When I decided to move back to Arlington from Dupont Circle in 2020, the top three things I took into consideration when looking at apartments were—location, access to private outdoor space (e.g. a balcony), and the design of the kitchen. So many apartments on the rental market offer kitchens that just aren’t my style—they usually feature natural wood cabinets with dark countertops or are super modern and industrial. My last two kitchens, seen here and here, fell into the former category.
While I am all about making a rental feel like your home, refinishing cabinetry or replacing countertops isn’t really in the realm of possibility. I love all the white, bright, and airy kitchens I see in homes on Instagram, so when I was searching for apartments, I paid special attention to the kitchen design. Luckily, I was able to find an apartment that delivered on my vision—and, as the cherry on top, it even offered space for counter stools.
Of all the apartment kitchens I’ve had, this one is by far my favorite. In addition to being much more aesthetically my taste, with white countertops and cabinetry and stainless steel appliances, it is also extremely functional. There’s a ton of counter space for cooking and it’s open to the rest of my apartment, which makes it great for entertaining. (In my Dupont Studio, the counters were half-width; when I moved in and was reminded how deep normal countertops are, I couldn’t believe how little counter space I lived with for two+ years!) I wish I had a few more drawers and cabinets—but I think that’s just the name of the game when it comes to apartment living.
When I am cooking, I mostly cook on the countertop next to my sink in front of my Serena & Lily Rivera Counter Stools since it’s the largest space and I can easily watch TV or talk to guests while I am cooking from that spot. As such, I usually keep that counter clear of any decor—but of course, I had to stage it up with some of my favorites for spring entertaining—Rattan Placemats, Blush Dinner Plates, Rattan Napkin Holders, Blue + White Napkins, Blush Double Highball Glasses, and Gold Flatware.
The rest of my counters do stay decorated as you see here on a daily basis—y’all must remember I don’t cook that much ;). On the countertop next to my fridge, I love bringing in pops of color through a small collection of cookbooks and matchbooks from my travels, which feel highly fitting given I pick them up at restaurants. (I also have a beautiful print of some of my favorite DC matchbooks from My Father’s Daughter Designs framed on the opposite wall!) On the more practical front, I use this Chunky Seagrass Woven Basket as a catch-all for keys, masks, sunglasses, chapstick, receipts—anything you want to have easily accessible, but don’t want to clutter up your space.
On the right side of my stove, I have a spoon saver I picked up on the trip I took to San Antonio with my mom several years back and a Cuisinart Knife Set. Admittedly, I bought them because they fit my kitchen aesthetic and were a very reasonable price at under $100—they’ve held up great and have a lifetime warranty. So if you’re like me and don’t cook a ton, but in the market for a functional knife set, I would definitely recommend.
On the left side of my stove, I have a Marble Utensil Holder—most of my utensils are in drawers, but I keep a few out for ~aesthetics! That is flanked by a gorgeous Orange Tree Botanical Print I found online last year—oranges are one of my favorite fruit and I just fell in love with the look of this piece. Next to that is a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé that I am saving for a special location, a glass jar from Home Goods filled with corks, and a Pineapple Cookie Jar.
I wrote a full recap of my Serena & Lily Rivera Counter Stools in this post—but I can say after almost two years of owning them, they are definitely one of my best buys of all time. They are extremely comfortable—everyone who comes over is always so shocked by this since they definitely look like they prioritize form over function! They also are extremely sturdy and don’t rock around while you’re sitting in them, and they wipe off so easily. Though they are definitely more of an investment, it’s one I’d do again in a heartbeat.
SHOP MY KITCHEN
- Serena & Lily Rivera Counter Stools
- Rattan Placemats
- Blush Dinner Plates
- Rattan Napkin Holders
- Blue + White Napkins
- Blush Double Highball Glasses
- Gold Flatware is old West Elm — similar here
- DC Matchbook Print
- Chunky Seagrass Woven Basket
- Cuisinart Knife Set
- Spoon Saver is from San Antonio
- Marble Utensil Holder is old Target — similar here
- Navy Wired Whisks
- Wooden Spoon
- Orange Tree Botanical Print
- Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé
- Glass Jars are Home Goods — similar here
- Pineapple Cookie Jar is old World Market — similar here
- Let’s Get Fizzical & Pink Towel with Red Flowers are both old Target
- Flamingoes are original art by Inslee — frames here