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DIY Indoor Grow Light Stands for under $100

Early spring is the time of year to start working on your summer organic veggie garden. In most climates, the actual growing season isn’t as long as you may like due to late frost in the spring and cool weather in the fall. So, how do you maximize your season to get more veggies growing outside once the warm weather finally hits? The secret to to start your seedling indoors, about 6-8 weeks before you transplant them in the ground.

Grow organic food affordably and easily at home

Starting seedlings indoors is relatively easy once you have a shelf, trays and a grow light. However, you would be amazed how much these systems cost. One 3-tier LED grow light stand will set you back a whopping $699 USD! And that doesn’t include any seeds, drip trays, planting trays or a timer!! A one shelf base unit for a standard stack-n-grow system is $199 USD. It’s insane money if you ask me. I knew I could do it myself way cheaper. And I did! For under $100 USD, I have almost the same setup that would cost you $400 retail. Keep reading, I’m going to show you how you can do it too.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. 
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. 
There are affiliate links in this post. 

It’s easy to start growing indoors, and you can do it on a budget too

Background: Our Organic Veggie Garden

I should explain that my husband and I are complete amateurs in organic gardening. Between us, we have less than zero gardening experience. But, we are both committed to a healthy lifestyle. Our goal in moving to western North Carolina was to grow our own organic food. We’ve been at it for just 2 years now, and this is the first year that we are actually starting seedlings indoors. Why did it take 2 years? Between work, renovating our house, and working on the land, we’ve just been really busy and are still getting our bearings with living in a totally new place to boot.

The first year, my husband built 8 raised beds. Last year, he built another 7 for a total of 15 raised beds for veggies. We also planted fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, grapes, many herbs and lots of pollinating plants for our future bees. Believe me, that was more than enough to keep us busy from morning ’til night. We barely had time to start seedlings outside! That first year, we had beginner’s luck. The spring was mild, so the outdoor seedlings survived.

Last year, however, was a different situation and a few late frosts killed most of our outdoor seedlings. Then, we had to start all over which wasted valuable time. I had to buy a lot of veggie starts to just get things growing, and that was definitely more expensive. I knew that I had to start collecting parts and equipment to make our indoor seedling grow system so that this year, we could finally start our seeds indoors. Hopefully you will learn from a few of our mistakes there and just start your spring seedlings inside!

Get Started: DIY Indoor Grow Light Stands Materials

You’ve got 2 options in sourcing your materials for making your own indoor seedling station:

  1. Buy everything new and assemble yourself, or
  2. Look for sales, bargains and thrift store/yard sale finds to create a budget masterpiece.

If you know me, then you already know what I did. Yep, confessions of a thrift store shopper..But, I managed to find everything I needed, and it wasn’t that hard! I’ll give you both the yard sale list and buy new list so you can combine from both to make what suits you.  Since the end of last summer, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for anything that might be useful and putting it aside. In total, it took me about 6 months to put together my super bargain setup.

Shelves for your indoor seedlings

How many shelves do you need? You can buy the 3-shelf systems with lights already set up. I’ve also seen homemade versions with 3 shelves which seem to work fine. But, if you have any curious cats in your house (like we do), then I would not recommend a 3-tier or even a 2-tier system. Can you hear the whole unit crashing? I can! With one particularly curious rescue cat, aka Captain Sneakypuss, we knew that we needed to have one-shelf units to prevent feline adventure accidents.

The first thing I found at a local thrift store was three separate one-shelf units with wheels, each for only $5. I really wanted shelves with wheels in case I had to move them, so I was beyond excited to find such a good deal! Each shelf measures 24″ long x 20″ high x 15″ wide. At the time, I didn’t even know that these shelves are for hanging file folders. I just thought, wow…I can hang a grow light on the top frame of this and put a seedling tray on the shelf – perfect! These 3 shelves went straight to the attic where they sat all winter. But they planted the seed (pun intended) for my vision of our indoor grow station. It doesn’t really matter what type of shelf you use, but a 24″ long shelf is pretty ideal for hanging a grow light in terms of the light being able to cover the planting area.

