Tuesday, August 28, 2012

home tour: rental kitchen mini-makeover

We are renting a very charming, rambling slightly older house (1960's, not 1860's like our last house).  And we are lucky that the owners updated all the bathrooms and the kitchen, too.  Kind of updated.  New appliances.  New floors.  But the cabinets?  Not so much.  The light fixtures?  No.  So the kitchen still has dark oak cabinets and very little light.  The big window provides some morning light, but even that can't reach the dark recesses of some of the counters.  Dark cabinets + bad lighting + dark flooring = DARK KITCHEN. 
This was becoming a problem, because I knew that as the summer light waned, and the short days of winter appeared, this kitchen was going to be even darker.  So I did 3 very cheap, and easy projects to make the kitchen a little bit happier. 

The first one I shared with you already.  The little hankie curtain
And you can see I also added black contact paper to the cabinets to change them up a bit.  I used this contact paper, which is cheaper than actual chalkboard paper, but still works like chalkboard paper.  It comes in a huge roll, but I have been using it up in other places, too!  You might think that making the cabinets even darker would in turn make the kitchen darker, but once you start writing little pictures and messages on them, they actually brighten up the kitchen!  And to add a bit more light, Brian pinned up a string of big bulb lights over the cabinet.  They add a lot of extra light, especially in those dark corners!  I was hoping for more of a cafe vibe, and not college dorm vibe, so hopefully that at least was achieved.  Here are some of the after pictures.  Sorry, I did not clear the counters before taking these pictures.  I, uh, wanted you to see how we REALLY live, ha!
Rowan especially loves having the chalkboards down on her level.  She wakes up and demands chalk, first thing. 
And then she gets to work! 

Overall, these little touches made me much happier to be in the kitchen.  If I could, I would replace the cabinets or paint them a bright color, but you do what you can when you rent.  I also wanted to replace all the pulls, but Brian (being oh so level-headed) said it wouldn't be a great investment since we'd only be here a couple years. 

What has been your favorite mini-makeover to your dwelling?


  1. Love that rug! Gonna have to check out that contact paper! I'm shocked that it looks like it works so well!

  2. I love positive little messages around a kitchen and you picked some sweet ones. :) I have a fuse box in my kitchen I need to hide but still have access too - so I strung up a piece of hemp between clothespins and added old black and white photos of my grandmother. It's particularly meaningful when I'm having a hard mama day because it reminds me that she did it with 12!

    1. I love the clothespin w/hemp to hang pictures. I do that too :)

  3. The contact paper is a nice touch,
    a made cuter with doodles
    and wonderful quotes.

  4. What fantastic advice for personalizing a rental kitchen-- looks so cute & clever, but none of its permanent. Love!

  5. It all came out great and I love the pictures and words that you've written on your chalk paper. Seems like everyone is enjoying it. Kitchens and baths are the hardest areas to fix without a lot of money invested. I hate my dark wood cabinets but they're well made and could be worse so I cope. If it were up to me I'd have white everything :)

  6. That's so great that Rowan gets to create while you cook (and still hang out with you). The kitchen looks great. I like the lights. We definitely need something like that in our kitchen in the evenings.

  7. I didn't know Rowan was left-handed. The kitchen looks great, and it kinda reminds me of Starbucks. I'd love a mocha right now. Fantastic work!

  8. I love the lights! It really looks so much for inviting with the personal additions of notes and the hankies but those cafe lights are really charming. I've never ever come across chalkboard contact paper before! Must add that to my list of things to check out. Is Rowan good about keeping her artwork limited to the chalkboards or does she get creative on the kitchen walls when Mama's cooking? Ruby's had her fair share of redirections (scoldings) about using crayons on the walls but really I'm just thankful she likes to color! That's what Magic Eraser's are for, right? ;)


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