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johnny0313x's avatar

How can I make my kitchen look nicer or more comfortable?

Asked by johnny0313x (1840points) October 20th, 2010

I am renting first of all so major changes are not okay to do. I moved into this apt and to be honest it’s a pretty blah apartment and I am trying to do what I can to it to make it nicer. Every other room I am content with(or atleast as much as I can be) except for the kitchen. It feels open and cold. Not to mention the UGLY 1970s stove that is stuck in there and the fridge(spacious but ugly) that doesn’t help make it much nicer. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions on how I can spruce it up a little, make it feel warmer or more comfortable. Originally I had red curtains up which you will see in the photo but it made it kind of depressing so I decided to play off the ugly color of the stove and throw in some yellows. There is a curtain on the second window that is yellow that I was just kind of testing out to see what I thought. What do you guys think, what should I do?

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32 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Will the landlord let you paint? Maybe tell him if he provides the paint you will do the work? If you could change the color of just one of the walls from the institutional white it would look much better.

Otherwise hanging mirrors, paintings and or a shadow box might be the only options.

janbb's avatar

Maybe blue and white checked gingham curtains would go with the yellow but be brighter. Also, I would put a larger colorful rug on the floor – perhaps a rag rug – and some bright posters on the walls. That should warm up the room quite a bit. The stove color is definitely a shame.

johnny0313x's avatar

I think he will let me paint at my expense as long as I paint it back white before I leave…I was considering painting it, what colors do you guys think, I wouldn’t want to go to dark only for the reason of repainting it white.

faye's avatar

I like your red curtains with your chairs. And I add my vote for pictures, posters. If you have a local thrift shop, you may find great pictures for cheap. And I add plants everywhere- on top of the fridge you could have a trailing type, maybe one over your sink. I think it’s a very cozy kitchen.

chyna's avatar

Get rid of the yellow curtain that doesn’t even reach the bottom of the window. Something filmy or light on that window. Some magnets to brighten up the fridge. Posters that you like to cheer up the room.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have spruced up my stove with a couple of burner covers and hanging an embroidered, lacy towel on the oven handle. I also covered all the plug and switch plates with my favorite contact paper.

I have covered my refrigerator with homemade magnet backed photos of my family and other items such as a calendar and note holder.

I purchased some large vinyl/flannel backed tableclothes and laid them down on the floor as new flooring. I just pick them up once in awhile and throw in the washing machine.

xxii's avatar

I would go with a nice warm colour on the wall, maybe a yellow or even a dark-ish shade of red/orange. I would also spruce up the cupboards – you could stick up pictures, and hang a painting on the wall. Plants also definitely help in making a room more homey.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree with @janbb, I love gingham with yellow. It always looks nice in a kitchen, in my opinion. Personally, I don’t see anything terrible about your kitchen. Looks alright to me. You should hang some art on the walls, add a live plant or two (or fake, if you don’t have a green thumb.) Photos, art, and greenery always make a place feel more like home.
I prefer the red curtains. Pulls it all together, in my opinion.

Kayak8's avatar

Wow, sorry @Faye I say lose the red altogether. You could do the walls in a wonderful color—the one that comes to mind (looking at a paint deck) is available at Lowe’s and is called Bird’s Nest. It is a dark sage green and is masculine while being very in. Leave the cabinets white and, with the slightly darker proposed walls, it will pop. The appliances will look fine with the color. You need more comfortable looking chairs at the table (even if you only get two). Wooden with an Arts and Crafts vibe could really spice things up. Check out this link. The end cabinet in the top picture is about the green of the bird’s nest paint color and then look right to see the wooden chairs to get a sense of what I mean.

Put down a rug to anchor the space and put your table and chairs on it. It will add visual warmth. I would add selective pieces of art work in matching black frames.

I think you could do everything I am describing for under $300.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is painting even an option? I see a lot of suggestions for painting.. which would be awesome, if you can do that.
Also, I don’t think it is very important to focus on the stove. When you have the rest of the room done and all pulled together, the stove won’t be a focal point. I’m willing to bet that most people will walk into your kitchen and not even notice the stove.