You can find a similar shelf to what I bought with the same dimensions for $39.99 on amazon here.

If you’re patient, you can score a good deal. I found 3 of these shelves for $5 each!

Heating Pad for warming seed trays

Certain seeds, like tomato and eggplant, require extra warmth to get started. Most people recommend a grow light AND a heating pad for these. You can buy a fancy seedling heating mat for $40 – $90 USD, depending on the size. Or you can just buy a standard heating pad from CVS. Better yet, check your thrift stores and yard sales. Just make sure that the heating pad has an option for continuous heat, that is, it doesn’t force a automatic shut-off after 1 or 2 hours.

Not all seedlings need heating pads. If you only have 2 shelf units, you probably only need 1 heating pad.

I found a like-new CVS heating pad at Goodwill for $3. Woot woot!

You can find something similar on amazon for under $20 here.

You’ll need a warming or heating pad for tomato and eggplant seedlings

Dual-Outlet Timer

Your heating pad will need to be connected to a timer so you can control the amount of hours of heat applied. You’ll also need a timer for your grow lights (see more on the grow lights below).

I bought a new timer because I wanted a digital one with 2 outlets, and this is not something easy to find used. You’re going to need one outlet for the heating pad and one for the grow light. The beauty of a dual-outlet timer is that you can connect both to one timer with the same on/off program. The model I bought is called the Century 7 Day Heavy Duty Digital Programmable Timer – Dual Outlet (Single Control), available on amazon for $12.99.

There’s an outlet on each side of the timer so you can program 2 things at the same time, like a light and a warming pad

Boot Trays make the perfect drip trays

Even with a brand new 3-tier seedling setup, you won’t get any drip trays. It won’t take long to realize that you need something to catch any water that leaks through your seedling trays. With hardwood floors, I definitely did not want water dripping! Measure the size of your shelves, that way you’ll know if boot trays will work. In my case, they fit perfectly under each shelf and turned out to be the perfect drip trays. I found 2 brand-new boot trays at Goodwill for $2 each, for a total of $4. I had another one at home that I bought at IKEA (and was actually using it as a boot tray). I added the IKEA tray to my setup and had everything I needed to secure any water from my seedling trays.

You can get 2 boot trays for $22 online here. That’s not a bad deal at all! Remember to check the measurements of your shelf to make sure they will fit.

I found these boot trays at Goodwill for 2 bucks each!

LED Grow Light

A grow light is probably the most important part of your indoor setup, because without it, your seedlings are not likely to survive. A window is just not enough light in early spring for seeds to get growing.  They need at least 12 hours per day under grow lights to create the right conditions for sprouting. (And the soil needs to be moist, so don’t forget to check the seedlings twice a day and water accordingly.)

I found an affordable grow light on amazon, and so far it’s working great. I decided to buy one at first and try it, before buying another one for my other shelf. Once I started to see little sprouts pushing out of the soil (yay!), I knew the light was ok so I bought another one. This was the most expensive part of my system, but also the most essential and still very affordable. The one I bought was the Newforshop 30W LED Grow Light for $29.99.

The LED grow light looks like a 70’s dance floor, but it works great and uses less energy

Chains, S Hooks, Zip Ties to attach your light

You’ll also need a few items to help hang your grow light on the shelf. One thing that makes the expensive systems more costly is that they have pully systems to easily move the light up and down as your seedlings grow. But, you can easily move your light up and down manually too. Especially if you want to save a couple hundred bucks. Simple materials like zip ties, S hooks and metal chains are all super useful to hang your grow light at the height you want. Check your grow light for its manufacturer recommendations, but as a general rule, you want to start with your grow light about 6 inches higher than the soil. Having chains makes it easy to adjust the height of your light once your seedlings start to grow.

