I believe that the kitchen is the most important room in any home. The kitchen is where food gets made, bodies get nourished, and important conversations happen. I’ve found that when your kitchen is in chaos, so is your life.
This is precisely the reason why I have been wanting to leave my apartment for the entire six months that I’ve lived there.
It all started when a pyrex dish exploded in my oven. I had been living in my apartment for about two weeks at that point and in hindsight, I think that pyrex dish was just a warning of things to come. After this incident I got an oven thermometer and realized that my oven was running about 200 degrees F hotter than it should have been. It also fluctuated in temperature so much that it got to the point that it was completely unusable. My apartment manager then replaced the oven and I had to spend the next month trying to burn off the fumes of the chemicals they used to clean it.
The other big problem I had with the kitchen is that the huge fridge was crammed into the tight kitchen space so you could barely stand at the counter or get to the sink. I wish I had taken better “before” photos so you could get the real effect, but just know that in any picture where you see the kitchen cart, that’s where the fridge used to be. And since my kitchen is pretty narrow, I couldn’t even open the fridge door the entire way or use the produce drawers. I’m not sure who designed the kitchen, but it was a really silly use of the space.
I finally got fed up last week and decided that I was either going to fix the kitchen or I was going to move. So I hauled the fridge across the room and put it at the end of the counter. Instantly this changed everything. I could suddenly access the entire fridge, I had room to walk to the sink, and the entire room felt more open and light. Sometimes all it takes is a simple change to get started.
Who knew that all it would take to make me absolutely love my kitchen is moving the fridge, installing a few overhead lights and a shelf, and getting a kitchen cart? After I completed the project I felt so silly for not doing it earlier! And, the best part? I actually love cooking in there now! I had forgotten that I used to actually like being in a kitchen!
My hope is that sharing my kitchen makeover with you will inspire you to create a kitchen that you adore and inspires you to create delicious food. So here we go!
This photo above doesn’t give you the full feel for the makeover – it just makes it look like I cleaned my kitchen, which actually wasn’t one of the problems to begin with. But, it was the closest photo I had to a “before” photo so that’s what we’ll roll with.
One of the most important tips I have for any home makeover project is that you have to start by purging and cleaning.
Here are my tips for getting started on a kitchen makeover:
- Pull everything out of the cabinets.
- Wipe down all the shelves.
- Throw out any food that is expired and/or food you simply don’t want to eat. (I know it’s hard to do this because it might seem “wasteful,” but I like to reframe this by thinking that I’m wasting the food by eating junk that my body doesn’t want.)
- Put any dry pantry goods into glass jars. (This always looks tidier than random bags and boxes and is much easier to access.)
- When you’re ready to start putting things back into the cabinet or shelves, think about efficiency. Make sure that the items you access on a daily basis are easy to reach.
The hard part is that during this stage your kitchen is going to look much messier than when you started.
To prove my point, here are my “during” photos…
And now it’s time to see the after!
Ahh… look at those pretty and organized shelves.
Improvements I made:
- As I mentioned earlier, the refrigerator used to be in the space where the kitchen cart is pictured above. I moved it to the other wall to open up the room and create a wider pathway to the sink area.
- Once I moved the fridge, I added a small kitchen cart so I would have a place to do small prep while I was cooking on the stove.
- I added a shelf above the cart so I could add a few decorative items and plants.
- I hung the two lights over the stove. This added some much-needed light and brightened up the space.
- Note: cart, shelf, and lights came from IKEA.
The great thing is that these are all simple, inexpensive, and temporary (very important if you’re a renter like me!) improvements that anyone can make in their kitchen.
What are your DIY kitchen makeover tips?