How to Have a Beautiful Kitchen on a Budget

First of all everyone has their own budget and everyone also has their own idea of what beautiful is. So with this in mind…I am going to share what I did on a budget (which is a work in process) and what I feel makes it a beautiful kitchen.

For any budget I feel there are three things that one can do for no cost or very low cost. 1) Keep the space clean and decluttered. 2) Use dual purpose storage/organization tools. Pick decor pieces that double as storage. Only have pieces that have a function as this helps keep the space feeling more spacious and stylish. 3) Add some fresh flowers to the space. It gives the feeling of elegance and adds to the fragrance of the space if your budget allows.

Now here is what I did for this space. This isn’t the whole kitchen but it gives you a visual of my improvements. We moved in to this home years ago. There was nothing wrong with the kitchen space as it functioned for our needs. It just wasn’t the style we liked. We lived in the space and made small improvements while saving money for some of the bigger improvements.

The first thing I did was replace all light switches, outlets, and their covers. The previous owners either painted them or dripped paint on them trying to hide the 1980’s yellow ivory color. This was a small improvement which nobody would notice but me but it drove me crazy to keep them. It is really inexpensive to do and I did know how to rewire them. What an impactful change it made to the kitchen.

Next I replaced the huge oak fluorescent light fixture that was in the middle of the kitchen ceiling. Again, nothing wrong with it as it functioned, but it hung down about 8 inches from the ceiling in an already low ceiling space. So we put in canlights that were the same as the rest of the space.

A few years later we replaced the appliances.  The microwave died and all of the appliances were original to the home so it was time to update.

The appliances didn’t fit the space like the older ones did so we had to move some cabinets to fit the fridge and therefore the flooring needed to be updated. So…we replaced the hardwood and tile flooring and updated to one flooring throughout the whole kitchen and dining rooms.

Then came the cabinets a few years later. These are the original cabinets, again nothing was wrong with them they just were the 1980’s oak,and outdated hardware. We used a couple of Rustoleum kits in Espresso and refinished the cabinets which was way cheaper that buying new cabinetry. We opted to replace the hardware but one could cut costs by spray painting the existing hardware to give it an updated look.

We then bought a new faucet to match the coloring of the new cabinet hardware. We still need to update the sink, countertops, and maybe add a backsplash, but for now we just updated the paint on the wall and that made a huge difference.

Other  little things that I do to make my kitchen beautiful is I don’t have rugs in my kitchen. I did for years but I find they collect debris and dog hair and takes away from the beautiful clean kitchen vibe I prefer. I also don’t hang towels from the stove, fridge, or dishwasher handles. I think it makes the space look dirty and cluttered. I prefer to hang a clean cloth and towel by the sink and when it is dirty I replace with a clean one at the end of the day.

The last thing I have done is to keep the inside of my cabinets and fridge organized. Everything has a place and therefore no clutter piles up at the snack bar.

Some people have a bigger budget and can do the work or have someone do all the work at once. I didn’t have a large budget so I did a little at a time. I was fortunate to have a functional kitchen so I could DIY the kitchen as I had the money and the time.

I will share my organization with you all on a later post.

Chemical Free Cleaning: White Kitchen Sink

Do you have a white sink in your kitchen? One that stains easy and gets scuff marks from pots and pans? Well I do and perhaps you can relate. I was looking for something to use to clean my sink without the harsh chemicals. I have used bleach spray and soft scrub and other cleaning products in the past. I now use baking soda and lemon to remove stains and scuff marks and it works beautifully. No more chemical products as everything I need I always have in stock at my home.

All you do is: sprinkle baking soda into an empty sink. Cut a lemon in half…use one half on each side of the sink. You hold on to the lemon as a scrubber and the juice from the lemon reacts to the baking soda and the marks and stains just disappear. I usually spend about 5 minutes cleaning the sink. Just rinse out the sink and it will be shiny white. The sink not only comes out white, the house smells amazing, and you can rinse the sink and throw the lemon down the garbage disposal and it cleans your garbage disposal too. It is a win-win.

I thought I would share how I have been cleaning my white sink. The best part is it is inexpensive, chemical free, and stuff I always have on hand. Happy cleaning!

Pottery Barn Vanity: Makeup & Jewelry Storage

I received this beautiful piece of furniture for Christmas a few years back. It is the Hampton Vanity Tower & Super Set from Pottery Barn Teen.

It is a beautiful piece of furniture and organizational tool as is, but I had to make a couple of modifications to it. I didn’t like the look of the cork boards on the inside of the doors. I covered them in foam board wrapped in fabric. I use this section to hang my necklaces and it works beautifully.

I also didn’t want the expense of buying storage pieces to use within the drawers to organize my makeup and jewelry. So I opted to make simple DIY drawer organizers out of foam board and covered them in fabric. It is visually pleasing and very inexpensive and makes this look like a custom piece.

This is the before picture without the drawer organizers. As you can see, there is a lot of storage and possibilities for organization. Below, you will see the DIY drawer organizers that I made for a more customized organization.

