I am all about a pretty space. I’m also all about a real-life space. The problem is that pretty + real life don’t always work together. I always struggle with finding that happy balance between pretty and real life in the kitchen. Prime example: The chips will always live on top of the fridge. No, it’s not pretty, but that’s where we expect them to be, so that’s where they will always be, unless we magically get more pantry or cabinet space … which I won’t hold my breath for.
That being said, these are my best kitchen ideas for merging real life and pretty. Doritos bag on the refrigerator not included.
Create a coffee station.
My coffee station has only been around for the past few months, and let me tell you it has made my morning coffee ritual so much smoother. You see, I tend to want my morning coffee faster than the Keurig can make it. I know-that’s like the purest definition of impatience. I corralled my K-Cups, sugar and spoons all on a cheap little IKEA tray to get my coffee in my mug as soon as possible. The only thing that isn’t there is the creamer in the fridge. Obviously, it’s not realistic to leave the creamer sitting out overnight uncovered, so I use that pitcher for my spoons. The little Cafe Du Monde sign is a nice reminder of my favorite city in the world.
Use a locker basket to hold fruit.
I hate those banana hanger/holder things. I have no idea why, but they drive me crazy. Instead, I use a vintage locker basket to hold all our fruit.
Use a shiny pitcher to hold cooking utensils.
When I found a great silver pitcher at Goodwill, I nearly peed my pants. It does the job of holding all the ugly cooking utensils while adding a touch of chic.
Use a tray to corral salt, pepper, olive oil, etc.
Right beside the silver pitcher is a small, rustic-y tray that holds salt, pepper and olive oil. The tray keeps everything corralled in one spot and makes them feel unified.
Bring in color with barstools.
Lots of kitchens lack color. In fact, just about everything in my kitchen is black and white except for the barstools and curtains. In terms of furniture, barstools are pretty cheap, which makes them a perfect candidate for color. Buy a cheap pair at Target and spray paint them, or scour thrift stores for some to make over. I gave my barstools a kelly green and navy blue makeover a couple of years back, and I’ve been in love ever since.
Switch out your hardware.
Granted, I painted my cabinets and switched out the hardware, but never underestimate the power of just switching out hardware. My husband and I did this at our little cottage, and it totally changed the look of the entire kitchen. We probably spent less than $50 on new hardware, but it had a big impact. You can even change the location of your hardware and cover the holes easily.
Don’t want to trade out your hardware? Try restoring it.
If your hardware is pretty old, chances are it could use a good cleaning. You might realize you have a little gem under all the grime. Here’s how to restore your hardware.
Build your own island or peninsula.
Our kitchen island was made from porch posts and salvaged barn wood-and it only cost about $100 to make, excluding the counter. And if you don’t want to build one, look at these seven kitchen island ideas-you can even use a dresser for an island.
Have fun with sweets.
This mohawk lollipop holder is definitely not all that kitchen-y. It’s not really even needed. But it’s fun and quirky. And I like that. The kid especially loves getting her lollipops out of the mohawk.
Use locker baskets for cookbook storage.
A kitchen ideas post wouldn’t be complete without my vintage locker basket cookbook storage. I’ve had them up almost three years, and they haven’t budged.
Ditch some upper cabinets for open shelving.
When my husband and I started the kitchen reno, I knew I wanted open shelving somewhere. Originally, I wanted it on both sides of the window (and would still like that), but there wasn’t enough space for the shelving we bought from IKEA on the left side of the window. The shelving is pretty and functional. You can see our entire kitchen renovation here.
What are your best kitchen ideas for decorating, organizing and storage?
Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk décor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected] or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.