that I used to make my own custom pull out kitchen storage cabinet:

Drill bit kit
Countersink drill bit
Speed Square
Tape measure
Miter box and saw

Screen molding
1” Corner brackets
Nuts and bolts

Paint & paint brushes
Sand paper

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Small Kitchen? Get more storage w/ extra shelves

Search Results for: kitchen storage

Small Kitchen? Get more storage w/ extra shelves

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!

I used removable double sided tape to make this renter friendly but you could also use screws if you want something more permanent.

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Extra storage in a small kitchen: DIY shelf above the stove

When you have a small kitchen like I do, you need to use every inch of space that you have. One way to maximize the space above the stove is to add a simple DIY shelf : it’s the perfect spot for extra large spice containers and cooking utensils. Everything is within easy reach when cooking and it frees up precious cabinet space for other things.

Here’s what you’ll need to build this simple shelf: 1″ x 4″ pine board (6 ft – less than $1 per ft), wood glue, wood filler, wood screws, corner clamps, drill and a countersink drill bit, and stain or paint

Step 1: Cut 2 pieces of the pine board the width of your stove and 2 pieces 5 inches high for the sides (you can do the cutting at the hardware store) – apply glue to the end of either one of the long or short pieces.

 Step 2: Using 3″ corner clamps, join a long and short piece

Step 3: Drill 2 pilot holes through the top and side piece using a countersink drill bit – this will allow the head of the screws to sink below the surface.

Step 4: Screw the pieces together, using thin wood screws (this will help avoid the wood splitting)

Step 5: Repeat step 1 to 4 for the other side, and then put on the remaining long piece.

Step 6: Add wood filler to cover up the screw heads and sand everything

Step 7: Stain or paint – I used Minwax classic gray wood stain.

I simply rested my shelf on the top of the stove but adding a bracket to attach it to the wall will make it more stable. This extra shelf space has made me like my kitchen so much more and it’s the perfect addition to my DIY magnetic pizza pan spice rack and my reconfigured stove top!

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Quick, Easy & renter-friendly Kitchen upgrades

 When I moved into my LA rental apartment 6 years ago, the kitchen was one of the first rooms to get the “Engineer Your Space” treatment. People often ask me what that means, to EYS and at the core, it’s about taking ownership of your space, whether you actually own it, or rent it, and making yourself at home. I did a lot of DIY projects to my kitchen over the years to make myself at home, and create a beautiful and functional space that reflects my personality and inspires me to cook (too many projects to list here but fun ones include the pull-out pantry and the knife rack). There were still a few things I wanted to upgrade, which I finally got around to doing recently: new under cabinet lighting, a new faucet and a custom pull-out cabinet drawer. All of which are budget and renter friendly! Product links: 

Pull out drawer (made to measure) 

Pull out trash and recycling bin from SimplyHuman 

Drawer slides to make your own DIY pull out drawer 

Tension Rod (for hole free installation)

LED under cabinet lights (cool white) 

Removable double sided tape 

Kitchen faucet 

Faucet and sink installer tool  

Search Results for: kitchen storage

DIY kitchen organization ideas

How to organize your kitchen on a budget with quick and easy DIY ideas. Even if you’re renting, you’ll see that you’re not stuck with your less than ideal kitchen!

Here are some of the things that I mention in the video:

Spice storage:

Magnetic spice containers
Magnetic spice rack with wall mount

Wire shelf extenders

Tension rods

Removable double sided tape

Wall mounted magnetic knife rack

Knife rack project materials:

Wood edging – iron-on
Lattice molding
3M command strips

Kitchen cart on wheels

And you can see the kitchen cart upcycle project I did here.

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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!


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 buy the round magnetic spice containers or you can also easily make your own 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.


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.


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!

Search Results for: kitchen storage

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 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.



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


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!


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


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Small bathroom jewelry storage with tension rods

If you need help organizing your home, tension rods might be the answer. I’ve used a tension rod above the sink in my kitchen to hold my sponges and dish towel and most recently, I put tension rods to good use in my bathroom:

I installed two tension rods between the wall and the existing mirror frame and used inexpensive s-hooks to hang necklaces from the top rod. The bottom rod is the perfect spot to keep my hair clips, and watches plus I also had enough room to hang my DIY earring organizer. With this set up, I see all my jewelry options at a glance and I always know where my hair clips are!

