When you've been living with the same kitchen for years and you don't have the budget to change it — or are a renter and can't do much, anyway — it's easy to feel bored and uninspired by the space. And winter is the time we start to fixate on the kitchen (you know, because we're spending more time indoors looking at the things that drive us nuts!).
While you might not be able to make a big change, there are a few little things you can do that will energize the space and make you love it a little more.
1. Bake something.
Even if it's just a half-batch of cookies, spending time in the kitchen cooking a treat that smells and tastes amazing might be enough to remember what makes this space everyone's favorite room to gather. Even better: Invite a friend over and share a cup of coffee or glass of wine while you do it, so you can reconnect and share a treat at the same time.
Some Treats to Try
2. Or boil something.
If your kitchen's just feeling a little stale, try filling the air with a cozy and energizing scent by simmering your favorite ingredients — like citrus slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks — on the stove. As the steam fills the room, you'll get the aromatherapeutic effect of the lovely scents, plus a little moisture in the air to offset the winter dryness.
3. Reorganize a cabinet.
Is there some cupboard or drawer that just drives you crazy? Water bottles topping onto your head, gadgets buried under other gadgets, the "good" dish towels hidden behind the frayed old stained ones that don't even absorb anymore? Today's the day to tackle that space! Stick to the one zone, put on some energizing music, and get going. Be ruthless! Fix that problem and every day in the kitchen will be just a bit better.
More on Organizing Cabinets
4. Trade out the hardware.
This is a designer favorite kitchen update that's rental-friendly and not all that expensive (although you can easily spend a gazillion dollars, if that's your jam). All it takes to make boring cabinets feel cool is to trade out those basic knobs for new hardware in a trendy metallic, cool geometric shape, or quirky color. Just save all the old hardware if you think you might move out or change your mind.
5. Add a pattern.
Linens and temporary wallpaper are two quick ways to bring an energizing and trendy pattern into your home without committing to tile or the work or permanence of real wallpaper. So hit your favorite home store and see what speaks to you, then swap in a new dish towel or kitchen rug. Or line the shelves, drawer bottoms, or backsplash with funky paper. I especially love Chasing Paper's prints; they're fabric based, so they're sturdier for the kitchen than other adhesive paper.
6. Upgrade your lighting.
Old, fussy lighting — or not enough of it in a space — can make a kitchen feel drab. So consider adding adhesive lighting or LED strips underneath your cabinets to add an extra layer of illumination, or trade out your boring pendants for cool new ones. The ones at IKEA are modern and dirt-cheap, and you can also get big bang from your buck from stores like West Elm or World Market. For what it's worth, we love a table lamp in the kitchen too!
More on Kitchen Lighting
7. Embrace the chaos.
So your fridge is (still) covered in holiday cards, there are food splatters on the floor, and your freezer is jam-packed with who knows what. Instead of resenting the mess, take a moment to look at it with gratitude: Your refrigerator is full, your friends are filling the kitchen with their love, and all those spills are remnants of great meals shared with family. That messy kitchen means life is good.
Get inspired: 8 Kitchens That Make Clutter Look Good
What are you doing to love your kitchen a little more than usual?