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How To Decorate Generic Apartment Kitchens

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I moved into this four-plex in April 2014. In just over a year, I had redone the kitchen twice. Two totally different looks.
This is how it looked before I started below. I had a problem. There were no hook-ups for a washer/dryer, and I really wanted to have that. So I had them come get my stove, that you see below, and I ordered a European-style washer/dryer in one unit. Not stacked. In one unit. I ordered it from Austin. You hook a hose up to your sink to get water.
I moved the refrigerator to where the stove once was, and slid the new washer/dryer into the refrigerator's old space, so that it would be closer to the sink.
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I took the cabinet doors off, because I wanted an open look. And I started painting everything.
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Here you see the washer/dryer in one. I had not yet painted the kitchen island white.
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Since I no longer had an oven, I had to find ways to cook food. I purchased a Breville Smart oven, which had fantastic reviews. It has a convection option, so you can cook a casserole, a cake, pretty much anything.
I already had the red microwave.
I purchased an electric skillet and crock pot. I already had a panini maker. That was truly all I needed.
I have now lived here nearly two years, and I have not missed having an oven.
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This was my first kitchen redo. I used black contact paper to cover the counters. And black and white checked contact paper on the dishwasher (that I do not use) and for the back splash.
I ordered the ICE decal off Etsy for under $15. And I painted the refrigerator as well.
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Now to Decorating Kitchen Update
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I grew weary of that look. The cabinet doors went back on because there was just too much going on. And the black contact paper was getting scratched up. The black and white checked contact paper was coming down.
So I just painted the counter tops. I didn't use KILZ the first time, so I will be doing it over again. Live and learn.
I ordered the back splash decal tiles from India on Etsy. They have stood up well. I did put several coats of decoupage over them. I think all the decals were just under $100 with shipping. And for a review, they gifted me a second set of decals so I'd have enough to finish the job.
How well they'll come off with the decoupage I don't know, if I ever decide to move. But I'd rather lose my $300 deposit than live with an ugly kitchen! And who knows, I may never move!
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Here's another angle. The chickens are also decals I received in exchange for a review from another place.
I added the wooden applique just above the doors under the sink before I painted everything again.
It's hard to see the bottles in the window or the vintage linens hanging up in lieu of a curtain due to the sunlight. (I did a post on here about what I did with the window.)
I also bought new knobs. Knobs you can get pretty inexpensively. Paint is a cheap option. And I also changed the plain beige switch plates with silver ones. These three things really make things look 100% better. And I'd say they're your cheapest options when trying to make your generic apartment look a bit more classy. (So paint, knobs and switch plates.)
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I painted the $40 butcher block island I found at an antique mall white.
My motto is that if you're going to live in a rented space, love it while you rent it. Make it yours. There are rules landlords have, and I'm sure I broke a few of them. As I mentioned, I'd rather lose my $300 deposit than be unhappy with the way things look. And have to look at it day in and day out.
But then I'm rather adventurous. At one point I painted my inside front door bright orange. I have since repainted the whole living room, dining area and kitchen bright white, so I also repainted the door and now it's back to white.
Think outside of the box. Your home should reflect your personality. There's no reason to have to live in generic surroundings when you can use your imagination to spice things up!

To see more: http://www.cozylittlehouse.com

  • Drdyson1204

    Your kitchen ideas are great. I like the first one best, perhaps adding back cabinet doors to reduce the busyness. I'm in an apartment for the first time in 40+ plus years and this site is giving so many ideas!

  • Diana Deiley
    Diana Deiley Nokomis, FL

    You are a landlord's dream tenant, someone who cares about their living space. Perfect. Love both looks. :)

  • Dorothy
    Dorothy Yakima, WA

    Diana, Thank you so much on behalf of all the renters who like to personalize their "Home" while they are there. Some of us are long term renters, so this "home" for a long while.

  • Gloria DiBenedetto
    Gloria DiBenedetto Visalia, CA

    The kitchen is so cute. It was brave of you to give up your stove. My husband bought a Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven from a late night infomercial, and I groaned, "Not another appliance I have no room for in my tiny kitchen!" i gave it a try to make

  • Dina
    Dina Middletown, NJ

    Like the second reveal better. I'm not a fan of open shelving: it's for 'show' and not fit people who cook. First reveal was good, interesting, but busy.

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