Table of Contents
When I’m cooking, I like to have immaculate vibes. Tasty food? Glass of vino? Tunes on? Yes, yes, and yes. You know what else helps makes the kitchen have the best vibes? Cute decor. But when you’re living in an apartment, it can be tricky to find the right decorating ideas that fit the space and lift the space too.
I’ve lived in my fair share of drab rentals and can confirm that in the past I’ve taken one look at my gross/boring kitchen and U-turned to order takeout. I’ve since learned that the best way to make a kitchen appealing is to turn it into a cozy cooking haven.
In need of some inspo for your own? I’ve rounded up a range of beautiful apartment kitchen ideas, that will help you make the most of the space while curating a gorgeous aesthetic. Plus, they’re all renter-friendly — we gotta keep on the landlord’s good side, bestie.
Scroll on down for ideas that will make you want to cook up a storm…
10 apartment kitchen decorating ideas for your cutest cooking sesh yet
If you’re in need of some hot kitchen ideas, I’ve scoured through Instagram and TikTok and curated my fave ones. I’ve also shopped some buys inspired by the looks, just in case you want to get decorating ASAP.
The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.
1. Hang up wall art
Want to showcase your food taste in your kitchen without having packets strewn everywhere? I love how @at_the_mcgillens has brought her fave snack to the forefront in her wall decor, as well as fun foodie-related signage and pretty decorative flowers. If you’re renting, use command strips to hang frames up on your wall, as they don’t require any drilling and won’t leave any damage either.
2. Make it shine with LED lighting strips
I’ll be real: I never used to be a fan of lighting strips. They were the only thing my ex knew how to decorate with, so they massively gave me the ick. I’ve completely changed my mind now though, and use them to add neon color in my rental, such as behind the TV. In the kitchen, they can be used to highlight key areas like @letsgotopoppys has done with her electric kettle and tea-making area. And when it’s midnight and you need a snack, they’ll make finding them 10x easier too.
3. Don’t clutter up the sides
Having a small kitchen can mean clutter can build up real fast. Instead of letting things get messy, make a rule to keep objects pushed back to the edge of the sideboard against the wall. Then, edit this down into essential items (such as coffee makers and utensil holders), putting the rest away in the cupboards. This will make the space look so much cleaner, and make it easier to use too.
4. Go for floating shelving
One of my top tips when decorating in a small space, such as an apartment, is to make the most out of vertical space. When you’ve not got a lot of square footage, using floating shelves is a great way to add extra storage. Renting and aren’t sure if you can add shelves? Re-read your lease agreement or ask your homeowner before going ahead (there’s an art to negotiating rental renovations with landlords, BTW).
5. Stick on faux tiles
As the vid points out, fake tiles are an inexpensive way to completely switch up the look of your kitchen. They can work as a splashback by the sink, or just as extra decoration by the sideboards. When choosing the area you’ll be sticking on, make sure it isn’t too near the oven, as you don’t want a potential melting sitch. Oh, and renters? Just check that the tiles you choose can be easily peeled off and that they won’t ruin your paintwork.
6. Make your fan fabulous
TBH, the only time I pay attention to my extractor fan is when I’m cooking and a load of smoke magically appears. So, I’ve never thought to use it as part of the decor — until now! Tamzin has stuck a funky sticker onto hers, drawing attention to the stove which is obvi the most important part of the kitchen. For renters, I def advise looking for stickers that can be easily peeled off, so you can remove them once you leave.
7. Use a kitchen cart or storage trolley
There are lots of useful ideas in this TT, but the one that I’m really loving is the idea of using a kitchen cart to create extra storage space. I have both a kitchen cart and a storage trolley in my tiny kitchen, in which I store larger items that won’t fit neatly in the cupboard, as well as fruit and veg (trust me, you don’t want to know what happens when potatoes go moldy in a cupboard).
8. Add a dining area
Okay, there’s nothing wrong with eating on the couch. But if you have an apartment without any space for a dining area, why not create one in the kitchen? You could opt for a traditional dining set, with matching tables and chairs, or mix things up by going for a plain table and eye-catching tableware and decor chairs. Not only will this add interest to the space, but it will also serve as a chef’s table — perfect if you have guests over for dinner.
9. Try out space-saving organizers
Rather than cramming everything into your cupboards and constantly having to play Tetris, go for kitchen organizers that can add more shelving space and that can keep everything contained neatly. Kitchen cupboard shelves, under-sink storage holders, and utensil holders are all fab options for this. BTW, the JosephJoseph utensil holder in the vid is a fave here at Real Homes — our head ecommerce editor Annie Collyer absolutely loves hers.
Joseph Joseph DrawerStore Compact Organizer
YouCopia Expandable Cookware Rack
Madesmart 2-Tier Organizer with Storage Baskets
10. Don’t forget about the sink
Just because you scrub up in it, doesn’t mean that it can’t scrub up well. Opt for a colorful bowl to liven up boring metallic sinks, as well as decor on the draining board that’s easy to move. Cleaning supplies don’t have to be boring either — go for cute patterned cloths, just like @letsgotopoppys, or even bold colorful ones. I’m also so into the hanging kitchen roll in this pic, which is a smart AF way to make it accessible.
Up next: 15 kitchen essentials for your first apartment