When we last left off our our kitchen renovation saga, we had installed a (gorgeous, I’m so in love with it) beadboard backsplash…and we had taken down our only upper cabinet on this side of the kitchen, which left us with exactly zero storage.
Well, obviously, we needed to remedy that.
Corey and I have been dreaming of open shelving in our kitchen for a long time. There used to be one lone cabinet above the counters on that side of the kitchen, and it always looked a little sad and lonely – we knew the room would feel much lighter and airier without it. So, when we painted our cabinets a few months back, we left that cabinet alone (which meant it stuck out like a sore thumb) until we could get around to dealing with it.
I’ve been working for a few months now on giving our kitchen a bit of a makeover – we’ve painted the cabinets, we’ve painted the counters, and we’ve updated the backsplash. Our kitchen is looking so much better than it ever has before, but now we’re at the point where the big things are mostly taken care of and it’s time to focus on the little stuff.
I’ve always really loved quirky, cute art in kitchens. Kitchens are such a functional place that sometimes they turn a little boring, if you ask me. We have a perfect space on a wall in our kitchen for some big, impactful art, and I’ve always struggled with what to put there. I’ve currently got a couple of dishtowels framed, but I never really loved that as much as I wanted to, so with this update I’ve been dreaming of what I can put there instead.
Today I’m rounding up a bunch of my favorite art prints, printables, and DIY ideas for the kitchen – maybe I’ll end up with one or two of them in ours?
If I was creating my dream kitchen, it would include lots of simple white subway tiles with black grout.
Quite frankly, I could probably cover every wall in my house with white subway tile and black grout and be happy. I have a problem.
But that’s not what this post is about.
You see, in our kitchen, there are some things standing in the way of a pretty white-subway-tile-covered wall. Namely, the texture – at some point someone got the grand idea to cover the walls in the kitchen and every bathroom in our house with a strange, splotchy texture that is so ugly it confounds me than anyone would ever choose it. In order to install tile, we’d have to scrape that texture off the walls and start from scratch. And, let’s be real – I’m not doing that.
I love DIY, but I just don’t have the time/energy/patience/willpower. Not. Gonna. Happen.
So, since our dream of white subway tiles wasn’t going to become a reality anytime soon Corey and I decided to go a different route. When my mom offered up some beadboard that they had leftover from renovating my grandmother’s house, we jumped at the chance. I had plenty of people look at me kind of funny for saying I was going to install a beadboard backsplash in my kitchen (including my husband, let’s be honest), but I knew it would look fabulous so I stuck to my guns.
In case you missed it, I shared the “big reveal” of (phase one of) our kitchen makeover yesterday. Basically, it involved a lot of paint and elbow grease. We love the result, but I have to say that the countertops are the part where I knew we were taking a risk. We originally planned to do a concrete overlay, and we still might, but we decided to try out this treatment first because it was significantly cheaper and easier.
It’s week two of the February Organize-A-Thon, and I’m feeling like my house is way more organized already! I’m pretty thrilled about sharing this week’s projects, because instead of just taking on a small section of the house, we took on a pretty big project – the entire kitchen!
Okay, I exaggerate a bit.
We didn’t organize the whole kitchen.
But we did a ton of little projects in there that all added up to way more organization, so I’m counting it!
Before I share, though, let’s make sure you’re all caught up. Every week this month, Corey and I are tackling one organizing project and sharing it here on the blog – we call it the February Organize-A-Thon. I’m hoping that some of you will do it along with us and come back at the end of the month to share your projects at the link party we’ll be hosting. It’ll be a good time. Promise. Last week, we organized the paper in our house and now I can actually find things when I need them, which is fabulous.
What did we do this week? We organized the pantry, added organization for our measuring cups and spoons, AND switched up our spice storage. It’s pretty amazing.
