Pimp your toe kick …

Is your toe kick feeling neglected? Does it just sit there and look at you without any viv and/or vigor? Have you seen your toe kick being rejected by other toe kicks on the playground for its lack of color and interest? If so, stop what you are doing, join my national ‘Pimp Your Toe Kick’ movement and read this post.

At Joy’s studio we knew we needed storage … although normally when I see that word coming out of somebody’s mouth I fall asleep. It’s not exactly that need that you are excited to hear about BUT, as a designer with hoarding tendencies I need a lot of storage myself so finding clean, inexpensive storage is never a bad exercise. The big challenge we always have is how to make the storage look cute, or even really good. You don’t want to call attention to it necessarily but you still want to, you know, jazz that sucker up, pimp it out a bit, bedazzle that little mother.

oh joy lacquer storage

For Joy’s closed storage we decided to add a decorative little toe-kick on the bottom with contact paper and tape. Super easy and cheap. It may not last forever, but you also may not want it to. I mean it is gold, mint, and pink after all and while I love those colors, I think in five years Joy will probably want to switch them out for burgundy, sage, and chocolate brown (or whatever colors that now seem ludicrous but we’ll probably all be begging to cover our bodies in).


The toe-kick is that bottom part underneath the cabinet that your toe might, yes, kick whilst opening said cabinets. There was A LOT happening in that space indeed, so while we considered doing something to the front of the cabinets, we were really afraid that it was going to go a little nuts. So we added handles and then jazzed up the toe-kick to pique your curiosity and add interest but still keep it relatively quiet in this design studio.

gold contact paper

We got the gold contact paper from Designyourwall.com, and it’s awesome. I’ve used it like 25 times, to the point where Orlando can’t look at it … but I can. It’s re-positionable and super easy to cut and apply. So we measured the bottom of the toe-kick and then just stuck that sucker up there. It’s basically just one big sticker so you peel off the back and then SLAP!  You are done.

Image 15

We wanted to add some stripes, as you do, so we used gaffers tape (it’s crazy strong and durable) and mint washi tape, which isn’t as durable but sure is popular and easy to find great colors in. You just tape it on in whatever pattern you want and then cut off the excess, like below:

decorative tape toe kick

So easy, friends. So easy.

We put it there and in the kitchen (which I’ll blog about later this week).

green smeg fridge

SAVE your toe kicks the torture of eternal boredom. Pimp that thing out.

Would you guys try this? I mean, it’s the easiest, cheapest, and most non-committal customization I can imagine.

After photos by the amazing Zeke Ruelas, and DIY photos and graphics by the lovely Tessa Neustadt

Resources (Storage wall) left to right: West Elm dining table; Industry West chairs; Ikea Pax cabinets with Anthropologie hooks; Casa de Perrin vintage rug; Target pouf; Jonathan Adler for JCP side table; Eric Trine chairs; striped pillows by Lab Boutique. Bottom detail made with: Gold contact paper from Design Your Wall with assorted masking tape.

Kitchen resources: Design With Reach coat hook; Target stools; Ikea cabinet with Anthropologie knobs; Ikea shelves with Signature Hardware brass anchors; FEED for Target ceramic/wood canisters; DIY painted glass mason jars; Wind & Willow Home wood bowl; Joel Penkman krispy kreme print; vintage Beatles print; SMEG fridge from West Elm; World Market dustpan; SimpleHuman trash bin. DIY on cabinet toe kick made with gold contact paper from Design Your Wall and assorted masking and washi tape.

  1. You are extra funny today. And I do love this space a week’s worth of posts, which is saying a lot!

    I am, somehow, extra annoying today and am going to tell you it is “vim and vigor” and “pique” your interest. Hope you don’t mind.

    • Emily

      HA! Don’t mind at all. THanks!

  2. Megan

    I love this space and the toe kick is fantastic! I want to live here/work here/play here. Must hunt for a toe kick to jazz up at home.

  3. Bab

    I saw this on the earlier photo posted a few days ago and, totally inspired, added zebra striped duct tape to some bland gray bookshelves I have–it made world of difference. Now they are pimped out!
    (and Heather–sometimes people get blocked from commenting on blogs if they point out usage problems in the blog…just sayin’)

  4. kiki

    oh, so great! love it. Would be interesting to see how it holds up over time with cleanings? Mostly wet moping the floor and bumps from a vacuum…the kick plates always get pretty banged up in my rentals, but maybe that’s because I’m not a very carful cleaner :) Part of me wouldn’t even care though…with how reasonably priced it is, maybe it’s just something you change out every year!! So fun :)

  5. Love this! We are actually looking for a solution to our toe kick in our kitchen, this is a little too risky for our basic kitchen (we’re eventually selling so trying to keep everything as basic as possible) but the cabinets are white (yellowing a touch) and we want to put a new toe kick to go with our new flooring under the cabinets. Thought about cutting down thh new, very white, baseboards and using that but I think it will yellow the cabinets even more? Any suggestions?

    • Sharon B

      Lowe’s has 8ft toe kick made of thin wood. You can stain or paint. Easy to cut and very light weight.

  6. Erin

    Great idea. It’s reminded me to never overlook any detail!

    xx Erin

  7. Andrea Urbass

    Sweet! Though does it come in silver or pewter?

  8. yp

    LOL pimp your toe kick’s .. love it!
    Great idea xo

  9. As soon as I saw this I rushed in my kitchen to look at my toe kicks. Too bad my husband used some decorative molding there, or I would be all over this! Off to check my bathroom vanities!

  10. Jiji

    I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE this! I need to go to IKEA asap, buy this unit and fancy up the toe kick. My craft room is begging for it, thank you for sharing!

  11. I’m a little pissed I didn’t think of this first. It would probably be easier to apply the tape stripes to the contact paper and cut the excess before slapping the whole thing on, though, no? ME NO KNOW, I usually do everything the hard way.

  12. kelly

    I have to say with most blogs I just look at the pretty pictures and then move on but with yours I ready every word, sometimes twice, BECAUSE I love your language and hilarious commentary. Seriously– Toe Kick –OMG, I’m dying. Loyal reader for life.

  13. James

    This is happening asap in my closet, where I’ve been wanting color but too exhausted by the thought of pulling everything out to paint. Thank you!!

  14. Nikki K.

    Amazeballs!!!! Just bought our first home last week and I have been wondering how I can bring in color (espresso cabinets, cream granite, cream tile which is NOT my personal taste…) and you just solved my dilemma!! We will most likely be renting it (we are military and move aprox. Every 3 years) I would really love to do a colorful backsplash but I am doing this first!!!

  15. Kelly

    Can’t believe what a little contact paper and tape will do! I may try this at our rental, at least with the copper contact paper. You are a genius!

  16. Jamie

    Shucks. I didn’t even know what a toe kick was…let alone that it could be pimped out. You’re so fancy!

  17. SO fun. Big fan of that one, Mrs. Henderson!

  18. Heidi

    I have these exact white IKEA pantries & I am drinking up the amazing creative juices flowing from your ladies brains– this is brilliant!

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  25. Kay

    SO “pimped out”! haha… gotta love an easy DIY project to spruce up a space. You did an amazing job on Joy’s studio. We would love to work with you soon. Will shoot you some info in the morning :)
    -Kay @DesignBuildLA

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