Show the Kitchen Some Love (31 days to Love the Home You Have)

31 days to Love the Home You Have

This post is part of a 31 day series – 31 days to Love the Home You Have.  I am blogging through the 31 day challenge in the back of the book “Love the Home You Have” by Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room.  You can read all the posts in the series so far here.  And to make sure you don’t miss a post you can sign up to have every post delivered to your inbox , or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram to get even more home decorating ideas and inspiration to help you fall in love with your home.

One of the most frequently used rooms in your home is probably your kitchen.  Even if you aren’t a big cook, I bet you still prepare some food in there, have dishes to do, food in fridge, eat breakfast at home, etc.  In most homes the kitchen is the heart of the home and people now refer to it as the new family room.  You may go through the mail in your kitchen, have a desk for some basic office supplies or a laptop, your kids do homework at an island, and of course prep and eat 3 meals a day in your kitchen.  Almost every time you have people over it is going to involve some sort of food which means some of the time you are going to be hanging out in/around your kitchen.

So today let’s tackle getting it clean, making sure it is functioning things needed and only things truly needed on the counters, and let’s make it pretty too!

So first the cleaning – start with dishes – load the dishwasher or wash/dry dishes and completely empty the sink.    Clean off the counters – remove mail or junk that doesn’t belong in the kitchen, wipe down the counters.  Then clean off the fridge – remember our clutter discussion?  Having stuff all over the fridge visually creates a cluttered atmosphere.  I try to limit the stuff on my fridge to a calendar and a small pad for making a grocery list.  I am only focusing on what can be seen but if you wish to clean out/rearrange the fridge and/or cabinets you can do that too. 

Then look at what is out on your counters still.  Is it things you truly use on a frequent basis?  It seems like every time I do a kitchen purge or reorganization project I remove something off my counters.  I am not one that doesn’t want ANYTHING on my counters, but I do like minimal or only very frequently used things on my counters.  And I also like those things to be pretty, organized, and appealing to the eye too.

This is the before of my kitchen before I started a budget makeover on it.  But this is the “clean” version of the before.

kitchen before

Now look at the after – see the things I have removed?    And how much cleaner it looks!  I rearranged and cleaned out the pantry and made room for another basket and moved all the snacks in that 2-tiered server into the pantry.  I also cleaned out the basket with my utensil crock in it and now only keep minimal things in there. 

Farmhouse Budget Kitchen Makeover

And not only did I remove something but I was able to add that vintage scale to add some “pretty” and farmhouse style to my kitchen but still keep the counters more cleaned off.

Farmhouse Budget Kitchen Makeover

And the fridge.  Not only did the before have more “stuff” all over the front/sides of the fridge but I had tried several different arrangements of décor on top but I never loved any of it. 

kitchen before

I cleaned everything off except a calendar and I usually have one small pad for a grocery list.  And then took everything off the top except for one large basket which I store chips in.  Not only did it make room in the pantry (so I could move the snacks into the pantry) but it looks more appealing to me.  It adds texture and décor and I love the look of baskets in any room. 

Farmhouse Budget Kitchen Makeover

And one more example.  I have a weird corner nook behind my sink.  I have had probably 20+ arrangements of décor and things over the years.  And for years because the florescent light in there made the lighting so bad, I had a lamp there for extra light.  But after I installed my new light fixture it gave me TONS more light and I removed the lamp.  I also have another solution for evening/night light in there that I will share soon. 

kitchen before

I opted to go VERY minimal with things back there after we installed the new countertops and DIY beadboard backsplash.  Right now I just have 3 small vintage milk glass dishes with succulents or small plants in them.    I just LOVE the cleaner/less cluttered look.

Farmhouse Budget Kitchen Makeover

NONE of those things that I did cost any money.  It was simply rearranging, removing, bringing in things from other rooms.  So take a hard look at your kitchen – maybe remove EVERYTHING off the counters and slowly put things back one at a time seeing if there is a way you can rearrange things, maybe some items you can store away that don’t get used frequently, or maybe just some things you can get rid of.  I currently only keep 2 appliances on my counters – a Kitchen Aid mixer and a Keurig.  I have a toaster, crockpot, regular coffee pot, electric skillet, and a food processor, but they are not used on a weekly basis so I have found a space in the cabinets where they are not hard to get out when I need them.  But my mixer is heavy and used several times a week and of course the Keurig is used daily, sometimes multiple times. Winking smile

Then take a good hard look at your kitchen.  What are some things you wish you could change or wish were different?   I am not talking about a major gut job but things like painting/repairing cabinets, changing out hardware on cabinets, new countertops, new sink/appliances, new flooring, adding a backsplash, etc.    All of those things can be DIY projects if you or someone in your family is able to tackle them.