Let’s start off with the pantry. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I am awful at keeping my pantry organized. I have a ton of baskets and food containers, but I’m not good about actually keeping them full, and I usually just toss stuff back into the pantry when I’m done with no thought whatsoever about if it makes sense there. Making dinner in my house is always an adventure because it takes half an hour just to find the ingredients you need (again, may be exaggerating…but just a little).
In the name of full disclosure, I’ll go ahead and share what my pantry looked like before. If you’re prone to disorganization-induced-stress, don’t even look because this may send you into panic attacks.
But! I redeemed myself, so just stick with me because I promise it gets better. The first step to any good organization project is to empty out whatever area you’re organizing. Which means that within the first five minutes of my project, my pantry looked like this…
…and my kitchen looked like this:
That’s a lot of food, right? Is it normal for two people to have this much food in their pantry? Again, I’m embarrassed.
Once I had everything out in the open, I started going through it. There was some stuff in there that was expired or would never be used (like the bacon-flavored-popcorn someone gave us recently…gross? or amazing?) so all of that had to go. Then, I went through and found things that could be moved into food storage containers, since food packaging always takes up way more room than the food itself.
I also did what I could to make things prettier. For example, we have this giant chip box that holds the snack-sized bags of chips we keep around for lunch:
And it’s seriously ugly and the pictures on it seem to make the pantry feel much more visually cluttered. So, I grabbed some wrapping paper and got to work, and soon it looked a little more like this.
Once everything was either consolidated or thrown out (if it was expired), I started to put stuff back up. I knew the only way I’d ever keep things organized was if I had a system, so I organized things on each shelf by purpose.
The top shelf holds extras of things (rice that won’t fit in the container, extra boxes of cornstarch because we have so much that we’ll never need to buy it again – how does that happen?) as well as things that don’t get used very often. Keeping the not-often-used stuff up there should be hugely helpful, as now the only things in the bottom shelves will actually be items that I’m using on a regular basis.
From there, I’ve got a loose organization system – pasta/infrequent baking stuff at the top, stuff for breakfasts and snacks next, food we typically use to cook dinner, then on the bottom we have chips and frequently-used baking supplies. Like I said, it’s not a very strict system, but it makes things much easier to find, and it keeps the shelf clutter to a minimum!
As you can see, I also utilized some baskets we had laying around the house to keep things together – one of them holds near-empty bags of chips, one has bagels, etc. It helps group all of these things together and keeps those awkwardly-shaped items from taking up way more room than they should.
Can you be in love with a pantry? ‘Cause, even though it’s technically still not very pretty, I’m just a little bit more in love with mine now that it’s nice and clean and I can actually see my food again. What a novel thought.
Next up in the Great Kitchen Overhaul of 2013 is measuring cup and spoon organization. I posted about this idea on Friday Finds a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I knew we had to replicate it in our kitchen.
The first step we took was to add some cork to the back of the cabinet door – I heard from a few of you and from the original post that metal measuring cups tend to make a lot of noise when you open and close the door, and since I’m not about to replace my stainless steel measuring cups with plastic ones, I decided I needed to muffle the noise. We found this roll of cork at Target for something ridiculous like $2.00, and it was a breeze to cut down to size and install with some spray adhesive.
Then, we added some paint sticks that we grabbed from Lowe’s (I think different stores have differing policies on this – ours will just give you a handful if you ask, but you may have to pay at some places), and spray painted them gray, just to add a bit of pretty.
If you decide to do this project yourself, I wouldn’t recommend using the paint sticks – they’re so thin and such a bad quality that they split very, very easily. If we were doing it again, we’d just suck it up and buy some wood to use instead. Once they were installed, we screwed in some little hooks and, just like that, we had a much more organized way to store our measuring cups and spoons!
I’m pretty obsessed with how much easier it is to find these now (they were just stuffed into a drawer before, which got really annoying really fast!), but I have to admit it’s taken some adjusting. I’ve scared myself multiple times when I open the door too fast and they all swing towards me – I feel like I’m being attacked by flying measuring cups! But, I’m sure once I use it a little more I’ll get used to it and, you know, not fling the door open like a crazy person.