Last summer, I found a big bag of various chains for $1 at a yard sale, and happily added it to my seedling station materials box. At another yard sale, I bought a jar full of screw and other bits for $1; inside of that were a few metal S hooks. I usually buy my zip ties at the Dollar Store but you can sometimes find those at yard sales too.

You can also buy short pieces of hanging chain with S hooks online here for $5.50.

Honey I bought a bag of chains! Huh? It’s for our seedlings! OH!

Chains and Zip ties or S hooks make it super easy to adjust the height of your light

Shopping List: DIY indoor seedling Grow Light Stand

It’s easy to start growing indoors, and you can do it on a budget too

Organic good grown at home is the ultimate in health

Cost – Buying New vs. Used

Buying all new materials, you can create ONE grow light shelf unit for $129.01 or TWO shelf units for $198.99.

Even if you buy everything NEW, you can get TWO grow light shelf units for the price of one ($199) at a comparable online garden supply store. That’s 50% less!!

Buying some used materials (like I did), you can create ONE shelf unit for $54.98 or TWO shelf units for $91.97.

Either way, you save money! Simply by starting your own plants from seed, you can save hundreds of dollars EVERY YEAR from not having to buy starter plants. (1 organic start plant costs $4-6, whereas 1 packet of 100 organic seeds costs $3 or $0.03 per plant.) Your investment in starting from seed will quickly pay off after only one season!

Additional Stuff you’ll need

Once you get your grow light shelves set up, you’ll need a few more things to actually start your seedlings:

  • Starter soil (I recommend 3 parts Peat Moss to 1/2 part Perlite 10 1/2 part Vermiculite)
  • Planting trays (I got mine for free on Craigslist; also check gardening stores at the end of the season for freebies)
  • Spray bottle for watering
  • Popsicle sticks for labeling your trays (I scored a huge bag at a yard sale for 50c)
  • And of course….some quality non-GMO organic seeds (I recommend Sow True Seed brand)
  • Fertilizer (use this once the seedlings are growing so they don’t stall in growth)

Have any personal tips on starting seeds indoors to share? Please leave a comment below!

Organic gardening for health, joy and happiness

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Organic Farming:

More on Immune System:

SaveSave

DIY Indoor Grow Light Stands for under $100

Early spring is the time of year to start working on your summer organic veggie garden. In most climates, the actual growing season isn’t as long as you may like due to late frost in the spring and cool weather in the fall. So, how do you maximize your season to get more veggies growing outside once the warm weather finally hits? The secret to to start your seedling indoors, about 6-8 weeks before you transplant them in the ground.

Grow organic food affordably and easily at home

Starting seedlings indoors is relatively easy once you have a shelf, trays and a grow light. However, you would be amazed how much these systems cost. One 3-tier LED grow light stand will set you back a whopping $699 USD! And that doesn’t include any seeds, drip trays, planting trays or a timer!! A one shelf base unit for a standard stack-n-grow system is $199 USD. It’s insane money if you ask me. I knew I could do it myself way cheaper. And I did! For under $100 USD, I have almost the same setup that would cost you $400 retail. Keep reading, I’m going to show you how you can do it too.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. 
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. 
There are affiliate links in this post. 

It’s easy to start growing indoors, and you can do it on a budget too

Background: Our Organic Veggie Garden

I should explain that my husband and I are complete amateurs in organic gardening. Between us, we have less than zero gardening experience. But, we are both committed to a healthy lifestyle. Our goal in moving to western North Carolina was to grow our own organic food. We’ve been at it for just 2 years now, and this is the first year that we are actually starting seedlings indoors. Why did it take 2 years? Between work, renovating our house, and working on the land, we’ve just been really busy and are still getting our bearings with living in a totally new place to boot.

