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A Kitchen for Entertaining

A group of adult friends smile and toast one another in a kitchen.

No matter which of the Manhattan apartments for rent you call home, there’s little doubt that your kitchen and dining area are two of the most important rooms you have when it comes to entertaining guests. The kitchen sends a big message about who you are, and believe it or not, enhancing its look can help you make a much better impression on potential guests. Here’s the rub: how do you take your kitchen’s look to the next level when you’re living in a rental? It’s not like you can do a complete overhaul, but luckily, there are a few simple (and cost-effective) ways you can upgrade the space with minimal effort.

The Quick Fix for Countertops

Even if you’re starting out with countertops that are good-looking, there’s always a chance that you’re not a fan of that plain, minimalist look. And beyond just looking boring, having barren countertops may signal to your guests that you don’t spend much time around the kitchen (and so, are incompetent in this domain). The remedy? A new countertop setup that shows off your favored kitchen tools.

First, add some of your essentials — the cutting board, a spice rack, a fruit bowl, and maybe that KitchenAid mixer too, if you’re into baking? Next up, one of the most important pieces every kitchen countertop should have — a quality dishrack. We’re not talking about a cut-rate Ikea dishrack either; it’s time to go heavy-duty, with something sleek and metallic that will last you for years to come.

After you’ve got all your favorite tools of the trade out in plain view, enhance the countertops further with a few well-placed decorations. You might consider some flowers or creative ceramics that really speak to your vision of a kitchen done right.

One important point here, though — try not to let the countertops get too cluttered or disorganized. Make sure there’s order to your countertop display, as nothing turns off a guest faster than messy kitchen space that signals you don’t know how to pick up after yourself.

Go Wild With Wonderful Art

While we’re on the topic of adding decorations, why not throw some nice art up on the walls to keep them from looking so ho-hum? This is a chance for you to let even more of your personality show, as there’s really no limit to what you could potentially hang up on your walls. Want to show off your love for nature? A few landscapes or still-life painting of your favorite flora will surely do the trick. Thinking of using your kitchen walls to let your “inner nerd” roam free? Throw that Star Wars wall art up there with reckless abandon, and really put a touch of character in your cook space.

You’re not just limited to art that you hang on the walls, mind you. With enough space you can add a few creative kitchen sculptures to the mix, giving the room an inviting “3D” element. Whatever you decide to do here, make sure you go bold. By staying reserved, you run the risk of having your kitchen look flat, but with some audacious art choices, you’ll prove your kitchen is more than just another room in your home.

Add a Rug

Much like with the barren countertop dilemma we touched upon earlier, your kitchen floors could benefit from a few extra elements. Namely, a soft and inviting rug that will be the envy of all your guests from this day forward. Floor rugs in the kitchen can add a much-needed pop of color to the space (and can double as a great conversation starter about contemporary kitchen design).

One thing to watch for, however: kitchen rugs can get dirty (doubly so if you have pets). The solution? Make sure you get a rug that, beyond being pretty, is also durable. Lightweight and machine-washable are the terms to remember here, and you should be looking for microfiber (or something similar) that will take a licking and keep on ticking — metaphorically speaking.

Add Some Kitchen Furniture

Wouldn’t it be great if guests could congregate in your kitchen without having to stand up? Add the right kitchen furniture, and that dream will soon be a reality. A few comfy kitchen stools make for a good start, and if you’ve got a bar or kitchen island setup, you’ve already got the perfect place to put them. Stools aren’t the only addition you can go for, however. If you’re feeling extra creative, you might find a way to incorporate some bench seating or something even fancier for guests to rest on.

Dress Up Your Windows

Windows aren’t just for looking through; when you have guests over, they’re also made to look at! Change those plain windows to something extraordinary by investing in new blinds and curtains, and consider some plants or other decorative elements to place there so you can add a bit of visual interest to what might otherwise be a forgettable element of your kitchen setup. It’s a small change, true, but can have a big impact when it comes to impressing any potential guests.

Upgrade Your Lighting

When it comes to setting the mood, lighting is everything, and your kitchen is no exception. Get inventive with your lighting choices, and you can completely change the atmosphere here. The best part is that you don’t even have to mess with your existing lights to do so — just head out and find some new accent or task lighting for the kitchen that will complement its look, and you’re all set.

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