Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brown Paper Bag It

As much as I love all the open shelving in this apartment, it was getting to be a bit too revealing in places and needed some cover up. I have an entire wall of deep cabinets in the kitchen, perfect for storing random crap (yay for a NYC apartment that has storage space), but it looked kind of messy.


I tried to create a cleaner look by shoving stuff into cardboard boxes (repurposed from moving) so one could gaze upon an array of brown boxes of different shapes and sizes through the glass. However, not everything fit nicely in the boxes, so I needed a new solution. I decided to line the glass with paper instead.

Here's where if I were a cute crafter I would have found some adorable printed gift wrap or wallpaper to work with. But I don't really have the patience for that. Instead, I hit upon a greener solution - I repurposed brown paper bags that were sitting in my craft drawer*. I knew I was saving them for a reason! (Well technically, I had intended to turn the bags into gift wrap come holiday season, but I can always collect more bags before then.)

Cutting up the bags totally reminded me of those days of being ordered by anal middle and high school teachers to cover my textbooks and notebooks with brown paper bags. Did you have to do that too?


Overlapping strips of brown paper were cut to fit the tall cabinets and then duct taped to the inside of the glass. You can tell the paper is crinkly but I don't care. It still does its purpose of hiding anything and everything I've been shoving back there. I love the clean look of the lined cabinets, and it really makes the room feel more open. I'm doubly happy that I was able to find an eco-friendly solution for this project by reusing materials I already had.

And before you hate on me for closing up open shelving, don't worry - the apartment still boasts plenty of other glass cabinets and little nooks and shelves that I left untouched to display our stuff, as you will see in tomorrow's post.

* Does anyone else out there save gift wrap, ribbons, paper bags, etc whenever someone gives you a gift? This stuff makes up the bulk of my craft drawer. It's a really smart and green alternative to needing to buy new giftwrap for your own gift giving endeavors.


  1. I save. but then i don't do anything with it. just ends up making a mess. :-/

    BUT can i just say how incredibly jealous i am of your storage? i've got nada!

  2. I love saving tissue paper and ribbons!

    Crinkles are better than no crinkles - ya gotta put the shabby in shabby chic!

  3. That is a very clever idea! You’re very resourceful using brown paper bags to cover. It doesn’t look like a paper bag. It looks like a wood cover.

  4. Brilliant! That’s funny, who would’ve thought that the cover was just a brown paper bag. I really thought it’s a brown wooden plaque.

  5. Oh I so remember covering my textbooks, that was so annoying. Your cabinet looks great though. I can't wait to set up my new single ladies apartment. I also can't wait to hopefully stop referring to it as that at some point lol.

  6. I am fanatic about saving wrapping paper and ribbons- I just never know what to do with it afterwards!

  7. i save it ALL. and luckily our new place has enough storage room! i try to go through it every few months, and sometimes purge a couple of things, which helps me keep the collection under control, and reminds me what i have in there, so the next time i think "gee, i could really use a little burlap bag with a drawstring" i know where to look, and save myself a shopping trip.

  8. Love the idea to mask the shelf with paper. I never would have thought to do that, but the result looks great.