Easy Kitchen Decorating

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When it comes to apartment decorating, the kitchen is often the most neglected space. Most apartment kitchens are small, packed tight with appliances, pots, pans and dishes. While your kitchen may seem too cramped and crowded to have space for any decorative additions, it is probably the room where your family and friends spend the most time, congregating around the food. Doesn’t it deserve a little decorative attention? Thanks to inexpensive home stores like Ikea and Target, it is easier than ever to find items that will help you maximize storage space and create new space in your kitchen. Read on for kitchen decorating ideas that will help you organize your belongings and make your space feel more inviting.

Making the Most of a Small Kitchen:

Many kitchens are full of appliances that go unused, yet take up a lot of space. Think about it- when is the last time you used that asparagus steamer? Whether you received these items as wedding gifts or purchased them on impulse, consider donating them to charity or selling them on eBay to save space.

Do you have mountains of plastic bags, take out containers or paper plates stuffed into a corner cabinet or under the sink? While it’s great to save these things to use again, you don’t need to keep a stockpile on hand. Try to cut down on the disposable items you bring into the apartment, and send some of these things to be recycled.

Small apartment kitchens are notorious for their lack of counter space. If this is a problem for your apartment, consider purchasing a “movable island”, a mobile counter top that usually has drawers and hooks for storage. Many movable islands have cutting board surfaces that give you two food preparation areas.

If you are frustrated by the lack of cabinet space in your apartment, cabinet additives, extra shelves, spice racks and container organizers can increase the amount of useful space in your cabinets. Visit a home furnishing store like Bed, Bath & Beyond or The Container Store to get ideas for kitchen organizers. Inserting dividers into drawers can help keep silverware and tools better organized and prevent the development of a cluttered “junk drawer”. Items that typically belong in drawers may find a home on overhead racks and hooks. Home supply stores sell metal racks that hang on the stove or over the sink and hold large utensils, pot holders, towels and other items.

If you want to make a more substantial investment in your kitchen, consider changing the size or shape of a few of your cabinets. Deep drawers will allow you to store pots and pans without having to hang them to outside racks or stuff them in drawers where they don’t fit. Corner cabinets can take advantage of unused space.

Creating a Kitchen Style

Once you’ve begun to organize and maximize your space, you’ll be ready to work on your kitchen décor. Depending on your time and budget, you can make small changes, such as adding kitchen decorations, or overhaul the fundamental structure of the room.

There are several popular kitchen styles you might want to consider before making major changes. While you may not want to imitate them exactly, they may give you kitchen ideas that will help you create a look that reflects your personal style.

1. Contemporary – This style features clean, simple lines and a minimalist look. Cabinets and appliances are modern looking and eschew ornate embellishments.

2. Colonial (also known as Country or Early American): This style evokes a homey, lived-in feel and features quaint, old-fashioned décor.

3. Shaker – Shaker kitchens are simple and utilitarian, featuring wood cabinets and countertops and brass fixtures.

4. French Country – These kitchens have a warm feel and make use of natural materials. Furniture is often large with embellished design.

To get a better sense of what these various styles entail, pick up copies of home decorating magazines for photos and style ideas.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to emulate these and other styles. Sometimes even simple changes can have a big impact on the look of your kitchen. If your landlord will allow, consider repainting cabinets in a new color.  New cabinet hardware (drawer pulls, hooks) can transform the look of a kitchen.  Rather than redecorate your kitchen completely, you can replace just a few items or fixtures with unusual or modern-looking appliances to give your kitchen more character.

18 Responses to “Easy Kitchen Decorating”

  1. February 15, 2007 at 10:37 am, Guest said:

    I am renting an apartment and I have to decorate it so i can feel at home. But we can not paint or change anything except our furniture and stuff like that. I was looking at this site and realized that you suggest painting and things. what are you suppose to do if you aren’t allowed to?


  2. February 16, 2007 at 7:33 am, Guest said:

    FABRIC, FABRIC, FABRIC! If you lack sewing skills and reupholstering your furniture is out of the question- use a sheet of fabric and drap over furniture. Even pillows are an easy option for some style. Curtains also can add a big splash of color and no drilling or nailing neccessary with the spring rods. I have an area rug that comes out from under our couch. It’s way more comfortable than the nasty carpet in the apartment, but again also adds color and makes the floor pop! For the walls: I suggest finding that removable COMMAND line by 3M.. you hang pictures posters without damaging paint or putting holes in your wall. Goodluck


  3. February 28, 2007 at 3:24 pm, Guest said:

    You can always find beautiful pieces of fabric that you like and mix liquid starch and water and apply the fabric like wall paper to the wall. It will stay up until you move and when you do move all you will need to do is wet the fabric with water and it will peel right off. How’s that for getting color on your wall!