I have had this piece organized several different ways over the past few years. I am getting ready to reorganize and declutter my makeup and jewelry. I will post photos here of the before and after.

Do you have some helpful tips to share on how you organize your makeup and jewelry?

Natural & Chemical Free Home Cleaning Tips

Who doesn’t enjoy a fresh clean home?  I like to have a clean home that also has a nice fragrance that is natural, chemical free, and pet friendly.

Here are 10 Tips that I use that you may find helpful.

Tip 1: Open the windows (weather permitting)

Fresh air is always the best way to freshen up the house and it doesn’t cost a thing!

Tip 2: Use essential oils

Replace your furnace filter every month. I like to put a couple of drops of essential oils on the new filter so when the furnace runs it releases a hint of the essential oil aroma throughout the house.

Place a couple of drops of essential oils on the inside of the toilet paper roll. (Eucalyptus oil, lavender, or any other oil you prefer.) It gives the bathroom a hint of freshness without being overpowering.

Make toilet bombs for cleaning your toilets. (Baking soda, citric acid, and essential oils). I make mine into daisy shapes and let them harden. Once hardened, I place 1-2 daisies in the toilet bowl to clean it instead of using chemical based toilet bowl cleaners.

Tip 3: Baking soda is a great neutralizer

I use baking soda for several things so I opt to buy the 5 pound bag. When emptying the trash, I place a new garbage bag with a little baking soda added to the bottom into the garbage can. It is especially helpful with dealing with kitchen garbage odors as the garbage waits to be taken out again.

Tip 4: Clean walls, baseboards, countertops, sink, etc… with a homemade cleaner with natural cleansers.

I take out my collapsible dish pan. I love that this dish pan collapses for easy storage. I fill it 3/4 full with hot water. I add vinegar, baking soda, Honest Company dish soap, and a little lemon and/or peppermint essential oils. These are natural cleaners/deodorizers and will leave your house smelling and feeling amazing.

Water and vinegar mixture is also a simple natural multi-surface cleaner.

Tip 5: Steam Clean Floors

I use a Bissell steamer vacuum/mop that kills 99% of germs by heating plain water to steam the dirt and debris from my hardwood and ceramic tile floors. Nothing else is added but water. You could add a little vinegar if you prefer, but I think water is enough for this task.

Tip 6: Clean carpets, rugs, and furniture

I like to use baking soda with a few drops of essential oils (I prefer peppermint oil as it helps kill dust mites and insects). I take a bowl of baking soda and add a couple of drops of essential oils. Then I take a small sifter and apply a light dusting of this mixture and sprinkle over carpet, rugs, and furniture. Let this mixture sit for at least 30 minutes and then vacuum it up. I use a variety of vacuums: the RoombaShark Handvac and a Bissel Pet Hair Eraser because we have two dogs in our home.

Tip 7: Fresh bedding and mattresses

I clean my mattresses with the same method as tip 6. I remove all bedding to be laundered. I then sprinkle this mixture on the mattress and leave on for at least 30 minutes before vacuuming it up. Then apply the freshly cleaned linens. (I make my own natural and chemical free laundry soap)

Tip 8: Diffusers and air purifiers

I like to diffuse water mixed with essential oils in my home with the aria ultrasonic diffuser and the home diffuser (dew drop). I even have a little USB diffuser for my office and car. I usually combine water with lemon, lavender, and peppermint essential oil mixture. The blend is great for those with allergies.

I have a couple of air purifiers on each level of my home to help keep the allergens and dust out of the air. They run 24/7 and are cleaned routinely.

Tip 9: Use vinegar (white distilled)

I like to use vinegar and water for a quick natural cleaner for small cleanups, to clean the inside of my fridge, and to rid cooking odors from the kitchen.

Sometimes the foods we love to eat come with a very distinctive smell. The smell just loves to linger. After I have cleaned up my cooking mess and loaded the dishwasher, I like to place a small bowl of white distilled vinegar on the counter. I let it sit there over night to absorb the odors. In the morning, the smell is gone.

I dispose of the vinegar into my sink after adding a little baking soda to the drains. This way, I am not wasting the vinegar. I repurpose that used vinegar to clean out my kitchen pipes to make sure no odors are lingering there.

*Important: when storing homemade cleaners containing essential oils, it is best to store them in amber glass bottles (these are the ones I use) because they are UV protected, lead free and BPA free.

Tip 10: Minimize tracking debris in the house

Don’t wear shoes in the house to avoid bringing debris inside. Also, wipe pets feet when coming inside.

I have other tips and tricks I can share in the future. I tried to keep this list manageable without going over 10.

*Note: I do not sell Young Living Essential Oils. You can use whatever brand you prefer. I would recommend pure and organic essential oils. I happen to have been introduced to these oils first and have been very happy with the quality of them and I have had no need to find another brand.

I do from time to time use cleaners from the Honest Company and Mrs. Meyers to supplement my cleaning routine. These are a few of my favorites:

Do you have any cleaning tips that you would like to share with us? We would love to find new cleaning ideas.