There is no better time than the beginning of the year to make those changes that you’ve been wanting to make for a while. Making a New Year’s Resolution is a tradition for a reason, after all, and there’s no reason why you can’t apply this mindset to your kitchen space. The kitchen is one of – if not the most – important room in the house, so why not spruce it up when you have the chance, especially if you’re looking at houses, condos, or new loft apartments to rent?

Trying to figure out what to do? Here are six things you need to do really take your kitchen to the next level:

1.) Get a set of good knives.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen when you go to cook is when you find your knives are dull. Some of us may have knives that we inherited from our grandparents, or maybe they’re ones we’ve had from college that we just haven’t felt like replacing.

Let me tell you: it’s time. If you were looking for a sign, this is it.

Every good kitchen needs a good chef’s knife, paring knife, and some kind of serrated knife, plus a sturdy cutting board to use them with. If you’ve got those, then you’re set to go. A good set of knives can make all the difference. If you’re looking to get even more adventurous, invest in a pair of kitchen shears and a knife sharpener too to really get the most bang for your buck. 


2.) Create a labeling system. 

If food waste is something that you really struggle with, then creating a labeling system for your kitchen is something that could really benefit you. It can be useful to have a labeling system in order to keep track of when you cooked meals, when certain items go bad, etc. 

A labeling system can be something as “fancy” as a nice label maker and clear containers like you may have seen in those restocking videos on social media, but it doesn’t have to be like that. For something easier, try using some washi tape and a permanent marker. Moving into a new place is the best time to implement these changes, so if you’re looking at loft apartments for rent, or even just looking to improve on your organizational skills at home, try creating a labeling system.


3.) Add some bright pops of color.

If you find yourself not spending as much time in the kitchen as you’d like, maybe it’s time for a little bit of a facelift! Adding some bright spots of color to your kitchen can make it feel warmer, happier, and more inviting. If you have the option, paint an accent wall, or find a loud pattern of wallpaper to line your cabinets.

Worried about adding color in an apartment in a renter friendly way? No need to fret! Bright pops of color don’t necessarily have to come from paint. Finding some appliances, plates, or cooking utensils in fun and funky colors can add a bit of spice to your bland kitchen decor. They even make removable wallpaper for renters if that’s the direction you’d like to take. Take a look around! You might find something that you like that you’d never considered before.


4.) Get anything you’re missing.

This one probably sounds like a no-brainer, right? Why wouldn’t you get the things that you’re missing in your kitchen? 

As you’re spending more time in your kitchen cooking, think about what you wish you had or what you need to replace. Is your vegetable peeler rusty and a little wonky to hold? Would having a salad spinner help you be more diligent about eating healthier and keeping your greens fresh? Then get them!

After all, a modern kitchen is no good if you don’t cook in it or if your items don’t help you make your life easier. Make it somewhere you enjoy being, where you like spending time – not something that stresses you out. There’s no better time to go hunting for things you need to replace than when you’re looking at new loft apartments for rent, or hunting for a new roommate, or maybe just doing some New Year’s Resolution kitchen cleaning. Take inventory. You might be surprised at what you find.


5.) Try some smart appliances

To answer the question that I know is burning on your tongue: yes, smart appliances do exist. All kinds of kitchen appliances now can be upgraded to the “smart” version like stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, coffee makers, and even toasters now have a smart version. 

Still not sold? Imagine this scenario: you’re in bed, trying to will yourself out from under your warm comforter to face a new day. So, to motivate yourself, you go to an app on your phone to have your coffee start making itself, and maybe start toasting some bread to the perfect doneness in your smart toaster, right from the comfort of your bed.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

A woman using an app to control her toaster

6.) Upgrade to waste-free storage options.

The push to be more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious in all aspects of your life continues into the kitchen. If you’re wanting to really stay on top of (beneficial) trends, then reducing your one-time use storage options can really be a great start. 

If you’re a chronic plastic bag user, try swapping those out for reusable silicone bags. They’re durable, easy to clean, and even have a bit more flair than your regular plastic zipper bag. If aluminum foil is more your speed, try wrapping your leftovers instead with some beeswax wrappers. They’re also very durable and can be made with fun and colorful fabric, allowing yourself more self-expression in your storage options.

If purchasing entirely new storage containers or utensils isn’t feasible for your budget, then no sweat! Save your glass spaghetti sauce jars instead. Glass-lock containers like those can make for great and stylish food containers, and you didn’t even need to pay anything extra for them!