    For more great ideas you should go to apartmenttherapy.com and look at their suggestions and go through their archives to see the pictures from their “I’ve Got Color” contest. People have ingenious ways to decorate thier homes.


  4. March 02, 2007 at 7:32 am, Guest said:

    You may want to buy a bolt of inexpensive fabric in a color you like and upholster the wall! Use small tacks or a cable system to hang the fabric like a big curtain.
    Tack fabric to wall then use cheap wood trim you painted to match existing wall trim or a coordinating color. This works well on a windowless wall behind the bed. Then buy one of those picture frame/shelf sets to display art/items. This will also anchor the fabric.
    Check out model apartments for ideas see here:
    Hope that helps!

    From Georgia


  5. March 17, 2007 at 9:02 pm, Guest said:

    I would suggest wall coverings and things like that. Paintings, posters, pictures with frames, ect. I have lived in my apartment for a couple months and I havent done anything but I am thinking of ideas myself.

    Drapes/curtains over the windows makes a big difference as well.


  6. April 17, 2007 at 10:17 pm, Guest said:

    Contact paper, if you’re enough of a perfectionist. The cabinets in my rental have an inset panel. I covered the panel with contact paper that looks like light-colored wood (the cabinets are medium-colored wood). I only did the top cabinets, though; doing the bottom cabinets would have been overkill. Use an exacto knife and be a bit meticulous and no one will notice the difference. You can also use the contact paper that looks like brushed aluminum for a more contemporary look.


  7. June 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm, Guest said:

    Have you thought of hanging panels of fabric from the walls? One of my favorite ways of evoking “mood Lighting” is with a small busket type lamp and a colored bulb, just aim at a wall, think about the pictures or artwork you have, this can be a fun cheap way of giving a room some ambiance. you could also shadow something on the wall, just let your imagination go.


  8. August 02, 2007 at 7:43 am, Guest said:

    i live in a small aprt.. no painting.!!
    but i had nice quilts to bring color on the wall
    twin size, crib baby sized.. and it looks homey..


  9. September 12, 2007 at 7:00 am, Guest said:

    I live in a small 2 bdrm apartm,
    and i go out for fabric on the walls
    if it is just framed block in a glass frame
    or a crib quilt
    dont use the memorial quilts that mean something to u in the heart, for the steam and grease from your kitchen will ruin it.


  10. September 27, 2007 at 10:37 pm, Guest said:

    CONTACT paper has been a life savor for me:) You can put it practically on any surface and you can even paint it!

    Example: I live in an apartment in Seattle and although I can paint walls the kitchen cabinets are dark 70’s wood so I put contact paper all over them and then painted them red:) It looks amazing and it makes the extremely small space more inviting!!


  11. October 26, 2007 at 10:09 pm, Guest said:

    Look to teen magazines for ideas on decorating. Usually, teens aren’t allowed to paint their rooms, are on a tight budget, and need to make the most of their space. Therefore, decorating tips are geared towards that. PLUS, most tips are do-it-yourself and very simple. The result is actually very mature and extremely functional.


  12. February 18, 2008 at 3:05 pm, Guest said:

    use contact paper, adhesive vinyl, colored tape. You can create stripes on walls or cabinets or cover entire cabinets. You can also paint cork board and hang.


  13. July 15, 2008 at 3:52 pm, Guest said:

    I live in an apartment. I bought some large cheap frames at Ikea and found some fabric I really liked. I framed the fabric like art work and hung it on my walls. I get complimented on it all the time. It covered up a lot of the boring off white paint color and it hardly cost anything at all.


  14. August 27, 2008 at 6:15 pm, Guest said:

    I bought foam cieling tiles really cheap at Lows. Painted them different colors and use them in our office to post notes.


  15. September 22, 2008 at 3:27 pm, Guest said:

    Nice article. Even if you are living in an apartment, it is important to keep in my mind how much your kitchen effects the overall feel of your home.



  16. September 17, 2009 at 10:16 am, BRENDA said:

    We are a automotive dismantling salvage yard and have lots of old titles. We would like to know how we can make wallpaper out of these.


  17. May 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm, Denise said:

    Love the ideas your article gave, especially about the movable island for a small kitchen. What a great solution for additional counter top work area and storage.


  18. December 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm, Rita said:

    If you have cabinets above the fridge (which no one can reach) consider removing the doors and placing your most beautiful and colorful glassware, dishes, etc. You can even add a small lamp behind transparent glasses, etc. if you have an outlet


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