The first year, my husband built 8 raised beds. Last year, he built another 7 for a total of 15 raised beds for veggies. We also planted fruit trees, raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, grapes, many herbs and lots of pollinating plants for our future bees. Believe me, that was more than enough to keep us busy from morning ’til night. We barely had time to start seedlings outside! That first year, we had beginner’s luck. The spring was mild, so the outdoor seedlings survived.

Last year, however, was a different situation and a few late frosts killed most of our outdoor seedlings. Then, we had to start all over which wasted valuable time. I had to buy a lot of veggie starts to just get things growing, and that was definitely more expensive. I knew that I had to start collecting parts and equipment to make our indoor seedling grow system so that this year, we could finally start our seeds indoors. Hopefully you will learn from a few of our mistakes there and just start your spring seedlings inside!

Get Started: DIY Indoor Grow Light Stands Materials

You’ve got 2 options in sourcing your materials for making your own indoor seedling station:

  1. Buy everything new and assemble yourself, or
  2. Look for sales, bargains and thrift store/yard sale finds to create a budget masterpiece.

If you know me, then you already know what I did. Yep, confessions of a thrift store shopper..But, I managed to find everything I needed, and it wasn’t that hard! I’ll give you both the yard sale list and buy new list so you can combine from both to make what suits you.  Since the end of last summer, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for anything that might be useful and putting it aside. In total, it took me about 6 months to put together my super bargain setup.

Shelves for your indoor seedlings

How many shelves do you need? You can buy the 3-shelf systems with lights already set up. I’ve also seen homemade versions with 3 shelves which seem to work fine. But, if you have any curious cats in your house (like we do), then I would not recommend a 3-tier or even a 2-tier system. Can you hear the whole unit crashing? I can! With one particularly curious rescue cat, aka Captain Sneakypuss, we knew that we needed to have one-shelf units to prevent feline adventure accidents.

The first thing I found at a local thrift store was three separate one-shelf units with wheels, each for only $5. I really wanted shelves with wheels in case I had to move them, so I was beyond excited to find such a good deal! Each shelf measures 24″ long x 20″ high x 15″ wide. At the time, I didn’t even know that these shelves are for hanging file folders. I just thought, wow…I can hang a grow light on the top frame of this and put a seedling tray on the shelf – perfect! These 3 shelves went straight to the attic where they sat all winter. But they planted the seed (pun intended) for my vision of our indoor grow station. It doesn’t really matter what type of shelf you use, but a 24″ long shelf is pretty ideal for hanging a grow light in terms of the light being able to cover the planting area.

You can find a similar shelf to what I bought with the same dimensions for $39.99 on amazon here.

If you’re patient, you can score a good deal. I found 3 of these shelves for $5 each!

Heating Pad for warming seed trays

Certain seeds, like tomato and eggplant, require extra warmth to get started. Most people recommend a grow light AND a heating pad for these. You can buy a fancy seedling heating mat for $40 – $90 USD, depending on the size. Or you can just buy a standard heating pad from CVS. Better yet, check your thrift stores and yard sales. Just make sure that the heating pad has an option for continuous heat, that is, it doesn’t force a automatic shut-off after 1 or 2 hours.

Not all seedlings need heating pads. If you only have 2 shelf units, you probably only need 1 heating pad.

I found a like-new CVS heating pad at Goodwill for $3. Woot woot!

You can find something similar on amazon for under $20 here.

You’ll need a warming or heating pad for tomato and eggplant seedlings

Dual-Outlet Timer

Your heating pad will need to be connected to a timer so you can control the amount of hours of heat applied. You’ll also need a timer for your grow lights (see more on the grow lights below).

I bought a new timer because I wanted a digital one with 2 outlets, and this is not something easy to find used. You’re going to need one outlet for the heating pad and one for the grow light. The beauty of a dual-outlet timer is that you can connect both to one timer with the same on/off program. The model I bought is called the Century 7 Day Heavy Duty Digital Programmable Timer – Dual Outlet (Single Control), available on amazon for $12.99.

