How One Food Blogger Snuck More Storage Into Her Small Kitchen

The entire kitchen makeover cost just $750.

Rental Kitchen Makeover After with Elizabeth Van Lierde
Photo: Elizabeth Van Lierde

If your kitchen is underequipped to stash your essentials, or having enough counter space for a full-on cooking spree is merely a dream, check out how one savvy food blogger maximized her tiny kitchen. Elizabeth Van Lierde of the College Housewife didn't let living in a rental stop her from transforming a small kitchen into a cook's dream. With her landlord's go-ahead to repaint the cabinets and replace the faucet, she transformed the room to make more efficient use of every square inch. No matter what size your kitchen is, let the space-saving solutions hiding in this little kitchen inspire your next project.

01 of 06

The Before Kitchen

Kitchen Makeover Before wood cabinets and tile floor
Elizabeth Van Lierde

Van Lierde's kitchen was a lackluster space in desperate need of a spruce-up. Luckily, the wood cabinets, white walls, and tile floor provided a blank slate ripe for personalization.

02 of 06

Dated Cabinets Awaiting Transformation

Kitchen Makeover Cabinets Before
Elizabeth Van Lierde

There's a quick-and-easy solution for Van Lierde's original wood cabinets: a quick coat of paint. Using affordable fixes like paint, she managed to keep costs low, spending less than $750 on her kitchen transformation—all within three months of moving into the space.

03 of 06

The Power of Paint (And a Vintage Rug)

Kitchen Makeover After with plant and rug
Elizabeth Van Lierde

"To be honest, the most expensive thing we bought was the vintage rug!" she reports. "I have been wanting a vintage rug for FOREVER! I looked on Etsy, and all my favorite houseware brands for one, but ultimately discovered this gem at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market. It was rolled up in a pile, and I knew as soon as I pulled it out it would be the perfect fit!" Originally priced at $300, she haggled it down to $200 and now, the standout piece covers the kitchen's tired tiles—an inexpensive solution for a rental floor she couldn't fix.

04 of 06

Storage Solutions Galore

Kitchen Makeover Storage Reveal with pot rack and shelves
Elizabeth Van Lierde

Transformed into a stylish space worthy of a food blogger, Van Lierdeit also packed her kitchen with clever storage ideas. "Storage is such a never-ending problem with a smaller house!" she explains. "Being a food blogger, I have a really abnormal amount of dishes, cookware, appliances, etc., so I knew the few cupboards we had weren't going to cut it! I also knew I wanted to display some of my nicer pieces and dishware that I have collected over the years. The first project we tackled after painting was the open-shelf concept."

By turning the blank wall into open shelving, Van Lierde can show off her kitchen favorites. Continuing the trend, she installed a pot rail to hold kitchen essentials, taking advantage of vertical space. To get the look in your kitchen, consider its blank walls: The space over the stove may be perfect for a pot rail, and any blank wall could be just the spot for open shelving.

05 of 06

Storage Tucked into Every Nook

Kitchen Makeover Shelving with dishes
Elizabeth Van Lierde

Taking advantage of every last inch in the room, Van Lierde maximizes space in the cabinets and uses their tops to stash glassware and other items she doesn't reach for often.

06 of 06

Storage You Can Take With You

Wood and Metal Shelving Unit with marble top
Elizabeth Van Lierde

To supplement her kitchen's built-in cabinets, Van Lierde invested in storage pieces she can transport to another home. This shelving unit stores dishes and appliances and, when guests stop by, its beautiful marble top provides the perfect spot for a drink station or small buffet.

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