Who doesn’t want to save money on their home makeover, particularly when it comes to the kitchen? If ever there was a room to earn the title of “budget buster“, the kitchen is certainly it. If you’re willing to think outside of the box a bit however, you can have a stylish kitchen using many of the items you can purchase at your local hardware store. Here are four of my favorite hardware-store decorating supplies for the kitchen.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Explore The Bruce

Metro Shelving:

I won’t beat around the bush. I love this stuff. Why? Because I’ve successfully used it in a number of rooms in various homes I’ve owned or lived in. Available at places like Lowes for less than one hundred dollars, with add-on elements for less than fifteen dollars, these stainless steel shelves can be used in bathrooms, offices, garages and more. But one of my favorite places to utilize metro shelving is in the kitchen. Add some extra shelves, pull out drawers and a wine rack if you want, but really they work on their own with castor wheels and a few s-hooks.

Warm them up by hanging a few baskets and kitchen tools off the side, and adding a few giant jars of dried beans and grains for decorative on-display pantry storage. Toss on a few baskets of kitchen linens and a few potted herbs and you’re good to go. They are easy to assemble with a rubber mallet and can work in kitchens decorated in a variety of ways, from traditional to loft style.


You can use the straight lengths or the grid variety to make great pot racks for your kitchen. Paint them black or clear-coat them to seal in that rusted look that’s so popular in the Southwest. Add some chain and some s-hooks, along with eye hooks to hang the whole thing from your ceiling and you’re all set. I’ve also used sections of gate from the salvage yard, but rebar is by far less expensive than ornate iron gate doors, and really blends in with the rest of your kitchen, particularly if you are going for an urban loft feel.


Wooden ladders with either flat or round rungs can serve a variety of practical kitchen decorating purposes.  Both the folding step and plain upright types have uses. For smaller, upright ladders, hang them parallel to the ceiling with eyehooks, chains and s-hooks to make a fun pot rack and place to hang garlic ropes and chili pepper wreaths. I like to paint them first, but some people prefer a stain. These can also be attached vertically to a wall in a narrow space with s-hooks added to create a wall-mounted pot rack, or a place to hang kitchen linens on display. Ladders with the flatter rungs can be hung on the wall as well, but serve better for shadow box decorating or spice storage.

If a tall, folding, wooden step ladder is what you have, paint it a color that suits you and spread the sections apart. Place boards across the gaps and on top of the rungs. What you’ll end up with is one of those modern looking sets of storage shelves that you can place books, plants, baskets or antique crocks on. If you have a really sunny area or sun room as part of your kitchen, this is a great item to use for an indoor herb garden.

Towel Bars:

These can be attached side by side and horizontally in the space between the counter and the top cupboards, and adorned with s-hooks for hanging coffee mugs, antique canning jars with the metal handles (great for storing silverware if you’re short on drawer space), or the occasional box grater. If you have some vertical wall space to use, hang several horizontally-placed towel bars in a row for another type of wall-mounted pot rack. If you only have a few pots and pans, consider putting one on the wall over your stove. Just add s-hooks (my other favorite hardware store item) and you’re ready to groove.

The key to all of these ideas is presentation. Pay attention to finishes, and what you pair them with when they are used in your kitchen. If country is more your thing, you can still get there with metro shelving. You just need to incorporate a few baskets, antique tins and jars of beans. When it comes to the towel bars, choose some in brushed steel to match your appliances, rather than the ones painted with flowers that would look like they came out of someone’s guest bathroom. By paying attention to details, you really can have these items blend into your kitchen’s background for an affordable, yet stylish upgrade.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.