How to modernize your kitchen

The kitchen is a tricky area to decorate. If you’re renting, you may never get those wood-trimmed cabinets back to the original shade of white, no matter how hard you try. And forget about asking your landlord to replace them. If you’ve just purchased your first house, you may have to live with that gold stove from 1982 for a year or two before you can fully achieve the modern look you’ve been coveting. But with a few simple touches, you’ll forget all about those scorch marks, stains and wood-paneled appliances.

Find a pretty calendar - First, choose a bright calendar full of pretty artwork that you’ll enjoy all throughout the year. Post it up on your refrigerator or directly over the landline jack you’ll never use. (Do you use your landline anymore? Yeah, me neither.) I’m enjoying this cute little printable calendar from Etsy seller littlebrownpen - it's only $5! Or you could always hit up the calendar sales at the mall after Christmas, but there’s little chance you’ll find one that’s not devoted to precious little baby animals snuggled within teacups.

Choose your favorite snapshots -
Select your favorite snapshots or postcards and arrange them on your fridge. I’m a fan of funny and/or arty pictures that I’ll never tire of looking at.

Customize your own magnets -
You’ll need some cool magnets that will keep those pictures in place. Check out NotMartha.org to learn how to make your own out of decorative marbles. Yes, I know this is a craft typically enjoyed by children or old ladies, but trust me on this one! Not only will they liven up your space, but they also cost virtually nothing to make. I’ve got some great argyle scrapbook paper from Target that will work wonderfully for this project. (That last sentence really makes me sound old.)

Hang a bright print - Personalize the kitchen by hanging a colorful print you enjoy. If you're a fledgling look looking for encouragement, you could go with one of the popular $20 “Keep Calm and Carry On” prints from Etsy seller cutpasteprint.

Invest in an attractive fruit bowl -
Not only will a fruit bowl look great on your countertop, but it will inspire you to eat better! Check out your local Home Goods for some decently priced options.

Display your functional items - I keep two of our ceramic pitchers out on the counter because I love how they look. Cluster a few in a corner or other free space, or just showcase one. You can use this same idea for pretty vases, mixing bowls, or other such items

Opt for a bright tea kettle - If you’re a regular tea (or hot chocolate) drinker, get your brew on with an ultra-bright tea kettle. Even if you don’t like hot drinks, it looks cool on your stove. This one's only $24.99 at Macy’s, but check Home Goods or other discount retailers for some even cheaper options.

Show off your wine collection -
You can find some great bargains on wine racks in a variety of discount stores. Fill the rack with bottles that not only contain delicious wine, but also feature pretty packaging. I highly recommend Big House Red.

Bring in a plant - I’ve had many plants in my kitchen over the past few years, none of which have lasted more than three weeks. How I wish I could care for them! If you’re lucky enough to have a green thumb, get yourself a colorful and super-cheap pot from Ikea. I’ll be over here dusting off my fake cherry blossom branch.

Ditch the dish soap bottle -
Dish soap packaging is not very attractive, so why not dress up your detergent a little bit by pouring it into a decorative olive oil bottle? This one's only $4.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond. The only catch is you’ll need to clean the goo out of the dispenser every once in a while.

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