Thank y’all so much for your kind and supportive comments on yesterday’s post. You are seriously the best. Now back to decorating. As I slowly but surely work on improving our kitchen the ideas for easy upgrades just keep coming. Some of them I’ve already implemented, some are on the to do list, and some are not right for me but may be perfect for you. So if you’ve got a kitchen that is just not quite where you want it to be either functionally or aesthetically read on for a few ideas to improve it.

Nine Easy and Inexpensive Kitchen Upgrades

1. Hang your pots. Whether you spring for an official pot rack or DIY your own (my mind was totally blown by this Ikea-hacked version), there has got to be a better way to store pots and pans than stacked haphazardly in a cabinet. If you’re fancy you could even install pull-out shelves in your cabinets.

2. Install a USB wall outlet. If you’ve got iPhones, Kindles, or other USB-charging devices this could be a total lifechanger. It’s only $25 and I feel like this is one of those little things that would impress homebuyers if you’ve got resale in mind.

usb wall outlet

Amazon

3. Organize your fridge and freezer. Our freezer is on the bottom and has two deep drawers that are in desperate need of organization. I plan on taming it with plastic bins after my next trip to the dollar store.

4. New hardware. If your existing pulls have two holes instead of one be sure to measure the distance and buy hardware that will match, making the switch a breeze. You can even do this as a renter if you save the old hardware to replace when you move out!

5. Add a table lamp. No electrician necessary for this added task lighting and it lends a cozy vibe.

put a table lamp on the kitchen counter

Luca Trovato / House Beautiful

6. Change out the window treatments. Adding new matchstick blinds, a cafe curtain, or even just ditching whatever’s up there currently to let the light shine in can make a huge difference.

7. Pot some plants. Herbs are the obvious choice, but if you find them as difficult to keep alive indoors as I do give aloe a try. It thrives on neglect and you can rip open a piece to soothe a burn.

8. Put up shelves. I have been itching to do this for years and can’t wait! Wall-mounted shelves offer increased storage and display space for very little cost and effort.

9. Install a simple backsplash. Beadboard panels or sheet metal are easier to work with than tile and if you’re a renter you can even install them temporarily.

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I’m a firm believer in loving the place where you live! You don’t have to save up for a big remodel or move to have a place that feels like home.

I hope y’all each have a fabulous weekend and thanks as always for reading!

There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.

I’ve written honestly in the past about some of the things I struggle with. I’m overweight. I battle depression. I’m far from perfect. These things have been on my mind more lately as my weight loss efforts stalled over the holidays and my depression seems to have returned with a vengeance. After a very embarrassing crying-in-public incident recently I saw my doctor and got back on an antidepressant that’s worked well for me in the past. These things take a few weeks to start working but just taking action is helpful. I’m also, deep breath here, thinking about seeing a therapist. This is tough because I AM a therapist. What could anyone possibly tell me that I don’t already know? But the idea that someday Jack will be a grown man who could be sitting in a therapist’s chair discussing the ways in which his mother’s issues affected him is motivation enough to swallow my pride. Anybody local have an awesome therapist to recommend? No way am I going to anybody I already know!

I gained a few pounds over the holidays but am back on track now and a half pound lighter than I was at Thanksgiving. I’ve said it before and I want to be clear: this weight loss thing is about my health and well-being, not body image. I need to get healthy and strong for many reasons, but the greatest is that eventually Nick and I would love to have another child. My pregnancy with Jack was very difficult. It gave me so much respect for people who deal with chronic pain. I saw a new OB recently who gave me some great advice on preparing for my next pregnancy, including getting healthy and doing PT to fix whatever’s wrong with my back that caused me so much pain last time. So let me add “finding a babysitter so I can go to PT” to my to-do list.

So that’s what’s going on with me. Forgive me for just putting it all out there like that. This blog is my creative outlet and I actually started it as part of my effort to pull myself out of a previous bout with depression. I feel such a sense of community with the folks who read, whether you comment or not, and I love you dearly. Whatever you’re struggling with please know you’re not alone.

How to Develop DIY Skills

Nick and I are far from handy. I have a bit of an advantage in that I come from a long line of DIYers on both sides of my family, but the fact that I am not at all detail oriented holds me back. And I am not even exaggerating a tiny bit when I tell you that Nick could. not. hammer. a. nail. when we bought our house. I’m serious. I had to hammer all the nails. But the idea of home improvement is very appealing to me and so obviously as soon as we moved in I started planning projects. Nick is not so interested in this sort of thing but he goes along with it for my sake. And since we’re both cheap (Nick more so than me) and money doesn’t grow on trees the only way we’re ever completing any of these projects is to do them ourselves. So how did we gain the skills to get ‘er done?

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Google. Lots and lots of google. The internet is full of quacks but it can also be a wealth of knowledge. Before I start any project I research extensively, reading as many blog posts and other resources as I can from other folks who have tackled similar projects. I take notes and make a list of the supplies required and the steps I’ll need to take. And since Nick is not at all interested in spending his free time reading about home improvement I then take what I’ve learned and coach him on what I need him to do. I’m really lucky that he usually just goes along with whatever plan I’ve got as long as I’m not busting our budget. We were driving to Lowe’s the other day to pick up supplies for our beadboard backsplash and we were almost there by the time he turned to me and asked as if it’d just occurred to him, “What’s beadboard?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

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Here are some of my favorite resources for researching home improvement projects:

  • Good ol’ Google. Can’t beat that with a stick.
  • Ana White has lots of tutorials on woodworking, furniture building, and even home construction.
  • YouTube is an excellent resource for researching small and complex projects. I used it recently to learn how to fix a broken pane in a french door (though that particular project is still on the to do list!)
  • That Home Site/GardenWeb are great for researching purchases, renovations, outdoor projects, and, of course, gardening. Use the search feature to find forum threads related to your topic.
  • Pinterest is great for finding pictures to help you decide the look you’re going for. The search box is your friend!

Take notes, make lists, and have confidence. We’re not going to be tearing down walls anytime soon, but for less complex projects like creating a garden where there once was grass or even replacing a backsplash you can absolutely gain the skills you need with internet access and a bit of determination. I believe in you!

My kitchen walls are still very much unfinished but I’m already thinking ahead to the next step.

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I plan on hanging open shelves on either side of the range to add interest and create storage. But I’m torn on what materials to use. Should I create some contrast with stained wood shelves mounted on dark brackets, like in these two inspiration photos?

apartment therapy

Apartment Therapy

HGTV

HGTV

Or should I stick with classic and monochromatic white shelves with white brackets?

jones design company

Jones Design Company

Victoria Pearson

Victoria Pearson

Or I could strike a compromise with white shelves mounted on dark brackets.

Lauren Leiss

Lauren Liess

So, which way do you think I should go? Cast your vote in the survey below and elaborate in the comments if you feel so inclined!