Monday, August 22, 2016

Kitchen Update : Little Changes

Sometimes, making a small change can make a big impact.  As most people know, kitchens are usually considered the most expensive renovation in a house!  Adding up the cost of appliances, counters, cabinets, flooring, can really add up quickly.

Since a kitchen renovation isn't really in our budget right now, I've been making small changes that are making a big difference.  While these haven't been free upgrades, I've spent around $125 and about an afternoon making these improvements!  I think that they've made a big difference in our kitchen, and make it feel more like it's our style.

Clean - $0 - 2 hour

This might not be as fun as going shopping and making visual changes, but cleaning can make a huge impact on a space!  When we moved in, the cabinets were pretty grimy and dingy, the white floors (btw- NEVER get white floors in a kitchen!) were dirty, and the appliances looked used.  I spent a few hours cleaning everything and it made such a big change!

On the cabinets, I used a basic cleaning spray, and thoroughly cleaned the inside and outside.  I also took out all of the shelves (this is easiest when you first move in and don't put anything inside yet) and used a shopvac to get out any crumbs.

I love using CLR to clean appliances.  I used some to clean the inside of the dishwasher, as well as all of the stainless steel.  It made everything look so shiny and almost new when I was done!

When I got my first apartment, one of my first purchases was a basic Swiffer.  I use both dry and wet cloths all the time and love how simple they are to use.  I don't think the fancy models are necessary- basic works just fine for me!

Changing cabinet hardware - $56 - 1 hour

While I didn't hate the knobs that came with the kitchen, there were some big problems with them.  Not only were some knobs missing, but others were loose and would occasionally fall off when I would open a drawer.  Not the look I'm going for!

The house came with these basic silver knobs.  

I feel like this changes the look completely!  I love the modern black knobs!

This was another easy fix to make.  I found knobs that I liked at Target in a multi-pack, and spent an hour removing the old knobs and replacing them with the new ones.  This was really easy, and all you need is a screw driver!  When I had all of the knobs off, I spent time to clean the cabinets again (to get that space under the knob, which was pretty gross!).

I couldn't believe how much this changed the look of the kitchen!  I absolutely love the look of the new knobs, and didn't have to use any power tools or put in much work at all.

Accessorize - $70 - 15 minutes

Finally, an easy way to change up the look of a kitchen is to add in some accessories and inject your own style.  Since I spend a lot of time cooking (and then washing dishes), I wanted a comfortable rug to stand on.  I found this one at Target, and loved the flowery design that matched perfectly with the white walls.  

I didn't go too crazy with decorating, since I don't have a lot of counter space, and wanted space to actually prep food!  I bought canister jars at Marshalls to hold some dry ingredients (I use it for flour, sugar, rice and salt).  These were really cheap, and came in less than $15 total!  You can find similar ones on Amazon, but I would recommend checking out Marshalls or Homegoods first. 

Behind the jars, I layered a marble slab that I use for serving food.  I picked this one up at Target a while ago, and loved that I'm able to display it now!  I re-used a few other decorations that I had lying around, like a bud vase and fake flowers to brighten up the room a bit.

Beside that, you can see the spice racks that I got from Ikea.  This was a DIY project to match them with the rest of my decor, and now I love how they look.  I'm thinking about eventually mounting these to the wall, but for now they work fine resting on the counter.

Here's a before and after of the kitchen.  It still looks pretty similar, but I think these small changes made it look a lot better.  What do you think?

There are a few other projects that I want to do to the kitchen, but for now I love how it's looking! It's easy to make a few small changes that make a big impact on the room.  Here is my progress from my original kitchen plans post!

- Install under-cabinet lights : This is something that Dan requested, so I'll be adding these ASAP!

- Replace cabinet knobs

- Replace faucet : This is another quick and easy way to change up the look of a kitchen!

- Add back splash :  Right now there's no back splash in the kitchen, so I would love to add some.  I'm still deciding on the style and type that I want, so this won't happen right away!

- Organize

- Add some greenery : I have plans on adding in some more, and I can't wait to see how this turns out!

- Change lighting : This isn't something that was originally on my list, but I really want to replace the lights in the kitchen.  I liked them at first, but now that I'm making upgrades I'm not feeling them. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Recent Ikea Finds

Hi everyone!  This weekend, I went to one of my favorite places- Ikea.  Some people hate it, but I absolutely love it.  Looking through model rooms, getting design inspiration, and browsing row upon row of Swedish furniture- what could be better?!

Life pro tip- go on Sunday a few minutes before they open.  The parking lot was empty, and there were only a few people waiting to go in!  While you're waiting, you can grab something from the cafe, or get an Ikea Family card, which gives you deals and specials on random products, as well as free food!

I came equipped with a list of things that I wanted to buy, and miraculously stuck to it.  Here's what I picked up, along with some "Ikea Hacks" for some of the items.

Skogsta Bench  $69

The main item that I wanted to get was this bench.  If you remember from my living room tour, there's a wall near the front door that's pretty small and awkward.  I wanted something that would fit the width of the wall, and clear the vent. 

Luckily, this bench was the perfect size!  The wood feels really solid, and I love the color variation.  I'm thinking of adding a cushion to the bench to make it more comfortable, but for now I just added some pillows.  (I got these pillows a few years ago from Ikea as well, and they've held up really well!)

Bekvam Spice Rack  $3.99

One of my kitchen projects was to add a spice rack.  I like how simple (and cheap) this one is from Ikea, and I was inspired to "hack" it.  If you search online for spice rack hacks, you'll find everything from a book shelf to a clothing rack.  It's kind of making me want to buy a few more!  

For my own hack, I painted the sides and rail white, then used marble contact paper on the bottom.  It's still pretty simple, but I think this simple change made it look more finished.  I'm thinking about anchoring this to the wall eventually (maybe after I apply back-splash), but for now they fit perfectly on the counter!  To go along with the rack, I got these simple spice jars at the same time.

Fintorp Rail x Hook x Utensil Holder x Condiment Stand  $3.99 - $16.99

I can't wait to get these hung up start my herb garden!  I'm planning on it looking like the picture above, and I'll definitely share how it looks once I'm done.  I was pleasantly surprised by how high-quality the rail and buckets are, with some drainage in the bottom of the containers.  I also like the fact that the containers match my cabinets perfectly!

What is your favorite Ikea find?
Ikea lover or hater?
What's your favorite place to shop for home goods?