Keeping it Real Kitchen


After seven months in our new home I have shared almost every room in our house here on the blog. The one room I have not shared is the kitchen. Yes you have seen the dining area but not the actual kitchen. Why the big secret? Well, the main reason is the fact that I don’t love the kitchen and since we are in a rental house there is not a whole lot I can do about it. Today, in the interest of keeping it real, I’ve decided to finally share the kitchen with you. Maybe you have some ideas for making it more lovable.

Okay by paragraph two I’m sure you are thinking I have a completely hideous kitchen so let’s get to the photos because that is not exactly the case.


This is our kitchen today, a decent size but a 198o’s original. White painted cabinets, white Formica counter tops, really bad lighting, and one GIANT black refrigerator. Visually it is not terrible but functionally its a total pain.

Did I mention how much I hate the lighting? Let me say it again, I HATE THE LIGHTING! It being ugly is second only to the fact that it is completely impractical for a kitchen. The light fixture is several tiny spotlight that are always behind you and casts a dark shadow onto everything on the counter and since we have no under cabinet lights it makes me totally crazy. If I run across anything I think might work better and provide enough light, this baby is going into the attic until we leave. (Sadly this is this is the only part of the kitchen that has been updated, wonder what was there before?)


This was what the kitchen looked like when we moved in. The one big change I could make, I made immediately. New paint!


Without the dark green paint the kitchen is lighter and brighter but I can still think of a million things I could do to improve it, if it were my own.

For instance, the white Formica is a pain to live with and has to be bleached regularly to get off stains left by everyday kitchen items like juice or coffee.

Another big complaint is that there is no pantry and to add to the the problem none of the cabinets have adjustable shelving so cereal boxes and tall bottles or appliances don’t fit in any cabinet other than the one over the range which is half filled by the exhaust vent.


I’ve done my best to add some personal touches with accessories but a real back splash that could be wiped clean would be even better!


I really shouldn’t complain because I know it could be so much worse. There could be builder grade oak cabinets or a mauve counter top to deal with but the designer in me would love to rearrange the layout, add under-counter lighting a new counter and a back-splash, or even paint the cabinets something different.


But for now I live and learn. One day I will get my forever home and every not so perfect home I’ve lived in will have been a learning experience. I’ve learned what are must have’s (a pantry) and what is not that important to me (a pool) so that one day when I must pick for good I know exactly what I want.


Ahhh, let us close with a beautiful view of the giant black refrigerator right in the middle of the room. Did I mention that it blocks the way between the kitchen and the dining area when you open the door? My personal favorite!


So there you have it, my not so blog worthy, real life kitchen. What temporary fixed would you make to improve it?


  1. You could try removable wallpaper as a backsplash, though I have no personal experience with it. But I seriously considered it for my last apartment. But we moved out before I made up my mind and my current kitchen already has white subway tiles for the backsplash, which works for me. Good luck!

  2. Before I moved into my current place, they “renovated” it. This turned out to mean that they just painted all walls white (without bothering to replace torn wallpaper or patching holes etc.) and they put down cheap vinyl flooring EVERYWHERE. Weirdly, the also put the vinyl on my kitchen backsplash, probably to hide the authentic 60s tiles there. They clearly used leftovers from the floor in my hallway as the kitchen backsplash, which continues to mystify me. BUT it is at least coherent, and most of all it is supereasy to keep clean. So maybe get some not cheap-looking, not too floory-looking vinyl and go for it!
    (Clearly my landlord was way ahead of his time, as using flooring as backsplash seems to becoming a thing – the Bowers did a laminate backsplash:

  3. Rita says:

    Yes definitely change the refrigerator. White appliance paint.

  4. Sojourner says:

    I wonder if you could use something like window film on the fridge. It just goes on with water and peels right
    off. It’s translucent, but would lighten the black quite a bit. My friend used magnets to put up a beautiful
    shawl on her refrigerator door and it looks great (and is washable). Maybe you could do that with thin panels
    of plastic that you painted or printed onto. Decals are a possibility too.

    For the backsplash, how about having a piece of 1/4″ or 1/2″ glass cut, with predrilled holes to attach it? Then use screws with ornamental heads to attach it to the wall.
    The holes could be patched when you move and remove the screws, just like nail holes for pictures.
    Glass comes in white and black, but I would use a thick piece of clear, and either paint the back the color
    of my choice, or attach a beautiful piece of wallpaper to the back. A thin bead of clear caulk would seal
    it, and the glass place can file the edges so they are not sharp.

    You could also take a firm backing like thin lucite, and adhere copper or brass foil to it, and cover with a
    sealer. Then tack that on to the wall with a temporary adhesive and caulk.

    Enjoy brainstorming!

    • Great ideas! I never thought of glass for the backsplash. This would work great, especially behind the sink where I get a lot of water splashing, I could even back it with some kind of decorative paper.

  5. I think you’ve done a great job by adding colorful details to your space! My kitchen is absolutely NOT blog worthy either, but I’ve really come to hate it less with just a few fun personal details. I love the idea of covering the fridge with contact paper/removable wall paper as well! I think limitations (like not being able to renovate) can spark some of the best and most fun ideas – can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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