Rental Kitchen Makeover (Under $330!)

I’ve eagerly devoured a steady diet of HGTV since early high school. And if I’ve learned anything from Sarah Richardson, Jonathan Scott, or Joanna Gaines over the years, it’s that the most budget friendly way to achieve the look you’re after is to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.

Living in an expensive metropolitan area certainly puts a damper on home ownership prospects, but with a little bit of elbow grease, and a lot of creativity, renters can also make a space their own. In fact, this is even true in a room with seemingly little opportunity for personalization, such as the kitchen.

With a dishwasher, garbage disposal, natural light, and generous square footage, the kitchen in our cozy attic apartment is fabulously functional. But widespread visible clutter and slightly disjointed color scheme (a purple wall, a yellow wall, and a red door) had me dreaming of a more tidy, Nancy Myers inspired aesthetic.

The primary source of clutter was the lack of built in storage, which had been addressed by previous tenants with a mismatched array of bookcases overflowing with mugs, mixing bowls, and foodstuffs. The second ‘before’ photo does not fully illustrate the direness of the situation, as I didn’t think to take before photos until I had already put two of the white cabinets in.

With my landlord’s blessing, and roommates who are willing to humor my creative whims, I set out for a miniature home improvement project over the long weekend of Columbus Day. A fresh coat of paint and a few new accents can make a world of difference, but the best part is that the entire makeover cost less than most dining room tables.

If you think that all budget-conscious renters are stuck living in drab apartments, I’ve got a paint stained t-shirt and two happy roommates that beg to differ.

beforeafter1

After:

Rental Kitchen Makeover

beforeafter2

After:

Rental Kitchen Makeover

rental kitchen makeover

Rental Kitchen Makeover

Rental Kitchen Makeover

beforeafter3

After:

rental kitchen makeover: chalkboard door

Cost Breakdown:

  • Target Cabinets (3 @ $35 ea.) — $105
  • Target Shelves (3 @ $25 ea.) — $75
  • Brass Hardware for Cabinets ( 6 @ $5.79 ea. + shipping) — $42
  • 1 gallon of blue paint — $33
  • 1 quart of chalkboard paint — $17
  • Supplies (rollers, brushes, tray, drop cloth, spackle, primer, etc.) — $55
  • GRAND TOTAL: $327

Sources:

– Kelly

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Winter Exercise on a Budget + Tips for Morning Workouts

I have never really been one to look forward to exercise. I’ve never been good at competitive sports, and sweating just isn’t my thing. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of exercise. By my senior year of college, I was a regular at group fitness classes (dubbed “Texercise”), I went on semi-regular jogs, and I even took a cardiovascular and weight training PE class for credit.

Flash forward one year later…

Boston weather

Not exactly fitness inducing weather. While I have been able to go for some scenic jogs around my new city, and even participate in a 5K, winter in Boston isn’t calling me outdoors. So what’s a girl to do? The group fitness classes that I grew to love (okay, like) in Austin are an option, albeit, a pricey one. And on top of working 4 days a week and taking graduate courses, I don’t have the luxury to pick from a variety of classes like I did in college. My only workout options are before work, after work (only on non class days), and weekends.

Enter these guys…

Winter Exercise on a budget

I decided to give work out DVDs a try before work. The workouts I choose last between 35-45 minutes. It’s enough time to work up a sweat  and lift my mood, without wearing me out so much that I am tired throughout the day. The purpose is to energize me at work and to start my morning in a healthy frame of mind. The yoga DVD (Jillian Michaels, 2nd from top) is great for small spaces (see below), and doesn’t require any additional weights. The top DVD has a kickboxing segment that I really enjoy, even though it is a bit of a tight squeeze in my small room. I like workout DVDs because they are an inexpensive way to get guided fitness training, without the hassle of transportation to and from classes, or having to work around a busy schedule.

Winter Exercise on a budget

This is my setup. I usually work out barefoot, as a small gesture of kindness towards whoever lives below me.  Morning exercise is new to me, so here are my tips to make it work:

  1. Go to bed on time. If I am ever tempted to turn off the alarm and go back to sleep, it is not because I am bored by my workout, it is because I am tired. Aim for 7-8 hours each night for optimal performance.
  2. Don’t make it optional. Decide that you are going to workout, and then follow through. Don’t leave it up to the condition of whether or not you will feel like it. Don’t give yourself a choice to stay in bed. Turning on my bedside lamp when my alarm goes off is a signal to myself to get moving.
  3. Prepare the night before. Before you go to bed, clear out your workout space and set out your DVD and a water bottle. It also helps to sleep in your workout clothes. I sleep in a sports bra, T shirt, and Nike shorts each night, so that I am ready to get moving in the morning.

How to exercise in the winter, on a budget AND tips for morning workouts

Also, just in case you were wondering, I eat breakfast AFTER my workout because 1) multiple studies (here and here) have shown that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat, and 2) I’m not doing anything that requires an intense amount of fuel or endurance. I will say that this approach is not for everyone, particularly not endurance athletes. For more on sports nutrition, I highly recommend Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

What are your secrets to a successful fitness routine? Are you a morning warrior, or do you prefer a different time of day? Also, if you know of any good YouTube workout routines, or other fitness DVDs suitable for small spaces, do tell!

-Kelly