There’s an outlet on each side of the timer so you can program 2 things at the same time, like a light and a warming pad

Boot Trays make the perfect drip trays

Even with a brand new 3-tier seedling setup, you won’t get any drip trays. It won’t take long to realize that you need something to catch any water that leaks through your seedling trays. With hardwood floors, I definitely did not want water dripping! Measure the size of your shelves, that way you’ll know if boot trays will work. In my case, they fit perfectly under each shelf and turned out to be the perfect drip trays. I found 2 brand-new boot trays at Goodwill for $2 each, for a total of $4. I had another one at home that I bought at IKEA (and was actually using it as a boot tray). I added the IKEA tray to my setup and had everything I needed to secure any water from my seedling trays.

You can get 2 boot trays for $22 online here. That’s not a bad deal at all! Remember to check the measurements of your shelf to make sure they will fit.

I found these boot trays at Goodwill for 2 bucks each!

LED Grow Light

A grow light is probably the most important part of your indoor setup, because without it, your seedlings are not likely to survive. A window is just not enough light in early spring for seeds to get growing.  They need at least 12 hours per day under grow lights to create the right conditions for sprouting. (And the soil needs to be moist, so don’t forget to check the seedlings twice a day and water accordingly.)

I found an affordable grow light on amazon, and so far it’s working great. I decided to buy one at first and try it, before buying another one for my other shelf. Once I started to see little sprouts pushing out of the soil (yay!), I knew the light was ok so I bought another one. This was the most expensive part of my system, but also the most essential and still very affordable. The one I bought was the Newforshop 30W LED Grow Light for $29.99.

The LED grow light looks like a 70’s dance floor, but it works great and uses less energy

Chains, S Hooks, Zip Ties to attach your light

You’ll also need a few items to help hang your grow light on the shelf. One thing that makes the expensive systems more costly is that they have pully systems to easily move the light up and down as your seedlings grow. But, you can easily move your light up and down manually too. Especially if you want to save a couple hundred bucks. Simple materials like zip ties, S hooks and metal chains are all super useful to hang your grow light at the height you want. Check your grow light for its manufacturer recommendations, but as a general rule, you want to start with your grow light about 6 inches higher than the soil. Having chains makes it easy to adjust the height of your light once your seedlings start to grow.

Last summer, I found a big bag of various chains for $1 at a yard sale, and happily added it to my seedling station materials box. At another yard sale, I bought a jar full of screw and other bits for $1; inside of that were a few metal S hooks. I usually buy my zip ties at the Dollar Store but you can sometimes find those at yard sales too.

You can also buy short pieces of hanging chain with S hooks online here for $5.50.

Honey I bought a bag of chains! Huh? It’s for our seedlings! OH!

Chains and Zip ties or S hooks make it super easy to adjust the height of your light

Shopping List: DIY indoor seedling Grow Light Stand

It’s easy to start growing indoors, and you can do it on a budget too

Organic good grown at home is the ultimate in health

Cost – Buying New vs. Used

Buying all new materials, you can create ONE grow light shelf unit for $129.01 or TWO shelf units for $198.99.

Even if you buy everything NEW, you can get TWO grow light shelf units for the price of one ($199) at a comparable online garden supply store. That’s 50% less!!

Buying some used materials (like I did), you can create ONE shelf unit for $54.98 or TWO shelf units for $91.97.

Either way, you save money! Simply by starting your own plants from seed, you can save hundreds of dollars EVERY YEAR from not having to buy starter plants. (1 organic start plant costs $4-6, whereas 1 packet of 100 organic seeds costs $3 or $0.03 per plant.) Your investment in starting from seed will quickly pay off after only one season!