I have off-white counter tops in an all white kitchen, and absolutely no one ever notices. The rest of the kitchen is well decorated and pulls together in a theme, so the counters just sort of fade into the visual background. I bet your stove will do the same.

Cupcake's avatar

I wouldn’t want to paint (personally) so that I wouldn’t have to paint it back to white again. Besides, I think with some pictures on the wall you wouldn’t need to paint.

Can you hang shelves? You can get inexpensive shelves and use them to decorate the walls. Also, I would find some pictures and tape them to the cupboard doors to add interest. They could either all be the same (more like a cut-out shape than a picture in that case) or different… cut into shapes or square. That way you just take them down when you move out.

I like the red… but if it doesn’t feel cheery to you, try different colors until you find what feels good. Only you will know what you like walking into.

And get a bigger, brighter rug. A happy rug.

I think it’s a cute kitchen with lots of potential.

WestRiverrat's avatar

If you are going to paint, I would paint just the one wall next to the oven. I would probably go with Soft Suede or Navajo Sand that will help with the stove.

Kayak8's avatar

Perhaps you should share what styles you appreciate and enjoy . . . . a lot of women telling a guy how to do his kitchen . . . I am opposed to anything of the style that I call “Cows in the Kitchen” so if that is your look, I am not the right person to ask! This and this are what I call the “Cows in the Kitchen” motif.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I agree with @chyna about the yellow curtain. It’s a little too pale, and looks awkward since it doesn’t reach the bottom of the window. Instead, and to work with the color of the stove – go for a longer curtain which contains red and yellow and go with one that’s patterned, not solid, so it draws the eye toward it and almost serves as an art piece itself. Something patterned and with more than one color will tie everything together. Something like this would actually work really well.

If you can paint, that would help immensely. You’re going to have to be careful if you stick with the reds that you have now, though. You definitely need colors that make the stove look less awkward – so think more yellows/golds (but only in small amounts – and not for the paint), or dark and rich browns – and consider getting rid of some of the red. If you can’t do that, there are ways to work with it. The only thing is, with the color combo now, it might start looking too much like McDonald’s.

johnny0313x's avatar

@kayak8 haha thanks for pointing that out, I appreciate everyones suggestions and really I have a pretty open mind, i’d rather feel comfortable where I am living by stepping outside of my safety zone then be uncomfortable in the room. Really I am open to anything. However my style is pretty much more artsy/modern/odd….if that makes sense lol…however it’s an old apartment and an older looking kitchen. I realize modern or anything like that won’t come from this and I am content with a homey type of feel if that is the best option. I will appreciate it either way.

I think everyone has some great suggestions and this is going to help me out alot!

johnny0313x's avatar

@drasticdreamer I think you made a great point with the curtains, that yellow curtain was more so just to get an idea for color, wasn’t meant to stay there ha. Unfortunately some of the red will have to stay(like the microwave mostly) I have been debating getting rid of the red table and chairs for awhile, only have them because my last apt my living room is red and black and I used that table in the corner next to the kitchen since I didn’t have much of a kitchen before.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@johnny0313x I don’t think you have to get rid of the red to make the yellow work. I think what @DrasticDreamer was suggesting was a way to make the two colors merge in a way that it doesn’t look like they both just randomly appear in the same room. The curtain that utilizes both yellow and red is a great way to do that. A rug with a similar colour scheme would work, too.

Jeruba's avatar

I always want my kitchen done in edible colors. I favor yellow and warm and spicy. If this were my kitchen and I were stuck with those stark white walls, I would go for some yellow and orangey colors, yellow and rust perhaps, to blend in with the obligatory red, and add a warm, bright tablecloth that coordinated with the curtains.