If you don’t have a place where you can use a tension rod, you can use a towel rail instead, and secure it to a wall or a door.

Going vertical and using the wall or the back of a door for storage is a great way to maximize the space in a small bathroom and to keep your counters clutter free. If you want more ideas on how to use tension rods in your home, take a look at my Pinterest board – you’ll be amazed at what they can do!

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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.

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Makeovers & DIY

Rental kitchen makeover w/ peel & stick tile backsplash


Removable backsplash covers up tile and adds color

Temporary kitchen backsplash

Simple DIY storage shelf

DIY Shelf above the stove

DIY knife rack - no power tools needed!

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

DIY shelf riser for spices


Free up counter space with a Tension rod

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

Ugly kitchen floor cover up with removable vinyl tiles

Tile after side view resource guide no leg

Quick DIY magnetic spice rack and containers

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

Easy DIY wood valance


Tension rod organization


Rental kitchen makeover w/ temporary wallpaper


Old IKEA kitchen Island gets an upgrade

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

DIY pull out cabinet

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 9.01.13 PM

DIY kitchen storage ideas

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

Peel & stick tile backsplash


Bathroom vanity upgrade


Dated Light fixture upgrade

Lighting fixture after

Tension rod jewelry storage


DIY vanity drawer pulls


Budget bathroom makeover

After Right side vertical watermarked high res_edited-1

Dated heater camouflage


DIY bathroom shades


Easy ways to upgrade a rental bathroom


DIY over-the-toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

Quick affordable rental bedroom makeover w/ storage solutions


Bedroom makeover with DIY headboard & nightstands

Finished bedroom full view better color

Bedroom makeover with DIY headboard & Nightstands


Small DIY bedside table you can build with hand tools


How to make a DIY upholstered headboard


How to make a DIY freestanding headboard


NYC rental studio living room with hanging room divider

Living room with phone

Ideas to add color in rental apartments


Rental apartment living room upgrade


Free standing DIY faux fireplace


Studio apartment living area with hanging room divider


Tiny LA rental balcony with faux Boxwood


NYC rental balcony with privacy panels & banquette seating

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 10.48.15 PM

NYC rental Balcony with easy DIY storage bench & garden

DIY outdoor balcony bench made with plastic bins

LA rental Balcony with privacy panels & DIY storage bench


DIY outdoor chair


LA rental balcony with custom bench


Balcony lighting: smart LED outdoor lights


DIY decor ideas for a small balcony


Rental balcony privacy panels


Basic DIY outdoor bench

DIY wood benches

DIY floating lighted decorative wall panels


Budget DIY lighting fixture upgrade

Lighting fixture before and after before after_edited-1

DIY Wall sconces


How to make a drum shade

Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 12.10.45 PM

Bathroom light fixture upgrade with DIY drum shades


DIY wall sconce with built-in shelf


Balcony lighting: smart LED outdoor lights


10 ways to customize lighting in a rental apartment


IKEA HACK: DIY pendant lamp


DIY drum shade pendant lamp

RG-main image-How to make a pendant lamp

Small entryway makeover w/ DIY coat rack


Front door makeover with removable stripes

RG-Ep.8 how to decorate an entryway before and after

Studio apartment bookcase dividing wall entryway


DIY Wall panels create an entryway w/ charging station

Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 8.19.56 AM

Entryway DIY Bench/shoe storage/AC coverup


How to transform a closet into a tool workshop


Easy way to maximize closet space: DIY hanging rod

Double hanging closet rod

Easy closet customization for renters: DIY shelf riser

Extra shelf top of closet

Renter-friendly DIY shelf riser for kitchen cabinets


DIY makeup organizer


DIY pull out kitchen storage

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 9.01.13 PM

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase


DIY hanging earring or jewelry organizer


DIY picture frame jewelry organizer


DIY over the toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

Ideas to organize a bedroom closet


Entryway panels with DIY coat rack and charging station

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 5.37.49 PM

DIY charging station and shelf combo

DIY charging Station/Shelf

Upholstered banquette bench

How to build a bench

Simple outdoor chair


Table & shoe rack storage unit


DIY white wash treatment


IKEA kitchen Island upgrade

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

Simple DIY outdoor bench


Get more storage out of a plain bookcase


IKEA desk hack: scratching post legs

cat scratching posts

DIY Nightstands: IKEA LACK Table hack


DIY over the toilet storage cabinet

After left side full view_edited-2

DIY upholstered panel for a headboard or banquette bench


Entryway panels with DIY coat rack and charging station

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 5.37.49 PM

DIY small bedside table


DIY freestanding faux fireplace


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Renter-friendly Products to Personalize Your Space