Additional Stuff you’ll need

Once you get your grow light shelves set up, you’ll need a few more things to actually start your seedlings:

  • Starter soil (I recommend 3 parts Peat Moss to 1/2 part Perlite 10 1/2 part Vermiculite)
  • Planting trays (I got mine for free on Craigslist; also check gardening stores at the end of the season for freebies)
  • Spray bottle for watering
  • Popsicle sticks for labeling your trays (I scored a huge bag at a yard sale for 50c)
  • And of course….some quality non-GMO organic seeds (I recommend Sow True Seed brand)
  • Fertilizer (use this once the seedlings are growing so they don’t stall in growth)

Have any personal tips on starting seeds indoors to share? Please leave a comment below!

Organic gardening for health, joy and happiness

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Organic Farming:

More on Immune System:

SaveSave

Our Farmhouse Kitchen for under $3K!! Before and After DIY Makeover

If you’re like me, then you spend a lot of time in your kitchen. Chopping, grating, slicing, juicing, fermenting, harvesting, cleaning….the list goes on and on! The kitchen should be a room you love, otherwise you won’t want to spend any time there at all. If you can’t find the knife or cutting board you need, it becomes a hassle. Organized cupboards, dried foods and easy access to appliances make a whole world of difference. A nice vibe and a personal touch in the decor always give a good positive energy flow to the space. Changes to your diet and lifestyle have to start in the kitchen!

We recently did a DIY kitchen makeover, from a bad 80’s sitcom feel to a cool and funky farmhouse kitchen…and now our kitchen is a space I love! It’s a fun and organic feel. And for those of you on a budget, you’ll be excited to know that we did everything for under $3000! Now that IS amazing. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to put a new spin and fresh look on your old dark and dated kitchen. Trust me! Here I’m going to share the results!

Farm Kitchen DIY – Before and After pics

The 80’s Kitchen Before

We definitely did not choose our house for the kitchen, to say the least. It’s small and a bit strange in its layout, with the sink by itself against a wall and not under the windows facing outside. The dark oak cabinets were screaming 1981 and my dreams of having a fresh clean modern kitchen were not reflecting reality at all. But, we fell in love with the land (for starting an organic farm) and the area (an all farming area in the mountains of North Carolina) and the rest of the house was nice too so it’s all good.

Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover BEFORE

The Farmhouse Kitchen After

Since we may rehab the entire kitchen in a few years, we didn’t want to waste money on new cabinets or counter-tops or even a new layout yet. Our goal was to give the kitchen we have a decent enough facelift to actually enjoy the space and start having fun preparing lots of healthy food, straight from our veggie garden. Because I was working with existing cabinets and counter-tops, I decided to go for a farmhouse look because a modern design wasn’t possible with what we had. Initially I figured the rehab would take 2 months. In the end, it took 6 months to complete. Well, everyone says these DIY’s take longer than you expect (without a full crew working on it like in those 30-minute HGTV shows that make everything look far, far too easy!).

Farmhouse Kitchen Makeover AFTER

Farmhouse DIY Makeover List of What we Did

1. Popcorn ceiling removal – we did this ourselves and it all crumbled off with wet rags, no scraping or spraying at all. Took 2 days in total to complete. (Then we went to Vegas for the weekend, true!)

2. Painted old light fixtures. No idea why but the previous owners had painted the discs red/orange so I painted them white. 1 day.

3. Walls and trim sanded, primed and painted. The old kitchen had a strange greenish paint that had a slight texture which has to be sanded and the trim was a bright orange/red. Yes, time to GO! This was a BIG job. We moved everything to one side and painted 1/2 the kitchen then moved everything to the other side and painted the other half. The paint we used for the walls is Pratt & Lambert “Winchester” in semi-gloss and for the trim, a semi-gloss white.  I also added beadboard wallpaper to the kitchen peninsula and painted it too. Beadboard wallpaper is amazing! 1 week.

Bye bye green walls! What a difference a coat of paint makes.

