How to Create a Bright, Functional Kitchen on Any Budget

February 8, 2016

Do all kitchens necessitate clutter? We think not.

A few years ago, if you were to tell me that I’d be spending hours toiling away in the kitchen on weekends and chopping and blending on weeknights, I don’t think I would have believed you. When I first went vegan, I was mostly drawn to easy meals, often microwaving a veggie burger and throwing it over a salad for a simple lunch. I was also in college and didn’t quite know how to cook or have much of a desire to spend extended periods of time in the kitchen.

However, as is so often the natural course of things, over time I became much more interested in cooking my own meals from scratch and using whole food ingredients instead of meat analogues. These days, cooking is therapeutic for me, a respite from the stress and busyness of the work week. The only problem? My current kitchen isn’t exactly the most functional, and coupled with the drab design, I feel less than inspired to spend a Saturday afternoon inside.

If you’re looking to renovate your culinary space (if only cosmetically) or increase its functionality, the good news is that it’s possible to create a beautiful space without spending a lot of money. Here’s how to do it.

Avoid counter clutter.

If you’re working with a tiny kitchen with limited cabinet space, it can be hard to avoid a little clutter on the counter top. That said, try to prioritize storing some of your infrequently used items, or things you don’t really want to look at every day (for me, this is my spiralizer). Give everything on the counter a designated spot: keep your blender and food processor next to an electrical outlet if possible, and store your oven mitts next to the stove.

Utilize vertical space.

If your landlord allows you to drill into the walls, adding hanging storage is a great way to maximize space and give your kitchen a lived-in feel. I recommend adding some hooks above your sink to hang coffee mugs or tea cups–instant storage and pretty decor! If you’re unable to put holes in the walls, use adhesive hooks instead. You can also install a spice rack like this one to have your favorite seasonings at the ready.

Display items you use often.

It’s my personal belief that you should invest in pieces that inspire you to cook and enjoy the process. Add punches of color and interesting details by displaying cookbooks, cooking utensils, aprons, and even pots and pans.

Re-purpose household items for ample storage.

To save even more money on kitchen organization, be creative and utilize old household items that you might otherwise discard. For example, you could re-purpose an old vase and use it to hold cooking utensils. Bring in an old bookcase and use the shelves to store pots and pans. Get creative and customize to your own personal style!

Do you have any tips for making your kitchen more functional (and prettier)? Let us know in the comments below. 

Also by Molly: Healthy Sides: Sweet and Savory Broccoli Rabe

8 Foodie Projects to Try This Year

Related: 10 Must-Haves to Maximize a Small Kitchen

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Photo by: Ann Gordon via Flickr

Contributing Editor Molly Lansdowne lives in Boston, Massachusetts. In her free time, she enjoys writing, practicing yoga, and traveling around New England. Follow Molly on Pinterest @bostonvegan and Instagram @molly_lansdowne.


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