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5 Clever Hacks to Give Your Kitchen an Easy, Space-Saving Makeover

These easy storage solutions double as chic décor!

Like a lot of apartments in New York City, mine has a very narrow galley kitchen with limited cupboards and drawers to store everything. And since easy access to ingredients, equipment, and dishes is important in any kitchen, I set to work creating open storage that would double as chic décor.



My spice rack is a magnetic space saver that adheres to the side of the refrigerator. This is a great alternative to spices taking up space on the counters or in the pantry. You can certainly make the set yourself by ordering hexagonal glass jars with lids, strong disc magnets, clear circular labels, and of course an array of herbs. After researching the materials, I opted to get an all-inclusive kit online and have been very happy with the results. Not only do I love the colorful honeycomb design on my “wall,” but the jars are also easy to use and put back while I’m cooking. If you don’t want to mount them on the refrigerator, you can purchase and install a magnetic plate to your wall instead.



My next step was to dress up my dreary talk box. It's old and can't be painted, but I wanted something nicer to look at when “buzzing” friends into the building. So I measured it and bought a cheap, white box frame that was about two inches bigger on all sides and two inches deep. Using double-sided mounting tape, I adhered the frame to the wall, letting the top rest centered on the talk box. Gravity holds it in place, but the tape ensures a snug fit that won’t budge as you pass back and forth.

Treating the deep frame as a floating shelf, I then rested two mini succulents on top. You can find these petite little pots at garden centers and some grocery stores. I removed my plants from the containers, spray painted the containers, and then re-potted so they would match my black and white decor. Now, the dingy talk box is a cheery little command station.



In order to break up the white walls, white cabinets, and white appliances, I needed some accent paint. Using just one quart of black chalkboard paint, I was able to cover the backsplash and opposite facing wall in three easy coats. The matte black finish against the rest of the stark white instantly made the room more interesting, and added some dimension.

After the last coat of chalkboard paint was completely dry, I “seasoned” the wall. Seasoning is when you rub the entire chalkboard surface with the side of the chalk until it is covered, then wipe the surface clean with a damp rag. This process ensures that messages, reminders, and grocery lists always erase easily.

With my remaining chalkboard paint (it's a watery consistency, so a little goes a long way), I was also able to coat a small shelf I then mounted to the same wall. The shelf provides accessible extra storage, and when painted in the same finish as the wall, it disappears visually. I use it to store and display various white serving pieces that look crisp against the black, and even added a little chalkboard container garden to grow go-to herbs.



Counter space is another obstacle in any small kitchen, so I try to keep mine as clear as possible. Rather than having to keep a knife block on that precious real estate, I mounted a sleek magnetic strip to the wall for keeping sharp tools up and out of the way. Stationed right above my cutting board, the magnetic storage couldn’t be any easier to reach when I’m slicing and dicing.



On the narrow wall adjacent to my now chalkboard, I installed a skinny shelving unit, perfect for an open pantry. I found the shelf on an alley-picking adventure, and after washing it, priming it, and coating it twice in high-gloss white enamel, I anchored it to the wall with an “L” bracket. Now it’s the perfect station for coffee, tea, and random dry storage items like pasta and granola. The enamel finish makes the shelf easy to wipe clean, and sticking to a theme of clear containers keeps the whole area looking cohesive rather than cluttered. For even better results, anchor the shelf on a wall that gets plenty of natural light so the display really sings.

When it comes to narrow kitchens, it’s all about maximizing storage and counter space. For those items that can’t be concealed, just try to keep in mind the visual impact of uniform containers that are neatly displayed.