4. Cabinets primed and painted white, with beadboard wallpaper added and painted, then installed oil rubbed bronze hardware. I got the cabinet pulls/knobs and cabinet handles from amazon and drilled all the holes myself. Definitely buy the cabinet hardware drilling template if you are going to do this step yourself. This was a huge job that I hope to never have to do again! 1 week.

Kitchen Oak Cabinets BEFORE painting – Kitchen Makeover

 

Painted Kitchen Cabinets – AFTER with new hardware – Kitchen Makeover

5. Also painted a pull out cart next to the stove which was originally purple (yes purple). I painted it gray to match the counter tops. Later we realized that the shelf on this cart was too high for the magnetic knife strips on the wall, so my husband cut off one shelf. I then put wood filler in the gaps, then sand prime and paint again. 2 days.

Note the purple pull out cart next to the oven (it holds baking trays and drying racks inside)

 

The pull out cart next to the oven now painted in grey (and notice the new barn house style pocket door)

6. Finally we were ready to put up the farmhouse shelves! I forgot to mention that my husband pulled down the wall cabinets before we painted the walls. It was a bit of a spontaneous decision. We were both working in the kitchen preparing the walls one day and all of a sudden he said, “I’m taking these down!” And that was that. We had looked at photos or farmhouse wood shelves before that but hadn’t decided to do it or not. Well, in that moment we pretty much decided to go for it! After painting the walls, we measured the space and went to Lowes to buy wood. I had done A LOT of research checking blogs for farm style kitchen shelves, and wasn’t able to find exactly what I wanted which was a thick wood floating shelf without having to make a hollow wood shelf and without spending a lot of money on expensive wood. In the end, we bought simple pine 2 -inch thick shelves (that’s 2x12x12) and here’s a tip: Lowes will even cut the wood for you, just bring the measurements!

7. Farmhouse shelves phase 1: Sanding and staining. We decided on 3 shelves on one wall and 2 on the wall with the stove. Also we took out the old cabinet above the fridge and measure out space for shelves there too. I sanded and stained everything myself (phew!). The stain we used was Minwax Early American, left on the wood for 10 minutes. But, I used a pre-stain wood conditioner first which I think is an important step! Then I left to dry overnight and applied butcher block oil. I didn’t want to use any varnish because of the nasty chemical smells. This took 3 long days.

Sanding and staining the farm house style shelves

8. Farmhouse shelves Phase 2: Hanging the shelves. Prepare yourself for lots of measuring, and checking the level many times. We marked all the studs before painting because I knew with shelves like this, we had to hang them in the studs. Almost all the brackets got in studs with the exception of one, so I’d say we did ok! For the brackets, I found nice 8″L x 6″ H hand-made steel metal brackets on amazon. It comes in different sizes for different widths of shelves. We chose wood for a 12-inch width shelf after I measured our dinner plates and largest bowls. 2 days.

Measuring and installing the brackets for farmhouse kitchen shelves

The wood farm style shelves are up – yay!!

9. Hanging new lights – We installed a new ceiling light above the kitchen table and also put up a few battery-operated under the cabinet lights which went under the bottom kitchen shelf. We have very dated and 80’s style track lighting as well, but we weren’t up to the task of changing that just yet, so instead just installed Edison style LED light bulbs. 1 day.

10. Farmhouse doors – how could I forget my favorite part of the kitchen – our farmhouse style doors! We installed one to the pantry (where previously there was a bright red/orange door). Then we installed a new pocket door from the kitchen to the wood stove room, so we could close the kitchen if need be (if a guest is sleeping in the other room for example). The doors were a special order from Home Depot, then were stained in the same way as the shelves. I love these doors! 1 week (it took time for our carpenter to make the pocket door frame and we had to drywall, prime paint, etc after).

DIY Kitchen Makeover BEFORE – the old red/orange pantry door

DIY Kitchen Makeover AFTER – the new barn style pantry door LOVE!

