A beautiful kitchen can make cooking an even more joyful experience. Fortunately, you don’t need a hefty renovation budget or a career in interior design to make over your kitchen. Just try these simple upgrades.


It’s easy to store your dry goods in the boxes they came in, but ditching those packages for something reusable can make navigating your pantry a lot easier. For starters, transitioning to storage bins is a smart way to consolidate space and keep tabs on what you have. Have you ever purchased a new box of cereal, only to discover you had a half a box of the same brand hiding in the back of your cabinet when you got home? With a plastic bin you can store the contents of both packages without taking up two boxes of pantry real estate. And with clear bins you can see how much of a certain ingredient you have at a quick glance. Even better, many food storage containers on the market today come with airtight lids, which can potentially extend the shelf life of your groceries.


Magnetic strips can be spotted alongside conventional knife holders in many home goods stores, but making one yourself is simple. The only materials you need are a wooden block, glue, screws, and a set of strong magnets. Carve a groove in the back of the block in which to insert your magnets. Next, lay them down so that the polarities alternate (North, South, North, South, etc.) and seal them with glue. Drill the block into your kitchen wall so that the magnets face inward, leaving the blank wood side for hanging knives. When done properly, the rig clears up precious counter space you can use for actual meal preparation—just make sure the magnets are strong enough and the strip is securely mounted.


If you spend money on fresh herbs every week or find yourself buying bunches of herbs when you only need a tablespoon or two for a recipe, consider growing your herbs at home. As long as your kitchen gets enough natural sunlight, you can cultivate your herbs in the same room where you keep the rest of your ingredients. Just plant them in a pot with good drainage, place them in a sunny spot, and feed them regularly with water and plant food. In addition to having a constant supply of herbs on hand, you’ll also have something vibrant to brighten up your kitchen space.


When it comes to inexpensive, convenient, DIY storage, it’s hard to beat a pegboard. The material can be found at most hardware stores, and once a sheet of it has been mounted on your kitchen wall, all you need are a few hooks to transform it into a space for hanging pots, pans, mugs, measuring cups, and any other tools you don’t have room for in your cabinets.


Most kitchens are already tight on space, but if you can afford the room you should definitely set aside a special place for your cookbook collection. If you keep them in a different spot in the house, you may find that you forget to crack open your cookbooks once it actually comes time to get dinner on the table. Even if you only use hard-copy recipes on special occasions, a row of cookbooks is an easy way to add a personal touch to your kitchen decor. How you choose to display your cookbooks is also an opportunity to get creative: Dig out a vintage basket or crate, or build your own bookshelf and display your books on the wall.


Chalkboards are a great way to keep your thoughts and tasks organized, and with special chalkboard paints they’re easy to add to any surface in your kitchen. Your chalkboard can take up a tiny area or cover an entire wall. Once the paint is dry, all you need is some chalk to jot down whatever you’re feeling that day: You can write something practical, like conversions for measurements, or doodle a whimsical design. You can even use it to display that night’s menu when entertaining company. Writing a new message is as easy as wiping the old one away, so there’s endless room to have fun with it.

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