You saw the before/after pictures of my kitchen above –  we bought and replaced our countertops ourselves (and no they aren’t granite) for less than $600, I installed the beadboard backsplash for about $50, I replaced the old florescent light fixture with a $4.00 spray painted thrift store fixture, and then I repainted my kitchen cabinets and replaced the hardware for less than $100.    So we have less than $800 in this kitchen makeover and it has made a HUGE difference.  I hated the kitchen from the minute I saw it when we first saw our home over 12 years ago.  And the changes that we made didn’t happen overnight.  As my DIY skills increased I finally felt like I could take on tackling a lot of the project myself saving us hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars. 

I loved this quote that Melissa shared – “We may not be able to afford other people’s expensive homes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from them that we can apply to our own, perhaps more humble, homes.” – (Love the Home you Have, p. 19) 

And that is EXACTLY what I did.  I pinned and studied and drooled over many kitchens over the years.  Kitchens that wouldn’t necessarily fit in our modest, builder basic home, nor our budget.  I found things that I LOVED about them (like a chandelier in a kitchen), or light stone looking counters, or lots of white (like a subway tile backsplash), upgraded dark bronze hardware, beautiful open shelving, and a clutter-free farmhouse/vintage look.  And I found ways that I could add ALL of those things in our kitchen on a seriously LOW budget.   

So if you have a dream kitchen board on Pinterest (here’s mine ;), browse through the pictures seeing what features repeat themselves.  Do you have kitchens with all white cabinets pinned the most but yet yours are outdated wood cabinets – then paint them!  Do you like dark hardware but yours is silver or some other kind of color?  Consider spray painting them or maybe invest in some new hardware.  Find some simple things you can do to make your kitchen more YOU without hiring Kitchen Crashers to come to your house.

I just have to share a picture of Melissa’s kitchen remodel for some further inspiration because I adore that subway tile.  And the 2-toned cabinets – white on top and dark gray on the bottom – LOVE that too!


Challenge for today: Clean the kitchen – dishes, counters, outside of cabinets and fridge, and floors.  Then clean off the countertops – see if you can remove/rearrange some things on the counters to make your kitchen more functional and pretty.  And then dream a bit – what are some things you could do to change your kitchen to make it be more you?  Make a list and see what project you could tackle or save up money to tackle soon.


  1. Hi Christina,

    I am SO enjoying this series and all of your great tips! Looking forward to each day!

  2. Great ideas! I love the concept of just rearranging thing or moving things from one room to another to get a fresh new look without spending a dime. As for the kitchen, we recently gave ours an update just by cleaning and using Howard’s refinisher and wax on the oak cabinets, new oiled rubbed bronze hardware from an EBay store and new Trafficmaster Ceramica resilient tile flooring (Home Depot) that is peel and stick but looks like ceramic tile in a warm golden tan, went right over the top of our old worn out light gray vinyl tile. I think the flooring and hardware, plus some new trim was probably under $400 but made such a difference!

  3. Thank you for your inspirational series. We are a family of 4 living in a small cape cod style home . Unfortunately my main rooms of “living” are the kitchen and living room. I love my stuff, but after reading your blog I realize that less is better! After spending some time clearing space from surfaces I already feel better about living in my cozy home with the things we love . I’d love some suggestions on decorating for the holidays using the same clean approach!

  4. Donna Marie says:

    I love your blog, as I am frugal myself, and am learning to love the house that I live in, with each step that you suggest!!!

  5. Hello, Christina! I love your article, and the way you present the things. I spend most of my time in the kitchen cooking for my family. So basically everyday I cook and clean the kitchen. I am happy to find and read your cleaning ideas. It’s great to share some cleaning tips and experience! Greetings

  6. Wow! Your counters look awesome! I love the pattern you went with. Thanks for sharing!
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