Being a renter, I understand the challenges of making an apartment feel like home while dealing with all the restrictions and limitations many landlords impose. These are my favorite renter-friendly products that I’ve come to rely on over the years to make my apartments feel like home.

Wall Decor

Double-sided Removable Tape


 I’ve used this double-sided tape for anything from hanging art on walls, to molding on doors, to holding up supports to make extra shelves in my kitchen cabinets and closets. It’s very strong (will hold up to 2 lbs) and the best part is that it’s removable and won’t leave any residue on the wall. I always make sure I have a roll in my tool kit and in my “everything” drawer. 



3M Command Strips:


These 3M Command strips have been my best friend for many years. They are surprisingly strong and I’ve used them to secure a variety of items to walls but they are perfect for picture frames but also for items that are bigger. As long as the items are resting on the floor, they can stay secured to the wall, like I did here with a wall panel I made with a rug, and this coat rack. 




Window treatments

Nono Brackets:


If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I dislike vertical blind and how I’m always looking for ways to get rid of them or camouflage them. These nono brackets slide onto the existing vertical blind track, and allow you to hang a curtain rod and curtains, all without drilling any holes in the wall! You can see how I use them in this bedroom makeover.




LED lightbulbs:


The first thing I do when moving into a new apartment is to switch out all the incandescent light bulbs for LED light bulbs. They last longer and consume less energy so you save money in the long run. I like to buy dimmable ones because they can be used with any type of light switch. I’ve also recently started using smart LED bulbs you can control with your smart phone but they also work with Alexa or Google Assistant. 




Wall mounted switch and plug-in receiver :


My life changed for the better when I discovered wall mounted switches and plug-in receivers and I’ve used these in just about every home I’ve lived in since! They give you the ability to add a light switch anywhere to control plug-in lamps. You simply plug the receiver into an outlet and then plug your lamp into the receiver. Then you place the light switch anywhere you want in the room. 




Easy Plug-in Dimmer Switch:

Leviton TBL03-10W Tabletop Slide Control Lamp Dimmer, 300-Watt, White


Having light switches with dimmers makes it easy to change the mood of a space – it’s fairly easy to switch out regular switches to dimmable ones, but an quick alternative is to use plug-in dimmer switches instead. You simply plug the lamp into the switch, plug the switch into an outlet and you’re done! Just be sure you select the right one depending on wether you have incandescent or LED lightbulbs. 





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Search Results for: kitchen storage

LA Apartment Tour, from A to Z!

After countless DIY projects, it’s finally time for the complete tour of my LA apartment!

The tour starts with the tiny entryway where I added a mirror and made a coat rack. I also replaced the vertical blinds with curtains, added a window cornice, and hid the A/C unit with a piece of furniture I built. Then there’s the home office with a dividing wall, the living room makeover with a wall panel I made with a rug, the dining room where I built a banquette bench and wall panels, and of course the balcony I transformed into a beautiful outdoor oasis. My all white kitchen got a lot of color with a temporary backsplash and a clever solution to paint a feature wall without actually painting the wall.

I also did some minor cosmetic changes to the bathroom like replacing the lamp shades and added more storage with tension rods and a building a cabinet that goes over the toilet. To store my tools and materials, I took over the hall closet and made it my mini-workshop and last but not least is the bedroom where I also replaced the vertical blinds with curtains, built an upholstered headboard and hacked inexpensive IKEA LACK tables to make bright and colorful nightstands.

Like I mentioned in the video, I also did 360 videos of my apartment so you get a different view of the entire apartment both during the day and the evening.
360 Daytime video
360 Nighttime video