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.