While we were dealing with this cabinet, we also decided to change up the way we organize our spices.
Hah. I say “organize” like there was actually a system to it before.
We bought those baskets forever ago thinking they’d be perfect for organizing our spices, but they’re awful for it – the large gaps are the perfect size for spice jars to slip right through, and it was almost impossible to actually find anything in there.
So, um, yeah. They had to go. As you may have seen, we repurposed them in the pantry and they work perfectly for that. But what about all of the spices?
We finally caved and bought the Ikea spice holders I’ve been drooling over for a while now (they were also featured in a Friday Finds!), and I love, love, love them. We only bought nine for now, we but like them so much that I think we’ll go back and get at least one more pack of three.
We used these for our most-frequently-used spices, and I love how it puts them on display and makes them much more easily accessed. As of right now, we don’t have any sort of labeling system for them, but it’s pretty easy to tell them apart. If it starts to get confusing and we end up with cinnamon in our enchiladas instead of cumin, I can always go back and label them later. But for now, I like ’em just the way they are.
And, since we had more spices than could actually fit into our tins, we tossed a few different baskets into the cabinet to corral them and make them easy to access when we need them. And this is a way cuter solution than the wire basket hot mess, no?
I’m incredibly excited about these little changes, and so far it’s already made a big difference in making our kitchen more functional and less headache-inducing. That’s always a good thing.
Whew, three projects in one this week – talk about getting some bang for your buck! And the best part is that all we really had to buy was the spice organizers, a couple of cute baskets from Target (we already had most of them, but grabbed the red and yellow ones for a few bucks each), and the cork/hooks for the back of the cabinet. All in all I’d say all three of these projects cost us less than $30 and they may change our lives. I’m not sure – it’s too soon to tell.
Did you organize anything this week? Anyone else been making things easier to access in your kitchen?
When we were at our family reunion this weekend, I spent quite a bit of time lusting after all of the antiques my great-uncle has just hanging around his barn (and a few other buildings around his house). He is a bit of a hoarder collector, and he has mountains of furniture and random odds and ends floating around all over the place.
One night when we were sitting down for dinner, I caught a glimpse of some chairs around the table and just about had a heart attack right then and there. They were gorgeous, rustic, amazing…and I needed them.
I immediately fell in love with the worn look of the wood and the gorgeous gold tips on the legs. The fabric was definitely leaving something to be desired, but other than that they were perfect.
I briefly considered just tossing them in our car and making a run for it, but Corey and I would like to be invited back next year, so I figured that probably wasn’t the wisest move. Instead, we decided to just straight up ask him if he’d let us buy them off of him. He has dozens of chairs in the barn already, and this set even happened to still have price stickers on them from when he originally bought them.
So, for ten bucks each, we came home from the family reunion with a new set of chairs for the breakfast nook in our kitchen!
I adore how the curve in the chair backs kind of mimics the curves in the table, and I love how the wood tones warm up that area of the room. It’s also a happy coincidence that they’re a mid-century style, so they fit perfectly with the table. I’m just pretty much all-around thrilled.
We definitely need to get some new fabric on them, but we aren’t quite sure what we want yet, so it may be a while. We know for sure that we won’t be doing anything to the chairs themselves – we love the wood look and now that we’ve seen how something other than white looks in there, there’s no way we’re getting rid of it!
Have you ever gone shopping at a relative’s house? Anyone else pick up some fun new furniture this weekend?
And recently, when I was browsing Craigslist, I just so happened to find the exact light being sold by a restaurant owner for only $35.
And, um, I HAD to have it.
It’s hard to see how it looks in the kitchen because it’s glass and directly in front of a window, but I absolutely love how it looks in our kitchen. It’s modern, minimal, and sleek, and it just makes me smile.
