Kitchn Love Letters

The $25 Amazon Find That Makes My Rental Kitchen Feel Like an IKEA Catalog

updated Jun 14, 2021
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When I first toured the apartment I live in now, I was stunned at how sterile it felt. In the past, I’d tended to rent places with at least a little historic charm: crown molding, ornate woodwork, maybe some creaky floors. But this place didn’t have any of those things — only a very agreeable price tag.

So, I resolved to imbue the little white-walled studio with all the charm I could in the form of accessories. I can work with a blank slate, I thought to myself. I work at Apartment Therapy, for goodness’ sake.

That is how I ended up in a tiny-yet-affordable apartment with a lackluster kitchen. It has cheap melamine cabinets (which I’ve grown to love, by the way), a dearth of counter space, and not a whole lot of room for storing cooking gadgets and tools. To add storage — and a dose of style — I considered installing a pegboard on the wall à la Julia Child

While perusing the endless virtual department store that is the internet, though, another type of pegboard was suggested to me. I was served a link for a wire wall grid panel on Amazon: one that, according to the product’s description, was perfect for studies, kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. It didn’t require a drill to install (only some nails and picture-hanging brackets), which was perfect, since I’d already borrowed my neighbor’s drill twice in the month since I’d moved in. To sweeten the deal, this wall grid was only $25.

I added it to my cart at lightning speed, and the following week I was hanging my colander from it with an S hook. Not only is it a low-cost, low-effort accessory, but it’s practical, too. I hung up some spatulas and ladles that didn’t fit neatly in my utensil drawer, plus some oven mits for easy access. Once I loaded it up, I stood back and grinned. My sterile little kitchen wasn’t so sterile anymore — it was beginning to feel like one of the sleek, sun-splashed kitchens from an IKEA catalog.

Credit: Madeline Bilis

In the year since installing my wall grid, I’ve switched up the things I hang on it to keep the room feeling fresh. I’ve also added a small hanging basket to it to corral wine openers, matchbooks, and other odds and ends. My kitchen is still not complete (will it ever be?) but starting off its design with a modern-looking wall grid has helped me chase away those sterile vibes I once feared.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The $25 Amazon Accessory That Makes My Rental Kitchen Feel Like an IKEA Catalog