Good morning friends! I’ve been eyeing all these gorgeous family command centers on Pinterest for the past year. So, when I decided to tackle the kitchen in January, a command center was definitely on my wish list. Now, it’s just me, and my husband, and our pup right now, so do we really need a command center? Probably not, especially since we have very detailed Google Calendars already. But, I wanted to have a visual schedule for big events to glance at every day, without having to log in to a device.
Once I found my calendar, I was able to install the whole command center in under an hour, and the whole cost was $40.
Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click the link and purchase the item.
Choosing your Command Center Spot
For me, this was a no-brainer. I had a small, empty wall between where my cabinets ended and the basement door. I could never put anything like shelves on it because the basement door wouldn’t open all the way then. Before I started the renovation, I had my family Shutterfly calendar and a picture of some wisteria on it, just to add a little love to the kitchen. So, this was an easy decision for me.
If you don’t have an easy choice, pick a spot that is at least 4 feet wide and you have at least half an empty wall to work with. I’d also recommend choosing a place that’s in a busy spot in your house. What’s the point of hanging a calendar in place you only go a few times a week? You’ll never use it, no matter how much you say you will. And, how can you admire all your handywork then?!
Choosing your Command Center Items
This is what took the longest amount of time for me. I really wanted the right calendar to anchor the command center. So, I scoured Pinterest and Etsy and Wayfair and Target, and Pottery Barn, for options. I loved the acrylic calendars I saw on Pinterst and Etsy, but I wasn’t ready to shell out the $200 they cost.
Note: If you’re in your forever home, and this command center is going to be hanging for many, many years, go for the $200 calendar. A lot of these amazing creators will personalize it with your family name, with the colors you like, and have tons of calendar options. If we hadn’t just spent all this money on our kitchen, I probably would have snapped one up. But, I decided to be fiscally responsible (how boring).
How I Found my Command Center Items
One early Sunday morning I went to Home Goods looking for a coffee canister to match our new kitchen, and on a whim, walked down the aisle that had office supplies. There, I found a calendar I loved! And, the best part–only $25. I quickly put it in my cart before anyone else could come and steal my find, and then frantically called Steve to wake him up and have him measure the space to make sure it would fit (you know he loved that).
When choosing the size of my calendar, I wanted to make sure it took up most of the width of my small wall, but still left a few inches on either side so it didn’t seem too crowded. So, for our 30 inch wall, this 25.5″ x 19.5″ calendar was perfect.
Once I had my calendar, the next step was figuring out what else to hang up. I definitely wanted a small basket to keep markers for the calendar, and then as a catch-all for all those little things that wind up in the kitchen but don’t have a home. Luckily, right across the aisle they had this great black wire basket. It was only a few inches deep, which would work perfectly, so our basement door could still open without hitting the basket every time. I spent a half hour in the aisle looking at other baskets and rails to hang up, but since the space was small, I decided to stick with one basket and an extra Ikea Fintorp rail I had from my pot rack project.
Tips for Choosing your Command Center Items
When choosing your items, here’s how I would approach it:
- What is the overall goal for your command center? Is it the calendar and keeping your family schedules organized? Then you might want a bigger calendar and less accessories. Is it the calendar but also adding some storage? Then, like me, you might want a smaller calendar with some baskets or rails to hang things on. Answering these questions will help you figure out what you need to buy.
- How much space do you want to use? I was ok with using the whole wall, so I had a lot of flexibility in what I chose. If you have a smaller space to use, you may need to buy smaller items, stick with baskets to provide storage that sticks out from the wall instead of takes up room on the wall, and stay away from rails, where things will hang below them.
- And, the question for every project, how much money do you want to spend? As always, this was my driving force for my final decision. I didn’t want to spend more than $50-$75 on the command center, so it took me a little longer to find what I wanted. If you’re willing to spend closer to $150-$200, you’ll have a ton of options.
Other Supplies Needed
Once you’ve picked your calendar and other accessories, you’ll just need a few other items to help hang your items. I had all of these already at home, so there was no additional cost for me.
- Drywall anchors (buy plenty of extras because no matter what brand I use, I feel like I go through a ton for every project)
- Impact Driver (I love my Ryobi Impact Driver)
- Drill (I love my Ryobi drill too!)