I’d also look for a warmer source of light even if I had to bring in a small floor lamp or pole lamp with incandescent bulbs. A small wall lamp might help if you can put one up, just so there’s something to offset the coldness. A small throw rug in a warm cinnamon or nutmeg tone would help too. Maybe even chair cushions to go with the tablecloth. Unless you like that red everywhere. I think red is aggressive and would never use it as the basis for room decor.

The suggestion of plants is a good one. How about a nice pothos on top of the refrigerator? And maybe a fern in a pretty (yellow/orange/red) ceramic pot for the windowsill.

Taking the drill and the tool box off the kitchen table will also soften things up a bit.

WestRiverrat's avatar

One thing to help with counter space, see if you can get a microwave stand to put by the refridgerator.

johnny0313x's avatar

@jeruba lol the stuff on the table normally isn’t there lol…I just moved in a few days ago and things are all over the place right now while I set things up haha. I agree the lighting in the kitchen being those ceiling florescent lights really add a cold feel to the room, some other lighting would help immensely

@WestRiverrat I was thinking about something like this or just a stand of some kind to add some sort of something to the room…

Kayak8's avatar

Green is an edible color . . .

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The kitchen has some opportunity, and I like what you’ve done already with the reds. The counter side of the room looks great, and I wouldn’t mess with it. An area rug for under the table, such as this, would tie the colors together and help balance the room.

Take a look at this Grundtal wall accessories (under Think Vertical near the bottom of the page) for the wall next to the stove. A baker’s rack is another option to provide some additional decor as well. If the microwave and toaster were moved onto it, it would free up some counter space.

llewis's avatar

I agree with most of the suggestions here – work in red and yellow together with curtains, potholders (easy to crochet, if you or a friend would be so inclined), wall art, so the stove doesn’t look so out of place, and a rug would be good. Something else that always helps warm things up would be a vase of fresh flowers – I know you have to keep replacing them, but they make such a difference! Posters or pictures, maybe a cool retro clock?

Jeruba's avatar

@Kayak8, yup. One apartment I lived in was all off-white. In the kitchen I added accessories in avocado, yellow, and orange, and it looked like a salad. Yum. The refrigerator I bought was deep orange. This was in the early 1970s, when you could find appliances in all kinds of colors. Much more fun than white, off-white, ivory, eggshell, and beige.

@llewis, fresh flowers—yes!

Nullo's avatar

Warm-colored tablecloths, brightly-colored pots, pans, potholders, towels, etc.

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xxii's avatar

Sweethomestyle’s kitchens and I Want That Kitchen might help you with some ideas. I know a lot of them involve some serious redecoration, but you might be able to draw some inspiration from colour schemes, furniture or what not.

Plucky's avatar

I agree with painting the room or even just one wall. There are some nice warm yellows out there. Put some modern art up on the walls. Change the yellow curtain for sure. Some plants maybe?
Warm coloured walls and table cloths ..but brighter cookware, hand towels, dishclothes.. etc. Another important thing is lighting ..putting a small dimmer lamp in there would make it warmer and more relaxing. That fluorescent light sort of adds to the institution white feel lol. I do like the red theme but putting something warmer with it would make it look and feel better.

Nullo's avatar

Try to work some terracotta in, if you can. It is unlikely that you’ll have the resources or your landlord the inclination to install actual tiles, but maybe you could use that stuff that they use to line cabinets, with a tile print.

augustlan's avatar

I think you can definitely do the red and yellow thing. For an idea of how red, white and yellow can work, see this.

Plucky's avatar

Oh yes, the cabinet liners remind me of sticky tiles or smart tiles. There are some really neat ones. You can get them at Home Depot’s the page.
Not sure how easy they are to remove afterwards but there must be simple ways to do it :)

Patamomma's avatar

Oh, I LOVE THE COLOR OF THE STOVE but, I digress, I’m redoing my home in retro 70’s. Red and harvest gold go great together and I agree with most everyone else. Get some artwork on the walls, and go with an all color scheme. Red, Green, Blue, Gold. Maybe instead of painting the cabinets you could do some cut out vinyl in whatever scheme you wanted.

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