I’ve eagerly devoured a steady diet of HGTV since early high school. And if I’ve learned anything from Sarah Richardson, Jonathan Scott, or Joanna Gaines over the years, it’s that the most budget friendly way to achieve the look you’re after is to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.
Living in an expensive metropolitan area certainly puts a damper on home ownership prospects, but with a little bit of elbow grease, and a lot of creativity, renters can also make a space their own. In fact, this is even true in a room with seemingly little opportunity for personalization, such as the kitchen.
With a dishwasher, garbage disposal, natural light, and generous square footage, the kitchen in our cozy attic apartment is fabulously functional. But widespread visible clutter and slightly disjointed color scheme (a purple wall, a yellow wall, and a red door) had me dreaming of a more tidy, Nancy Myers inspired aesthetic.
The primary source of clutter was the lack of built in storage, which had been addressed by previous tenants with a mismatched array of bookcases overflowing with mugs, mixing bowls, and foodstuffs. The second ‘before’ photo does not fully illustrate the direness of the situation, as I didn’t think to take before photos until I had already put two of the white cabinets in.
With my landlord’s blessing, and roommates who are willing to humor my creative whims, I set out for a miniature home improvement project over the long weekend of Columbus Day. A fresh coat of paint and a few new accents can make a world of difference, but the best part is that the entire makeover cost less than most dining room tables.
If you think that all budget-conscious renters are stuck living in drab apartments, I’ve got a paint stained t-shirt and two happy roommates that beg to differ.
- Target Cabinets (3 @ $35 ea.) — $105
- Target Shelves (3 @ $25 ea.) — $75
- Brass Hardware for Cabinets ( 6 @ $5.79 ea. + shipping) — $42
- 1 gallon of blue paint — $33
- 1 quart of chalkboard paint — $17
- Supplies (rollers, brushes, tray, drop cloth, spackle, primer, etc.) — $55
- GRAND TOTAL: $327
- Wall color: B373 Bristol Bay by True Value Paint
- Chalkboard door: Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint in Black Finish, from Economy True Value Hardware
- White Cabinets: 2-Door Stackable Storage Cabinets from Target
- Brass Hardware for White Cabinets: Sumner Street Home Hardware Minted 4 In. Satin Brass Cabinet Pull, from Home Depot (note: I measured wrong, these were not a perfect fit…)
- Wall Shelves: Threshold Natural Wood Shelves with Brackets, from Target
- Glass Storage Containers: Weck 974 Jars (54oz), from Weck
- Glass/Chalkboard Jar: Chalk Note Canister, from Pier One
- Glass Spice Jars: Rajtan Spice Jars, from Ikea
- Artwork: Print of El Jaleo, by John Singer Sargent, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum store
- Gold Frame: Craig Frame in Ornate Gold Finish, from Amazon
- Wooden Cart: Forhoja Kitchen Cart, from Ikea