- Hammer and measuring tape (mine are from this great tool set from Craftsman Evolv tool line, that I can’t find for purchase anymore. My dad gave it to me when I bought my condo when I was 24 and didn’t know what half the tools were, and I still use all of them 10 years later. And, it’s only $35).
- Laser Level
- S Hooks for the Rail. (UPDATE: these are great, but they do fall frequently if you take things on and off the hooks a lot. I replaced them with the hooks that match the hanging rod from IKEA
Step 1: Decide Where You Want to Hang Everything on the Wall
This is the fun part where you hold things up and try to lean back while holding it up to see if you like it or not, and try to gauge it from the length of your arms 🙂 Or, if you have a nice husband, make him hold things, while you stand back and decide.
Once you decide where you want things, you’re going to focus on the biggest piece first–the calendar.
Step 2: Install the Calendar
Since calendar is the center of the project, hang this first. I know you’re excited to see it up, but it’s really important to take time to make sure it’s exactly where you want it to be. For me, that meant making sure the calendar was centered on the wall (i.e. measuring the distance between the edge of the calendar and the wall on both sides to make sure they were equal or really close to it). I drew lines with a pencil on the edges of the calendar so I knew where the top corners should be on the wall.
Next, measure where the screws need to be. You can do this by measuring the distance between the hooks and the corners of your calendar, and then repeat those measurements on the wall to mark where the screws should go. To double check your work, measure the distance between the screw holes on the back of the calendar and compare it to the pencil marks for the screw holes on the wall to make sure they’re the same.
Then, make sure your marks are level on the wall–this is where your laser level is super handy!
Once your happy with your marks, break out your drill! Using a drill bit that’s slightly smaller than your drywall anchors, drill a hole on each of the marks for your screws.
Then hammer your drywall anchors in until they are flush with the wall.
Next, using your impact driver, or screwdriver if you don’t have one, screw the screws into the drywall anchors, leaving 1/8″ to 1/4″ of the screw head out of the anchor (enough space to get the hooks to catch).
Then, hang your calendar! You can see I was so proud of mine until Steve pointed out it was crooked. Since I’m not the tallest person and I can be difficult and refuse to use a step stool unless I absolutely need to, I tend to tilt the drill when I’m making a hole. That doesn’t help with hanging things level.
So, I had to take one screw and drywall anchor out, spackle the wall, and put another one in–this time perfectly level.
And, voila! It looks so great! First step of my command center done.
Step 3: Install the Basket
I installed the basket next because I wanted the basket right under my calendar, but you should follow these steps for whatever you want to hang next.
Now, basically follow the exact same steps to hang your basket. Measure where you want it to be and mark with a pencil where the screw holes need to go. Using your level, make sure your marks are level. Then use your drill to make the holes for your drywall anchors. Screw your screws into the drywall anchors using your impact driver or screw driver, leaving 1/8″-1/4″ out of the wall, to hang the basket from. Then hang your basket! (And, double check that it’s level).
Boom! Second part done!
Step 4: Install the Rail
I finished my command center off with a rail to add a little more vertical storage to our kitchen. We needed a space for our grill tools, my aprons, and a few strainers. And, it was just a little sweeter that I had this great Ikea rail leftover from my pot rack project (I bought 2 extra), so it was a free addition 🙂
You’re going to follow the same steps as above to install the rail. Measure and mark where the screw holes go, install your drywall anchors, screw your screws in, and hang the rail. (If you want detailed instructions on how to install these particular Ikea rails, follow the instructions in my pot rack post.)
Then using your S hooks, spend an hour agonizing what to hang and in what order on the rail (or, is that just me and my craziness?).
And, that’s it! Command center complete in less than an hour! What do you think??? Since it’s just me and Steve, we each have our own color and then we have one color for mutual things. And, for now, I’m just putting major events (or things I tend to forget) because we have a google calendar for all the little details. But, I absolutely love it! The extra storage is a huge help, the basket is great for the markers, plus I’ve added our chip clips and reusable sandwich bags there, which is a great place to keep those things. And, the whole command center really finishes off the space.
What do you have hanging in your command center? Anything you think I should add?