I also think it’s fantastic how it ties into the other lights in that area. The globe shape of it mimics the globe bulbs in our dining room light and the round shape of the light in our breakfast nook, and I think they all work together beautifully.
It’s a nice minimal and modern shape, and I also like that, as you can clearly see in the photos, it kind of blends into the area above the sink – it doesn’t detract from the other lights in the area (which are both very high-impact visually!) but it does complement them nicely.
Have I mentioned yet that I love it?
Because I do.
Since you can so easily see the bulb in it, we grabbed a vintage-style Edison lightbulb to use. They’re definitely on the expensive side (about $8 a bulb), but we rarely actually turn that light on, so we know it will last for a very long time. Plus, it looks pretty, right?!
I think this is a nice upgrade from our less-than-$20 Ikea light that we had here before, and I think it definitely gives our kitchen one more tiny little boost – and we all know our kitchen needs all the help it can get!
We’re finally at the point where we only have a few more ugly lights to replace in our home – like the ones in the bathrooms, the laundry room, the entryway, and of course the awful florescent light that’s still in our kitchen. We’re getting closer, and soon there won’t be an ugly light left in our home – I can’t wait for that day!
Anyone else in a war against ugly lights in your home? What about having a dream light for your kitchen? I can’t be the only one!
Corey and I been working for a while to find a light fixture for our breakfast nook that really fits the direction we’re wanting to go in this room. We wanted something nice and impactful that would make a statement, but we didn’t want to spend a ton of money. Corey and I tried to tackle it on our own and make something, but it was a big fat failure (despite our very successful attempt at building a dining room chandelier). Apparently, success at one light fixture does not translate to success in another.
We had a very specific vision for what we wanted to put in here – we wanted something large and orb-shaped with a lot of texture. We also wanted that would coordinate with (but not compete with) the big chandelier in our dining room, which is right across the room. Thankfully, with a bit of research and a lot of patience, we landed on the absolute perfect light for this space. It’s big, it’s gorgeous, and it adds a ton of character to this blank little nook.
I’ve talked before about how much Corey and I love the as-is section at Ikea. We found our beloved tulip table there, and hardly ever walk past it without seeing at least three or four things we want. So, it should come as no surprise that after browsing our favorite section on a random trip to Ikea recently we ended up buying much more than we anticipated.
But, we couldn’t help it. We stumbled on two stools that we’d been lusting over for months (the Dalfred stools) for only $25 each. Score!
We have been wanting to find stools for our kitchen island for a while now, but we were being very picky about them. We didn’t want anything with a back, because the area between the island and the counter is very narrow and we didn’t want to make it too cramped. Plus, we didn’t want to add too much to the room visually – we wanted something nice and low profile that would tuck underneath the island easily. Our other criteria? We wanted something with an industrial flair. Our island can lean towards feeling a bit country, and we knew that with the wrong stools we would end up with a completely country kitchen (especially until we can get around to getting rid of that awful fruit-themed backsplash), so we wanted to get something to off-set that a bit.
(Please excuse the area where I tested our paint color!)
They’re perfect, right? Of course, since they were in the as-is section, they were looking a bit worse for the wear (they’d been floor models in an earlier life) and needed a little bit of love. So, this weekend we picked out the perfect light gray paint at Lowe’s and gave them a makeover. We decided to leave the metal parts black (the round base near the bottom and the part that rotates to raise or lower the seat) partially because we liked the two-tone look, and partially because we knew that if we painted the rotating part, the paint would come right off after a few times of raising the seat. Thankfully, we love how they turned out and we think the gray and black look great together.
It’s so nice to have stools in our kitchen – it makes it a lot easier to hang out while we’re cooking, and it’s turned the kitchen into a room we spend a lot more time in. The Ikea as-is section has, once again, made us very, very happy!
Have you ever found anything awesome in the as-is section at Ikea?