My $14 Kitchen Makeover

I loathe my kitchen. It was apparently designed by a bachelor who did not cook and it’s ridiculous. We have tons of storage everywhere in the apartment except the kitchen. Every day, I yell “I hate this kitchen” while making dinner. But not anymore! Now that we’ve completed our $14 kitchen makeover, I don’t love it, but I hate it a lot less.

These are photos of my old kitchen and my new kitchen. See the difference? It’s subtle. It’s the wire cage shelving – we don’t need it in my new kitchen. No, we didn’t start buying less food. Instead, we installed this wondrous thing: the shelf. It’s a simple plywood shelf, but it’s made using our kitchen a lot easier.


What We Did
It all started with the new microwave. Our old one was shooting sparks, so I asked the manager to replace it. Rather than installing the new microwave in the same place under the counter, they installed it over the stove. My mom suggested that we remove the old microwave and install a shelf in its place.

Removing the microwave was easy – it was only held in by four screws. My dad and my husband then went to Home Depot to have a piece of thick plywood cut down to size. We already had a drill, level, and lots and lots of screws. I’m one of those people who saves every unused screw from every kit, package, or piece of furniture I buy, and I have for years. They also bought a small strip of wood to support the shelf.

The total installation time took less than an hour. Now we can freely access all our cabinets (few though they are), and open the fridge all the way.

Additional Kitchen Makeover Ideas
If you have a tiny kitchen and a full remodel is out of the question (whether it’s due to lack of funds or lack of ownership), you do still have several makeover options:

Pot Rack: I considered hanging a pot rack when I first moved in, but the ceiling is a giant, fluorescent light fixture. Hanging one from the wall still would have limited our ability to access the freezer.

Magnetic knife rack: If you’re short on drawer space and don’t want a knife block (or are short on counter spice), bolt a magnetic knife rack to the wall.

Magnetic spice rack: You can also buy metal spice containers and attach them to a magnetic wall strip.

Removable shelf: the shelf on our counter was part of set of kitchen equipment. We set it on the counter to double our counter storage space.

Hanging baskets: My best friend hung wire baskets from the ceiling in her tiny New York City kitchen. Rather than use it for fruit, she used it for plastic spice bottles, garlic, and onions. These are also handy for holding bottles in the shower.

Cup hooks: Screw metal hooks under your cabinet and hang your mugs, spatulas, or other lightweight items from them.

Relocate your storage: If you can’t do any of the above, you could buy a cheap bureau with deep drawers or buy a stand-alone cabinet and hutch. Put them in the dining room or just outside the kitchen to add more storage space. Just make sure the drawers have sturdy bottoms if you plan to put dishes, pots, or pans in them.

For now, we’re happy with the dining room cabinet and our new kitchen shelf. I will probably be able to tolerate the kitchen a lot longer now.

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