Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Easy Inexpensive Kitchen Up-date Ideas

As I've said before, everything and everyone has a story.  While my kitchen is based around my trip to Prague and Czech heritage, it gave me the vision and inspiration to work with.  And while you don't have to do what I did but as I explain and show you my journey in decorating I hope you will think about what you love and perhaps some of my ideas can be altered for your taste.

I got this bird from The Graphics Fairy.
 I printed it out, cut and used it as a

And used it to add to the stencilled "Bakery"
above front window.  On the real bakery sign,
in Prague, there was only one bird.

I was saving these wine bottles for something else but the mouth of the bottles wound up being too small.  After scrubbing off the labels, I just put them on the table with artificial flowers.  One would be fine!

Have wicker baskets?  No?  The dollar stores are a great place to check.  I had a grouping on a previous dining room wall; some faced out, others the wall.  Some had 'something' on them and others didn't.  When I needed a bread basket or chip bowl, I'd grab them off the wall, put a clothe napkin in it and serve.  When I was done, the napkin went in the laundry and the basket back on the wall.  Easy and inexpensive!
I have been saving wine corks for years.  What is in the glass (I think Anchor Hocking) is just about what's left after doing some easy projects.  In the glass, a basket, or jar, they are part of the decor until the next project comes along.
The only true cost is the bottle of wine you buy and drink.  I am on a mission for drink more "Barefoot" wine for the cork with the foot imprint for some beach projects.



I picked up 2 wreaths and some ribbon at the dollar store and came home and glued wine corks to the wreaths.  Added the ribbon over the back of door, which had an up-side down hook.  Tied a bow and done!  I also replaced my knobs with cork.  I want to put cork boards on the inside of cabinets and hang my measuring cups and spoons too.

Replaced knobs on drawers (pictured)
and cabinets with wine corks.  I did it this way
to see the design on the cork.

wanted to judge coverage
without priming.  The up-side down hook
to hang wreaths.

I knew I wanted to do something with the "bakery" sign... it was a really good bakery.  But after looking and loving how sun-shiny bright the kitchen was, I starting thinking it was my sunshine...thus, You Are My Sunshine ... and looked it up on the Google Translator in Czech and stenciled it and a sun.
I starting thinking of 'Prague' or 'Cafe' or.... but you can stencil what ever you want... THE JONES FAMILY  est. 2010... you can see in the picture, it is not perfect but it's mine and I did it and it is personal to me.  Do something that is meaningful to you.  It will cost you around $5, if that... or do it feel hand!

Shop your closest.  Do you have a straw bag or tote?  I just found a recycle shopping bag with big flowers in Staples and I heard that Marshall's has 'Paris' recycled shopping bags.  I still have to check that out.  I have to get better at no plastic at the stores so I have been storing those bags in the straw bag.  (A gift, special to me, from my sister's trip to Thailand.) I do use them, especially for the dog clean-ups, so I am not just throwing them out.

I was going to run a shelf even with the fan on both sides of the stove but had these wood boxes and used them instead.  You could do the same idea with a decoupaged shoe box, a drawer that has no other use, use wood to make a square (Lowe's or Home Depot will cut). Clears my counter of salt and pepper and the timer and I think it looks cute.

I have 2 of these wall dish racks.  The top plate my son did in 1984 and the other 2 are my great-grandmother's and they are from Czechoslovakia.  I now what to unpack her dishes and do a display on the shelf of my pass through so stay tuned.

I displayed toys brought back from Prague... do you have souvenirs that spark wonderful memories or gifts that remind of a special time, place or person?  Display it and enjoy it everyday.

Storage space is of a premium here.  Rather than just pile up the extra cases of water, I used an out-side works and stays neat.  The decorative boxes hold 1) dish towels, 2) clothe napkins and the box on the bottom is medications and supplements not used daily.  These boxes came this way, I think from Party City, but you can use Mod Podge and decorate shoe boxes any way you like.

Hang YOUR pictures.  The top two pictures are pictures I took, matted and framed.  The one one the left is a picture from our hotel room over looking Prague and Prague Castle in the background.  The one to the right is a picture of the bakery!  The picture right above is 4 postcards of street lights and all have yellow in them.  You would think I knew what I was going to do in 2005!  Take your pictures out of those boxes, albums or hard drive and frame them so you can enjoy them.  Frames and mats can be found inexpensively at dollar stores or make your own mats for decorative papers, construction paper or draw your own.

I found this flower pot in the dollar store and using it for my cooking utensils but it's a little too short.  I'm going to try spray painting my next coffee can.

And last, but not least, soap containers!  The orange top is a plastic bottle that looks like those bar-b-q ketchup bottles.  The cut glass bottle is actually an oil bottle that I am going to try putting dish soap in.  They do just look nicer than the plastic bottles they come in and now I can just buy the big refill bottles.

So I think I gave you 16 ideas here that can be incorporated into most any decor but don't forget the obvious:
  1. Do a good cleaning;
  2. Paint the walls...cabinets...refrigerator (if old but working) ... just paint the trim... the ceiling... or all of the above.  I painted the walls and ceiling a pale yellow and the cabinet doors a yellow one shade darker.  The trim around the side window and stencilled in a coral-orange.  I want to use black board paint on the refrigerator.
  3. Change the curtains... and wash the windows.
  4. Re-arrange the furniture or move the table or both.
So that's 20 and I am sure we can come up with another 20 but I hope you find some inspiration for your kitchen.  Remember, it's a journey, not a race.


  1. These are great date ideas! Dates don't have to be always dinner outs but must be fun as well. Great post you got here. Thanks for the information that you've shared with your readers. :)


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