Yesterday, I shared some empty photos of the flat just before we began to move most of our things in. When we moved in, the kitchen/diner was pretty sparse, with only a few units, white goods and a dining table. Hold up… a dining table?! This is a first for us as renters since our university accommodation in first year, so needless to say we were very excited about that one!
As you can see, everything was very plain. It’s a huge room filled with loads of light, but there was nowhere near enough storage. Plus, the table cloth was way too boring for us. The sad fact about our kitchen is that it has to be functional, meaning that it isn’t all glamour and styling, even though we’ve made a lot of improvements. There are lots of bits and pieces that still don’t have a place yet, and although I moved some of the clutter for these photos I did want to give a realistic idea of what we’re still working with.
Here’s the first change we made to the kitchen! As discussed in this post, we luckily picked up the white unit on the left with a ‘take me’ sign on it for free. It’s now home to most of our kitchen utensils. Not a lot has changed here, other than obviously putting our stuff there! Apologies for the mess between the cupboards, its where we keep our cat Sid’s food and the only place the blender box will fit. Boo for mess!This is my favourite area in the kitchen! To the right is our cat Sid’s ‘sitting spot’ (more on that in a future post) and in this area is a tiny bit of styling involving ceramic that, miraculously, hasn’t been broken yet! The book is Ali’s, as is the jam jar bought from a boot sale. The teapot is mine, and came from a charity shop for a couple of quid. It has ‘Tea for Two’ written on the side and I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.
I think this is my favourite part of the kitchen diner! This wooden ottoman was found for free by Ali and Gary and sat at the end of their bed last year where it fit perfectly. This year, due to the layout of their room, there just wasn’t the space for it upstairs. Instead, it found a new home in the kitchen/diner, where its used to store all of the bedding in the house that has no other storage. It also acts as a second seating area too.
The big cupcake canvas is Ali’s that she’s had for a couple of years. The three little ‘English tea’ canvas prints are from Store Twenty One and were bought in the sale. The black and gold elephant table runner came from my trip to Thailand in 2011 and was from a lovely little shop in Puket (a stop over destination on my route up to Chiang Mai). The owl cushion is Ali’s and the skull is Gary’s, pretty much their signature decor items. The two floral cushions were bought two for £7 from Store Twenty One (my addition to the cushion selection!) while the black leather cushions were found for free from a university house rental renovation.
We chose a combination of bright colour and dark tones for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I love the pops of colour from the two floral cushions. They caught my eye as soon as I saw them and I love that they continue to gab my attention whenever I’m in this room. Ali’s owl cushion has bright elements and more muted tones, which tie the bright cushions in with the black ones. We went for black items partly because we had a lot of those cushions lying around waiting to be covered, but also because Gary lives here too, and the whole house can’t be a mecca of girly cupcakes, flowers and bunting, now matter how much us girls might like it!
So this is the dining area at the moment! I hadn’t realised how much it had changed until I looked at these two photos together as the decoration has been really gradual and it’s still not done yet. Firstly, we swapped the boring white tablecloth for Ali’s colourful throw. I love how much it brightens up the space. The bunting is Ali’s too, and hung in her room at the old house. Can you see a cupcake theme going on here?
We do eventually want to change the table cloth as having a fabric cloth isn’t really practical for eating although we clean it really regularly. I’m looking for a similarly bright wipe clean option with an interesting print, so if you know of anything that you can recommend on a budget I’d love to hear from you! These bowls are teak and Ali and Gary brought three back from a boot fair the last time they went home, one for me, one for them, and one for the kitchen, how generous! I love the colour of the wood, and this bowl is so useful too. We throw everything in it, from coins to rings, to the key to the letter box. My cactus is also temporarily living on the kitchen table until I can find a light enough area in my room for it.
This amazing (and big) map is Ali’s and it’s a fantastic talking point for a dining room! Maps like these are widely available, especially for education purposes, and can often be bought cheaply. I’m so glad Ali decided to put this map in the dining room as most of the walls seem really bare, even though each one has something on them. As this map is absolutely huge, it takes up a lot of the blank space, making the area seen more cosy.This area is probably the least changed of all. There’s Gary’s bar mat up on the wall and Ali’s ‘Keep Calm and Drink Tea’ canvas that was in the kitchen in the old house. We minimised decor here as it’s the most used and practical part of the kitchen.
So what is there still to change?
Aside from the wipe clean table cloth, the only other ‘practical’ change to the kitchen will be whitening the splash-back grout above the sink and food preparation countertops.
I’d love to find a creative way of storing Sid’s food so it’s out of the way, but there’s not a lot of floor space available. Maybe something that will fit in that gap, just a bit neater?
I’d also like to find a better way of dealing with the kitchen mess in general, such as behind the bin, on top of the old-style telephone table and some of Gary’s work stuff too. But then again, we use those areas so much I may have to resign myself to the fact that they will always be general dumping grounds!
Decor wise, I’m not sure yet, as we’re pretty happy with how things are right now. Although, looking at these photos, the walls do still feel a bit empty, especially as I’m really not keen on the hue of the wall colour (something I can’t change as a renter, unfortunately!). Perhaps a few more pictures will do the trick! This week I plan to buy some more flowers though. Having flowers in the house feels like such a little luxury to me, plus the look beautiful too!
So what do you think of our kitchen/diner changes? Any suggestions on how I can store Sid’s food or of any wipe clean tablecloths? Please get in touch!