Children’s cupboards success story
This situation was challenging, but very typical with built-in cupboards: too much depth and vertical height, not enough drawers. This created a lot of “digging and pawing” to get to clothes and is nearly impossible to maintain. We solved this problem by removing the existing insert and wooden chest of drawers, and replaced them with a matched set of drawers in each cupboard – which fortunately fitted with millimetres to spare! Shoes were stored in tubs and toys in clear caddies. Everything is now in view, and each child has their own double set of drawers, shoe tubs and hanging area. We used the area below a bunk bed to add two more chests of drawers labelled with pictograms for the youngest child.
From dull to dramatic on a small budget
You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time to make a really big visual impact. These ugly cupboards were hiding some really beautiful heirloom china. And the doors were also inconvenient for access to often-used daily items. I took the doors off easily with a screwdriver and stored them. I gave the shelves a couple of coats of Plascon Velvaglo white paint. I then lined the back of the shelves with some heavy matt black paper bought at an art supply store (total cost R38) and attached it to the back of the cupboard with double sided tape. Voila! A beautiful backdrop which creates a dramatic and modern contrast to the colourful china.
TIP: If you live in a rental, store the door hardware in a Ziploc baggie attached to the doors with masking tape. That way, when you need to reattach them you’ll have everything you need.
TIP: If you use very matt black paper, it is very forgiving – you won’t be able to see the seams or joins, even if you know they’re there
A difficult space used to good effect
This was a very awkward space (40cm wide x 2 meters high) between a sliding door and a cupboard. Originally it had held a large suitcase, with backpacks suspended above on hooks. Technically the space was “organized”. However, the situation was unattractive and did not create the right aesthetic for the client, who wanted a feminine and romantic bedroom. Cupboard space was very limited, and the client was on a tight budget, so having custom-made furniture was not an option.
We asked the question: How can we move more attractive items into this space, while hiding the less attractive items from view? The solution: we created a rail from copper pipe and bathroom rail fittings (very Steampunk!) total cost under R70. The pipe was given a polish with Brasso. The “pretty” and interesting clothes were hung in view, and the suitcase and backpacks were moved out of sight into the cupboard space formerly occupied by the clothes. The client also had a large basket which turned out to be perfect to store shoes in below the clothing, after we removed the large inconvenient handle. Later it will be easy to add a small pedestal or shelf below the basket if desired.
TIP: Asking the question How can I… will often lead to a creative solution.
Love what you use, use what you love
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve lived with stuff for so long that we stop seeing it. Yet it’s there, rumbling in the background, draining our energy.
TIP: Try this exercise: Empty a drawer that bothers you into a cardboard box. Now return only the items you use within a two month period. If there are items you need but don’t love, consider rather replacing them.
Give yourself permission to keep only the items you both use and love – even so-called mundane items can be loved!