We recently finished redoing Tara's rental kitchen, transforming it from a 1970s nightmare into a more livable and lovable space. After doing the more substantial stuff — like painting cabinets and redo-ing the floors — we added a bunch of space-saving storage to make it a small kitchen superstar. It doesn't take much, just a few 5-minute projects here and there.
If you missed the earlier posts in this series:
See all the before photos → Tara's Budget Rental Remodel: Severing Ties With a 1970s Style Kitchen
See all the design options → Visualizing Possible Changes With Photoshop
See the finished kitchen → Tara's 1970s Rental Kitchen Is No Longer Recognizable
#1: Magnetic Paper Towel Holder: Turn the side of your fridge into storage with the easiest DIY on the planet. Glue a super strong magnet onto a wooden cabinet pull and stick it on a metal surface. Pull your cord through a brass tube and hang it up the knob. When you want to replace the paper towels, just untie the cord and slip on a new roll.
- Threshold Round and Recessed Unfinished Wood Knob; $3.99 from Target
- Brass Round Tubing, 12" Length; $5.50 from Amazon
- Leather Cord or String
- Strong Magnet
#2: DIY Spice Shelf with Brass Rail: This storage does double-duty as both a surface for small objects, and hanging room for utensils. And it's as easy as LEGOs to assemble.
- 2 Wooden Shelf Brackets; 3.34 each at Lowe's
- 6" Pine Board, cut to 24" Length; $3.02 at Lowe's
- Black Paint; Onyx from Benjamin Moore (to match painted cabinets)
- Brass Tubing, 24" length; $8.27 from Amazon (with Prime Shipping)
- S Hooks; $6.99 from World Market
#3: Wall-Mounted Pot Rails: Freeing up cabinet space is one of the kindest things you can do for your small kitchen, and these wall-mounted rails keep all your cookware within easy reach. Although we had to use a masonry bit and hammer drill to hang these on brick, it's very easy to mount these on regular drywall. Just use an anchor so the rails are super secure and sturdy to handle all your pots and pans.
#4: Magnetic Knife Rack: This is a classic product, used in kitchens everywhere for good reason. They take just a few minutes to install, you can store your knives in plain sight, and avoid rooting through drawers to find what you need while cooking.
- Culina Magnetic Knife Holder 12" Wall-Mount; $10.99 from Amazon
#5: Pot Lid Dish Drying Rack: This isn't so much a project as a smart idea for really tiny kitchens. Most drying racks take up too much counter space, leaving little room for food prep. Buy an inexpensive pot lid instead and use it for your day to day dishes. This one can even hang on the wall rail mounted above the sink when it's not in use.
- Threshold Pot Lid Rack; $7.99 from Target
Want more easy, inexpensive ideas for improving your small rental kitchen?