Raise your hand if your kitchen is filled with a hodgepodge of things you acquired over the course of your 20s. There are a million ways this happens: from college room shares to first apartments, Ikea budget items to Anthropologie splurges, from Grandma’s hand-me-downs to things you’ve taken from your parents’ kitchen, from your wedding registry to blending your partner’s kitchen with yours. Raise your hand if your style has evolved since those early days and you’re ready to hone it in and make it your own.
I get it. My style has evolved drastically over the last decade. And honestly, it’s even changed since I registered everything for my wedding (facepalm). It was only with my kitchen renovation that I finally had to look deep inside my cabinets and drawers and come face-to-face with the realization that it was time for an overhaul. I spend the majority of my time in my kitchen, and I wanted it to be a true reflection of me. Plus, it was time to get rid of the things I was holding onto for, honestly, no good reason.
The beauty of a kitchen renovation, outside of the obvious finished product, is that you are forced to empty absolutely everything out of the space. From old spices in dark corners that you’ve forgotten about to weird gadgets you were gifted one holiday from your quirky aunt. It’s an opportunity to cleanse and purge and bring back only things you love. It’s also okay to leave space for the things you know you want but need to wait to buy or find.
Our kitchen is an odd shape. I think the best way to describe it is an L or Z-shape. It’s not quite a galley kitchen, but it’s certainly not an open square or rectangle. When we moved into our home, the kitchen was filled with banks of cabinets, which in theory is great because of the storage space. But it instead left the kitchen feeling dark and overwhelming. When we renovated, we had a small budget to work off of so we decided to update what was there, rather than gut and start from scratch.
In order to help fix the overwhelming cabinet problem, we left half of the cabinets and painted them, and replaced the other half with open shelving or nothing at all. We picked areas that could use opening up to put open shelves and it worked perfectly. The room feels so much bigger and gets better light.
The downside to open shelving is that it is definitely a trend, and all trends come and go. Additionally, this meant that I wanted to decorate the shelves in such a way that looked aesthetically pleasing but also served some serious function for the overall flow of our high-traffic kitchen. In fact, my husband insisted that our shelves didn’t just serve as my styling board, but served the needs of our family, too. I laugh at this because he was not wrong, and I was happy to honor his requests.
Other updates we made were in the appliances, switching from textured white appliances to stainless steel. We switched our countertops, backsplash, and floors, too. We decided to put in a budget-friendly Carrera marble countertop (yes, in the kitchen counter world, this is the marble budget option in comparison to the trendy quartz!). We did the backsplash ourselves and put in classic white subway tile. For the floors, we splurged a bit and did a stone tile from an artisan company.
There were times throughout my kitchen overhaul that I felt guilty about getting rid of things. Donating feels good up until you realize you’re getting rid of too many items with monetary value. My advice is to donate the things that are mismatched, incomplete, or well-used. If you need to get some money back from your goods, try setting up an Instagram sale. Create a new handle dedicated just to your goods, or set up an Instagram stories sale over one day. I’ve done this before and completely sold out of everything I listed. You could even donate a portion of your sales to a cause near and dear to your heart.
One of my passions is to blend funky vintage wares with new, purposeful equipment. Some examples are that I love to find funky brass trivets and pitchers, barware, and antique ironstone serving plates, and mix them with their modern counterparts and new cookware. I specifically love brands like Dansk and Staub and make an effort to stock my kitchen with their goods.
Kobenstyle Pink 4-Qt. Casserole By Dansk Shop Now
6-Pc Copper Bar Tools Set By Old Dutch International Shop Now
I’ll share a few examples of the things I parted ways with, to make room for things I love. One of the most obvious to me is scratched and damaged pots and pans. Don’t be afraid to make this change. Not only does this change make for a more aesthetically pleasing collection, it will also improve your cooking.
Copper & Stainless Steel Rondeau By Mauviel Shop Now
Duratux Open Frypan By Tuxton Home Shop Now
Another thing to replace is mismatched storage containers. Get rid of the broken, stained, or missing parts and replace them with a full set that will actually serve you without taking up unnecessary space.
11-pc Neat Stack By Zoku Shop Now
I also replaced odd mixing bowls with a uniform set. I brought in a bamboo set for everyday use, and a beautiful hammered copper set for overall beauty and serving. The general idea in all of this is, if you can be more intentional with how you buy for your kitchen, you’ll wind up not only being more organized but much more satisfied with everything, too. Here are a few other items that I brought in, that you might like, too:
Thistle Nesting Bowls By Bamboozle Home Shop Now
Stone Hammered Solid Copper Mixing Bowls By Old Dutch International Shop Now
The beauty of a kitchen overhaul is you get to set the tone for how you want your kitchen to be when you are done. Your kitchen is meant to serve and inspire you. It’s the heart of the home and you get to decide the beat. Make it beautiful, make it functional, but whatever you do, make it yours.