Living in a Rented Kitchen

by Brittany


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We all have an ideal kitchen in our heads that we spend hours dreaming about and pinning like crazy. Maybe that's just me but I've got the kitchen bug bad... I mean my kitchen board on pinterest has hundreds of pins and I add to it daily. Not only that but the title, to build a kitchen, is the honest realization that I am never going to find that perfect kitchen. I will have to build it. And I am fully prepared to do so. You are a bit busy planning a wedding (!!!) but part of that is registering for said kitchen and getting those basics that you will eventually build your ideal kitchen around. Coming soon one of my blogger friends from Chicago will be doing a guest post on a few things she recommends registering for (she has wonderful taste!). And I can guarantee in about three months time that kitchen will never be far from the front of your mind. Since I've been married I've had two kitchens, both of which you have seen but I've made a few improvements on my current one, as you can see! Both of them have been rented kitchens and I've figured out a few hacks to make a rented kitchen my own.

1. Avoid any listing that says "newly renovated" because that means it has lots of bulky orangey fake wood cabinets, stainless steel giant appliances and granite counters. Also it means the landlord has invested a lot of money into it and will flatly refuse to let you make any improvements no matter how good an idea he thinks they are (but lets be honest, if he did all that I doubt we would ever be on the same page) because it would be throwing away all that money he spent. 

2. Closely related to number one but ask the landlord up front if you can paint and if he says no just rent a white kitchen. Ours is an off white and it drives me batty cause it looks dirty all the time, but its not as bad as beige or yellow so I'm ok with it! If he says yes, well, then you can really have some fun! I love a good black accent wall and white every where else. Adds so much depth and perspective and light bounces between the black and white (decide which wall carefully based on window light).

3. Hang and display as many of your dishes as you can. These are what you really get to personalize with so go crazy! If you have blank walls put up shelves. If you have cupboards ask if you can take the doors off and store them somewhere. (When we moved into our current kitchen the cupboards were made of two different materials. The original ones were a nice white and the newer ones were that awful fake pine and stuck out like a sore thumb. We have nowhere to store the doors and so the landlord said we could paint them white. Its better than nothing).

4. Displaying things makes your life easier too. Notice we have the kettle and the colander hanging right over the sink... figure out the flow of your kitchen. This will take a bit of time but it's worth the wait. With this arrangement we can make coffee in no time! And you always need the colander in the sink so why do we always tend to keep colanders deep in a cupboard at the bottom of a stack of pots??? Which brings me to my next point.

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5. Don't waste anyones time with ugly stuff. Just get the beautiful metal dustpan that no one seems to carry. And get the wooden handled broom. The metal dustpan works so much better than a plastic one and the broom is simply a classic. Same goes with the colander. I looked for a beautiful colander for over a year and it was worth the wait. The reason most people bury their's in a grave of pots is because most colanders are eyesores! I think I've mentioned our Soma water filter before but I can't tell you how much I love it. It is so sleek and beautiful and works wonderfully. Living in a studio it is essential that things are both beautiful and functional and it fits the bill perfectly. Jesse hates cold water and I hate water filters (they are so ugly) so I couldn't bear to have one on my counter. Just one way marriage makes our lives better.

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6. Display your produce and herbs. Hang them to dry! Use them as bouquets! Pile fruit to ripen on your sills. Turn all your glasses into vases! Turn your kitchen into a garden. Plant your bulbous produce and multiply it!

7. This maybe a fad but if it is it's a brilliant one... I love all the art in kitchens right now! Whether it's your own work, a friend's or even a thrifted portrait of an unknown stranger! Here are a few gems from my afore mentioned kitchen board: I love this giant landscape, maybe a photo from your honeymoon or other travels. Other unexpected things that really pull a kitchen together are lamps, a radio and here (NPR), a record player (music make dishes basically clean themselves).

8. Marry an ingenious man. Seriously.... absolutely key to having a beautiful kitchen. I was very sad about the counter tops here and was just aching to have the wooden counters of my dreams and Jesse surprised me with this clever wooden cover for the bigger counter space. He found it in an alley (don't worry he cleaned it) and added a few pieces so it fit all snug like and I love it! We are still plotting for how to get wood floors in there... we had high hopes when the radiator started leaking but the damage was unfortunately not extensive enough.   

And now I really have to go because my personal ingenious man is making me dinner! (Also a good feature in a rented kitchen, a husband who can cook).

Have I missed anything? Please share your secrets for a rented kitchen!