My favorite type of project is one that is easy and inexpensive but shows an immediate dramatic improvement. I worked a little of this magic on my pantry last week, making the drab space about more than just canned goods. I may not hang out in the pantry, but I'm in and out of there constantly, and the scuffed formerly white wall was bringing me down.
My first thought was to repaint it, but I'd just recently reorganized the pantry and couldn't bring myself to unload all the shelves yet again. I also couldn't imagine where I'd put all of it for the time it would take me to prep, paint, and let dry. I then considered painting a strip of color down the center, but upon further reflection, that just seemed weird.
I then had the great idea to mount cork tiles on the empty space, providing a place to hang the kids' artwork, photos, cartoons, or whatever colorful stuff struck my fancy. I was pretty pleased with this idea until I started looking into self-adhesive cork tiles. Every review I read said they fell off the wall, so I'd need to apply a separate adhesive to make my idea work. To cover the small space I hoped to cover would cost at least $50, and that just seemed silly for a pantry wall. I shelved the idea and decided to come back to it later.
While on a field trip to IKEA with a friend, I spotted basic framed cork boards for $5.99 each and my problem was solved. I bought four and hung them in a grid in the most visible area of the pantry. The mounting hardware that came with the cork boards was pretty lousy, and I didn't want to use hooks because the boards likely would often be crooked, driving me crazy. The cork boards are very lightweight, so I tried double-sided adhesive mounting squares I had in a drawer. They have been hanging on the wall for several days now, so I think they are going to stay.
I still have plenty of space to fill, but I've returned the cartoon that previously lived on the pantry wall, a favorite Calvin & Hobbbes comic, a photo of my husband and me on the day we got engaged a million years ago, my daughter's yarn block print project, and a card a friend gave me way back in law school that says "No day is so bad that it can't be fixed with a nap."
So simple, but so much more personal and cheerful. Maybe it will make me want to cook more (but I doubt it).
In case you were wondering about that cartoon that used to hang all by its lonesome, it has hung in my pantry for the last eight years or so (in two different homes). I ripped the page from Real Simple magazine. It is so me that it still cracks me up after all this time, so it had to stay.