Road to a Functional Kitchen

It’s no secret that or kitchen lacks storage space. I’m constantly stashing things in new places and trying to find homes for cookbooks, kitchen gadgets and so on. For months I’ve daydreamed about adding shelving to an otherwise naked wall in our kitchen. There is a small peninsula that serves as a breakfast bar and divider into our eating area attached to the wall. Unfortunately this seems to be where everything piles up: keys, mail, tissue boxes, note pads, my purse, etc. We never use it as a breakfast bar and it rarely cleared completely off. I desperately need this space to become functional. Here are a few embarrassing shots:


This is a view of the wall head on. Lame.


This is a view from the kitchen.


And here is a view from the dining area.

Its obviously a collect all and that wall is a wasted opportunity for SOMETHING. Anything really. But we need storage and so I have envisioned shelves here for months. I literally mention it a few times a week and hubby nods in agreement. Of course, this gave me an excuse to visit heaven on earth IKEA. I knew I’d prefer floating shelves since they would fit best with the open floor plan vibe we have going. White was also a must. Black would show any dust, birch would clash with our dark floors and white would match the cabinets (that one day will also be replaced by IKEA products). This is what I had envisioned.


Originally I thought two long shelves was the way to go. But upon seeing them in the showroom I knew it would be too much. Three shelves centered over the peninsula (which is not centered on the wall) would be a lot more visually pleasing and probably more functional. I bought the medium length shelves … along with a few impulse purchases, but that is a whole different post. They are the LACK wall shelf : 43.25 inches long and $14.99 each. I was excited and wanted to get straight to work but I didn’t have time to start hanging until the next day. After all, I do most everything during O’s naps and rare time to myself. It had to wait.

In the mean time I you tubed a few helpful videos (this one was most useful).

The next day I didn’t get started until about 2pm. Measuring and centering the places I wanted each shelf and quadruple checking measurements took the most time. I played with how close to the ceiling and the counter I could spread them out. With 5 feet to work with, it was not hard to make it work. Then I doubled checked everything. Again. But that’s just me… I HAD to be sure. Then I found wall studs and made sure to mark each one. Ikea recommended that the shelf be mounted into at least one stud. I don’t think I drilled my first hole until 4pm. I used 2 studs and then marked 5 non-stud spots. I drilled pilot holes with a 1/4″ bit and sank an anchor into each hole. Then I had a friend hold up the hardware while I put in the screws (#8 heavy duty drywall screw/anchor sets… they do not come with the shelves so I grabbed some at Home Depot).


Oh, and I made it a little glamourous too. Champagne with a splash of cranberry juice. Try it, yummy!

*Disclaimer: consuming alcohol while using power tools may be unsafe and is not recommended by Hilda*

Random word to the wise: when working on a wall, be sure to remove art and frames from the opposite side of the wall. My pixel painting had a little tumble while I was mounting these.


I put up each of the braces according to those oh-so-helpful IKEA directions. Then I slid the shelving on to the brace and screwed them into place with the handy allen key provided.

It should be noted that I often have the vision and rarely have the know-how. I usually borrow my friend Greta’s husband to hang even curtain rods. I got a little brave and it ended up that these were fairly easy to put up. As long as you have the right tools and supplies you can do this. I promise it wasn’t complicated. I did have trouble with the middle shelf feeling a little loose. Turns out a couple of my anchors weren’t totally flush with the wall and I had to redo them. A little extra time and elbow grease but well worth it.


Next came styling the shelves. I laid out all of the things that I felt could have a good home there (while freeing up other counter and cabinet space) out on my table. The large wooden salad bowl set is too deep for most of my cabinets and has lived on the top of the fridge for too long. Plus, they are pretty. My flour, sugar, baking soda and jelly bean containers clutter my counter space. My vase collection is scattered around the kitchen depending on their size and where I have room for them. Other items: fruit, mason jars, cookbooks and recipe box, mugs, sifter, grater, antique door knobs and napkin rings.


I played for a while and finally settled on this arrangement. Of course nothing is permanent so a rearrange can happen as needed. I tried to evenly distribute visual weight with the salad bowl, books, and canisters. I also considered how often I use things to decide which shelf height they really belong on. I use coffee, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and fruit almost daily so they live on the bottom with pen and paper. Mugs, jars, recipes and cookbooks are used semi-regulalry so they are middle shelfers. Vases, napkin rings, and salad bowl go on top for infrequent use.


It was completely unplanned that my Kitchen Aid fits under the bottom shelf but I think its a happy accident 🙂 Hubby is pushing to switch it out for the iHome but I’m not so sure.


I forgot this adorable pic of what O was doing while the shelves were in progress. I guess our play room needs a few of these for climbing… she kept going over and over and then she would sit on them and giggle and start again.


What space could use more function in your home? What are you organizing these days?

10 thoughts on “Road to a Functional Kitchen

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