11. New oven – By this point of the makeover it was the end of December (we had started in September), and I said to my husband, “Would it be great if we could get a new oven..like a Viking industrial oven?”  We started reading reviews and were going “wow” then looking at the price and saying “hmmm..” Literally a few days later we went to Habitat for Humanity and found a Dacor brand convection bake oven, already set for propane gas, for $500. It was unreal. And it fit into the space like a glove. Totally manifested it! This oven new sells for over $5K!! We were over the moon. 1 day.

12. Oven installation – had to get an electrician to install the 240V line for the oven, cost about $200. As you can see all of this was almost 1/3 of the $3000 we spent…and in that budget we still landed a $5K oven! This was over xmas/new year and it took some time to book the electrician.  2 weeks.

Oven envy! LOVE our Dacor convection oven, bought used

13. New farmhouse wood kitchen table from IKEA – and yes this is a big deal because it’s a 2-hour drive to IKEA where we live and I had been looking at this table for months. Then when we were ready to go to IKEA, the table was suddenly on sale for $80 less. Total score!! I wanted this particular table with the drop leaf on either side because our kitchen is so small, however we could have guests with this if need be and also, it’s not easy to find a thick farm style kitchen table with a drop leaf on either side. 1 day.

14. Chalkboard wall painted – Up until now, I thought we were going to have a small section of the wall painted in black chalkboard paint, mostly for my husband because it was his request. (He’s a graphic designer and wanted some room to draw.) Actually he wanted an entire wall for a chalkboard, and I kept saying, “No way. You can have this small space here!” I thought the black color would make the room look too small. Fast forward a few months into the project and all of a sudden I said, “Ok let’s do the whole wall.” He was like, “Really?!” I have no idea what happened, but now that the wall is done, I love it. It actually adds depth to the room and it’s so much fun to have guests over and let them draw whatever they want on the walls. Yes, a lot of our guests will ask if they can draw something! It’s really a lot of fun. I love having a real, genuine feel to the kitchen and the ever-changing chalkboard wall adds that for sure. 2 days.

The chalkboard wall and the farmhouse kitchen drop leaf table

15. Kitchen sink backsplash using grey wood-like floor tiles. Yes, we used floor tiles for our backsplash around the sink! I wanted something to go with the grey formica counter tops and not too much white because the cabinets above and below were now white. The grey colored wood tile was a perfect match to go with the counters and add something nice on all that white. We bought the tiles at Lowes and my husband did the tiles himself, first time ever doing tiling and what a great job! 3 days.

Kitchen sink backsplash with grey wood tile

16. Stove and farmhouse shelf backsplash – for this wall, we chose a large subway tile, much larger than normal because 1) it was less work to use bigger tiles 2) the price was actually better than buying small subway tiles and 3) the classic subway look is getting a bit old and we wanted to put a bit of a spin on it. We chose the 16″ x 4″ white tiles from Lowes. 3 days.

Large white subway tile backsplash – DIY kitchen makeover

17. Cutting board wall – this is one of my favorite changes to the kitchen! I bought a few hanging racks and S hooks and hung them on the wall to make the perfect cutting board station. I have to say that this cutting board rack is the most convenient things ever especially for someone who is often chopping up fruits and veggies several times a day!

Cutting boards hanging on S hooks – LOVE this!

18. Finally, the last touches! I added hooks for towels on either side of the sink, hung pictures on the walls, another 2 shelves on the chalkboard wall, two walnut wood magnetic knife holders that look amazing (one knife strip is never enough if you do a lot of food prep like me!), also shelves for spices and supplements which I installed over the tile after staining the shelves to match everything else, and a few bars and hooks from IKEA for a bit of organizing towels and hanging stuff. 2 weeks.

Magnetic knife holders wood farmhouse style kitchen

I hope you like the end result as much as we do, and if not…well maybe you got a few good ideas for your own DIY kitchen makeover. Looking back at all the steps, I have no idea how we did all of that! Now the fun part…is using the new kitchen!

Farm Kitchen DIY – Before and After pics