Tour a small galley kitchen update that combines high-end functionality with low-budget storage solutions for a kitchen full of character.
April 2023 Update: We’ve moved, but our current kitchen is a galley one, too. Get the full tour here.
It happened! It finally happened! I finished(ish) my small galley kitchen update! It took way longer than I expected, but it’s finally to the point that I can stop for now. I can safely say that I absolutely love it. Every time I walk into the kitchen, I do a little happy dance in my mind. (And sometimes in actuality…but only when I’m home alone.)
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Plain flat cabinets, black hardware that stuck out like a sore thumb (why did I think that was a good idea in the first place?) and not a lot of personality happening. While this was a huge step up from what it was when we moved in, it wasn’t exactly us. It was a very budget-friendly update that we knew would only be temporary.
But now…say hello to Mr. Personality! We started by framing out our flat cabinet doors to DIY a shaker style. The flat cabinets seemed so plain. So boring. So blah. I saved thousands of dollars by DIYing this project myself instead of actually refacing them, and honestly, no one can tell they were handmade. They look exactly like store-bought shaker cabinets, so I’ll mark that down as a win in the Lela Project Book.
Win number two definitely goes to the backsplash. The previous backsplash we had were SmartTiles and we loved how easy they were to install. After tossing around the option of real tiles and the failed attempt of a modern glass sheet, we went back to the peel and stick.
This time we went with a brand called Tic Tac Tile. The SmartTile brand was great, but they didn’t have the honeycomb style we wanted, so we took a chance on another brand. I’m so happy we did because these worked out even better than the others.
The tile was really easy to install, and it looks great. I like that it can be wiped down when it gets dirty and it can withstand grease splatters like real tile, but the real benefit was the price. We were able to tile the whole kitchen backsplash area for under $200.
In addition to the hexagon tile, I also added a piece of magnetic sheet metal behind the stove. It’s perfect for keeping spice containers within easy reach and it breaks up the all-white party happening between the cabinets and tile. I ordered the sheet metal from a shop on Etsy (source at bottom of this post) and they cut it down to my dimensions at no extra cost.
We removed some of the cabinet doors and painted the inside to create open shelving for our most-used dishes. The contrasting color was perfect for making our white dishes and clear Mason jars (our go-to drinking glass) pop.
I also had a special recipe written by my husband’s grandmother blown up into poster size and framed. Staples enlarged it to 24×36 size for $3.65. Everywhere else quoted $30+. Huge score! It adds such a personal touch to the kitchen and it covers up the phone jack we’ll never use. Speaking of phone jacks, does anyone have a home phone anymore? I’m pretty sure kids today have no idea what a landline is.
Update: Love this kitchen? Here’s how we remodeled our current one.
We added some great rugs to add texture and cover up these awful floors that I hate so much. We’ll replace them one day, but for now, the rugs take all the attention and you don’t even notice the faded, stained linoleum.
The best part about these rugs was the price tag. I found them at TJ Maxx. The big one was $19 and the smaller one near the laundry closet was $12. I’ve decided TJ Maxx is the only place to ever buy rugs again.
The coffee bar, pet food cubbies, rolling island, and open shelving pantry stayed in place. I didn’t change much about them, other than adding cookbooks to the cubbies. Anakin still loves to sit on top of them to look out the window, and he attempts to fit his big fat hiney in his old kitten basket bed. I leave it there because he loves it, even though he has beyond outgrown it.
The canvas basket between the cats’ bowls holds all their treats and medicines, and the drawer in the coffee bar holds filters and tea accessories.
We’re still loving our open shelving pantry (which was a super easy Ikea hack). I was a little worried about dust, but after almost a year of having it, I realized the dust isn’t a big deal. I use most of the items often so they’re constantly getting moved around, and I give them a quick dusting with the Swiffer every couple of weeks. When my son is in need of picking up extra chores to earn money, I let him clear all the shelves and wipe everything down. It’s a win-win.
Backsplash Tile: Tic Tac Tiles in Hexa Mono White
Metal Backsplash Magnetic Piece: Muley Metals on Etsy
Magnetic Spice Jars: Amazon (similar)
Wall Paint: Bungalow White by Valspar Cabinet and Door Paint: Corduroy Black by Valspar
Recipe Print Enlargement: Staples
Recipe Frame: Michaels Craft Store
Rugs: TJ Maxx
Pantry and Coffee Bar Shelving: IKEA Ivar
Rolling Island: Baxton Studio Island at Bed Bath and Beyond
Metal Envelopes in Command Center: Target
Cube Cubbies For Pet Food and Cookbooks: Target
Metal Letter Wine Cork Holder: Amazon
Unique Soda Bottles: World Market
To see more on how we updated our kitchen, check out the projects that got us to this reveal.
And to see an even bigger kitchen reveal for our current home, visit this post.
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