Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

A little kitchen re-do and curtain

I don't like our kitchen much at all--it's small and the cabinets are an ugly natural wood color very typical of 1979 construction, true to our rental townhouse's age.  The floor isn't great and I don't know what to do with the walls/wall color, and the counter is uuuuugly.  And there's no room to store anything.

BUT it could be worse.  I should stop complaining--I love the fridge and it's nice we have a window to our little patio thing.  Until now I hadn't done much to it... like I said, without painting the cabinets white (a dream of mine... if you've seen my Pinterest dream kitchens you know where I'm coming from), or somehow making it bigger, I don't really know how to improve it.

I hung up a favorite curtain and always used bright, cute handtowels, and with a few other fave items ("flour"/"sugar"/"coffee" tubs that contain things other than flour, sugar, or coffee), yellow tea kettle, fresh herbs on the windowsill, it was okay.  But I've been open to redecorating.

Now that the wedding's over I have a little spare time on my hands, and when husband and I were out doing errands last weekend I found this BOMB black and white rug at Grocery Outlet for $8.  It's 100% cotton, black and white stripe, not too thick or thin, and we'd been wanting a rug by the sink anyway.  (Grocery Outlet, for those of you outside the Northwest, is super sketch for produce or food that spoils but has amazing snacks and candy and random homegoods for super cheap.  And it's employee-owned!).

Anyways, I had some black and white fingerprint quilter's cotton that I used to have covering a bulletin board.  I thought, sure, we can go with the black and white theme!  I loooooooove the rug, and the curtain goes.  I also bought some cute white-with-black-edge hand towels at Grocery Outlet for like $4 for 8.  They were a little too short to hang over the horizontal rod as-is, so I did a super cool velcro/tube conversion.  More details later.

Since the window is so narrow rather than make a pair of curtains I made a faux Roman shade-type panel, and tied it up with some white grosgrain.  Maybe someday if I still like it I'll give it a lining, make it the exact right width, sew the twill tape with plastic loops on the back, make it a real Roman shade.  But this is fine for now.

So here it is.  Not sure if it's a whole lot better, but it is different!  I have decor ADD in a major way.  Always changing things up!  Especially in a rental I don't love.

I know the fabric color goes, but it occurred to me that kitchen curtains aren't necessarily the coolest right now.  Or fabric.  Not as sleek and clean and cool as my rug, maybe.  I dunno.

What's hanging in your kitchen window?


  1. I would loveeee to hang a curtain on my kitchen window, especially in the corner above the sink...As you can see here: http://www.canyoucomehome.com/2011/02/other-corner-of-kitchen.html the afternoon sun can be sooo intense, it leaves me with blurred eyes after 15 minutes of dishwashing and paranoia that i'll have more sun damage on my face :~

    I'm dying to put something up, but I also have the same kind of inclination about having too much fabric in the kitchn.

    If I do, I'd be doing it your way - roman shades!

  2. I think you did a terrific job updating this without much expense. I do like the Roman shades idea, however, but that's because you'd be making them, not me:-)

  3. Violet8/25/2011

    I have a simple straight valance over my single window--it's a blue/yellow/white stripe. My walls are buttery yellow and we recently painted all the cabinetry white and changed out the hardware for super-cool brushed nickel ones. A great facelift for not much money. Ever consider painting your cabinets white, especially now with the black/white theme? Ever so nifty!

  4. My kitchen window has a valance and shutters that go half-way up. It is also a rental, so I can't do much about the things I hate.

  5. Nothing on my kitchen window (for several reasons I could give you if you wish), but I really like what you did overall. I sympathize about the cabinets, so what about going further with the black & white theme? You could "hang" (with the white or yellow gum you can use to "glue" things temporarily, you know; sorry, I don't know the name) B&W pics in the center of each of them, so the wood would act as as large frame.
    Hope you feel happy in your kitchen!

  6. big improvement! The black and white really adds a little kick.

  7. I am thinking of adding white sheer curtaining to my kitchen window and rest of the house, but the whole house has very outdated blind.I am a huge fan of this design that needs the privacy of full curtains and they don't need all of the natural sunlight that you can possibly let in.

  8. i had awful cabinets like that in a previous apartment, and i ended up cutting plastic placemats from ikea exactly to size and using loops of tape to adhere them onto the cabinet doors. i still had the brown from the cabinet frames visible, but the textured colour of the placemats stood out way more than the brown, and with a cheap knob switcheroo, it made the kitchen a million times better!

    i was going to suggest starching fabric to the cabinets, but fabric probably isn't the most practical thing! what if you removed the doors and wrapped them in something, like a heavy paper? or even freezer paper! if you put it shiny side out it would wipe clean super easily.

    regardless, i think it looks fantastic! the rug is awesome, and the curtain is lovely. i think the softer lines of the fabric print provide a good contrast to the sharper lines of the rug, the dishwasher, and the fridge.

    if you wanted to add more black to the right side of the kitchen, it would look neat with a few b&w photos in black frames hung on your fridge.

  9. Also, are you open to taking the doors on the cubbards off? If things are organized neatly inside there that could be very beautiful and open things up a bit.

    ps not sure if my previous comment posted but if not i'll reiterate... French country and cafe curtains are the best things that could every happen to a kitchen.

  10. I love shopping at Groc Out (pronounced "gross-out")

  11. daisiegirl9/14/2011

    I lived a long time in apartments where I was told I couldn't change anything in them. Just had to make the best of what was there. I like what you did to the kitchen with the black and white, a little more red would give it some color...maybe if those 3 containers in the corner could be painted or put some red sticky paper that you like on them, that corner would pop....also the name tags on your herbs would look good in red and white instead of the black...just a touch here and there....

  12. Linda L.12/08/2011

    looks very nice! I like the material you used for the window - our kitchen window is one of those kind you put plants in, and not really suited to curtains. I'd love to pull it out and put a smaller plant window in (it's way too deep for me to reach well enough to clean) and maybe a valance. I haven't been to Grocery Outlet (there's one in Salem, nearby), but I do like to browse their shelves for bargains.

  13. Linda L.12/08/2011

    OOPS...I meant to say in the earlier post that I hadn't been to Grocery Outlet in AWHILE...not that I haven't been to Grocery Outlet EVER! Typos are fun. LOL



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