Making Our Rental Feel Like Home: The Kitchen & Dining Room

We spent a lot of time after we moved in making the house cozier for us. We love the kitchen and dining room area, but it definitely lacks in storage and the washer and dryer are in the kitchen right there. That was a compromise, for sure. At our old house it was off of the kitchen but separate enough that it worked. I wanted to make sure that it was at least as attractive as it could be. Having a place with a washer and dryer hook up was big, so dealing with it in the kitchen and not having shared laundry seemed a fine trade.

Remember the before:

We repainted, well. Truly, Brennan repainted the ENTIRE house in 4 days before I arrived from Grand Junction with the Uhaul, animals, and all of our loot. We had the hallway, kitchen, dining, living room be one color so that A) cheaper to buy paint and B) it felt more cohesive and open.

Here's some after shots from similar angles:

Sebastian likes to sit nicely for all blog photos.

We had to add this stretch of storage to give us more countertop space and shelving. Not sure why the builder just didn't take the cabinets all the way over, but. whatevers.

I found this cool coffee cup rack on for fairly cheap. It is VERY sturdy and holds a lot of mugs. It allowed us to have more storage in the cabinets for glasses.

I decided to go ahead and take the doors off of the laundry area because they wouldn't shut with the front loaders in and were such a dark, brown, heavy color. Brennan painted in here and I bought the blue storage buckets at IKEA to hide our laundry soap and products. The top brown bins we had from the first reno I did on our kitchen in Grand Junction. I bought those on some WalMart clearance forever ago, very sturdy things. I put the microwave on top of the washer to clear up more counter space and we rarely use it so it worked perfect.

In the dining room we have GREAT light from the big sliding doors that open to the yard.

We added a wreath to the fireplace (Magnolia wreath from Hobby Lobby on summer clearance), my midcentury china cabinet for character and storage, a new table, and new chairs. We bought the table on Craigslist for $50 and Brennan's mom got the chairs for us for FREE. We used our old piano bench along the wall as a bench seat to fit 6 people.

Sebastian in the pictures again, he was watching the birds outside.

I also worked to add some more fun detail areas for the house to make it feel more like home. Plus I like art a lot. I know that I talk a lot about minimalism and have a lot of decorations. I would say that I'm a general minimalist in the sense that I try to only keep things that are important to us and we love.

We did have to get pretty clever with some of our storage because the cabinets are very small and the drawers are even smaller. They can't even fit a skinny silverware holder. So I used this wire container and small mason jars to hold our silverware. It actually works out pretty well! Makes it easy to move if we're having people over also.

Here is another picture of Sebastian Harold in the kitchen. This is the mat he sits on constantly and watches (helps?) Brennan cook dinner and snacks.

We're hoping to keep figuring out how to organize and sort the space to be as efficient as possible. The space is really small and hard to work with, so any suggestions for small kitchen life, let me know!

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