Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to make a tiny rental kitchen work

There's a reason I haven't posted any pictures of our new house. It's because I'm not proud of anything yet. I'm allowing it to be a slow process of getting a handle of where everything should go, what makes sense, and what will work for our family. Right now the rocking chair is taking up all of the space in the boys' room, but every time we try to re-locate it to the living room, we end up with a naptime emergency. The crib that will end up in our room is being painted, and the blankets and such that will be stored under it in a convenient under-bed box are gracing the floor in a laundry basket. Until early this week, the kitchen was like this, too. We didn't have enough room for all of our pantry needs and so I had brown paper bags on the floor full of pasta and oatmeal, etc. Thankfully, we got it taken care of. Here's how.

When we moved in, we realized the kitchen had less storage than our previous one. It also had less counter space and no dishwasher. We have four little two foot wide counter-tops, on either side of the sink and on either side of the stove. My dish drainer took up an entire much needed counter-top next to the sink, the microwave took up another, my coffee pot another, and my kitchen-aid and knife block took up the last one. do I make cookies? It needed to be corrected. The other thing we noticed was that there was wall space where the countertops and cabinets could have been extended. So what's a renter to do? Craigslist and ikea, that's what. My mom told me to find a portable dishwasher on Craigslist (bless her) and Jared and I found an ikea cabinet with dimensions that would fit perfectly in the ill-used space. The dishwasher I found has a butcher block top and so now, not only can I put my dish drainer away, I have an extra counter top! 

The ikea billy bookshelf was the perfect size for this unused wall space. We went ahead and got the door so we could put pantry items in there and not look at them.

And the dishwasher! It really comes down to assessing the needs of your family, and using what's there to your advantage. A pretty dresser can be used as a kitchen hutch/coffee station if you have the wall space for it, or a breakfast nook with storage in the seats can provide more space and seating. If you're planning on staying somewhere for a while, consider installing open shelving on a wall somewhere in the kitchen.

The eating area is pretty uninspiring right now, but I thought I'd show you anyway. It has a bright pretty window, and I ordered new chairs that are coming TOMORROW!! They were my Mother's Day gift. I'm so excited because I don't think I have ever bought a new piece of furniture before. (Except for maybe a tv stand when we were first married with a Target gift card!) I can't wait to show you.

The rest of the house is slowly coming together, but rather than being stressed by the slow-ness I'm choosing to use it to my advantage. Finley's coming soon, after all, and there are baby clothes to wash and a carseat to unearth. Things don't have to be perfect right away, and let's face it-I'll change my mind once I get them perfect anyway.

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