10 easy ways to give your rental kitchen a makeover

Posted On Tue, August 30, 2016 By

Posted On Tue, August 30, 2016 By In apartment living 101, Features, Interiors

6sqft’s series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we’ve got tips on how to give your rental kitchen an inexpensive makeover.

For renters, the kitchen is often the least attractive area of their home. And this is especially true in NYC where landlords often turn to the cheapest finishes, built-ins and fixtures they can find in order to save a few dollars. But even if your apartment ultimately won’t be your forever home, there’s no reason suffer through an interior design nightmare. Ahead 6sqft highlights 10 easy and affordable ways to transform a ugly rental kitchen into a chic space—all without putting your deposit at risk.


kitchen cabinets without doorsImage by Cambria Bold

Remove upper cabinet doors ↑

Take the doors off your cabinets and put the contents on show. This simple move is an excellent way to add some personality to a space. You can also line the shelves or the back of the cabinets with patterned or colored paper to add more vibrancy, or strategically stack plates for a more curated look. Just make sure you stick to a specific color palette and that your dinnerware isn’t too eclectic, or your kitchen will just end up looking disorderly.

 

kitchen-cabinet-wallpaper-ideasImage credit Esteban Cortez via Apartment Therapy (l); Cabinets covered in removable wallpaper via Pinterest (c); Mondrian-inspired kitchen by Ande Bunbury Architects (r)

Wallpaper cabinet doors ↑

If you feel uneasy about stripping your cabinets of their doors and putting what’s inside on display, then consider decorating the doors with wallpaper. Use removable wallpaper or pinned pieces of cloth to create a color-blocking effect, or completely cover them in a funky pattern if you’re feeling really bold.

 

kitchen-before-and-after-painting-blueA Brooklyn rental kitchen before and after painting two walls

Paint one or two of the walls ↑

This is an obvious solution but still worth mentioning, as most landlords have no problem with tenants painting. Paint just one or two of your kitchen walls to create a new focal point, and use a color that complements your cabinetry. Since most kitchens have far less wall area than other rooms in the house, save money on paint by simply requesting a sample container from Home Depot or Lowe’s. These samples usually cost around $5 and hold enough paint for the average NYC kitchen.

 

vintage oriental rug in kitchenImage via Dina Holland Interiors

Add a rug ↑

Ugly tile or linoleum is all too common in rental kitchens. Add a patterned rug to hide the despair and brighten up the room. This also helps distract the eye from other unsightly areas of the room. We recommend getting rugs that can be easily vacuumed or washed given the high foot traffic kitchens can get. Oriental rugs are a truly chic and practical option that can easily hide spills and stains if they happen.

 

wood butcher's blockImage via Grothouse

Cover the countertops ↑

If you can’t stand the sight of your pink laminate counters, get permission to cover them with countertop vinyl. There are hundreds of colors and styles available, typically priced under $20 a roll. Alternatively, if you’re not interested in doing anything that requires installation, consider buying extra-large cutting boards in marble or wood and keeping them out on display. In addition to being attractive, they’re also functional.

 

mediterranean-backsplash-tile-stickersImages via HomeArtStickers (l); Houzz (r)

Decorate the backsplash ↑

If you have an unattractive tile backsplash that can’t be painted, use tile stickers to give them an updated look. Wallpops sells all sorts of peel and stick designs that are waterproof, humidity resistant, and easy to clean. HomeArtStickers on Etsy has a great selection as well.

 

Pacific-Street-Cobble-Hill-Apartment-14Image by 6sqft

Add plants, tchotchkes, or framed art ↑

Fill wall, window, and countertop voids in your kitchen with bits of decor. If you have cabinets that don’t reach to the top of the ceiling, add draping plants or use the area to store books. The latter is a surefire way to make a space look and feel more warm and personal (and you more well-read).

 

hanging shelves in kitchenImage by 6sqft

Display your cookware using a hanging rack or a peg board ↑

Take a cue from celeb chef’s like Keith McNally and turn your pots and pans into a focal point in your kitchen. Hanging racks are inexpensive and easy to install and they can be painted to match the rest of your decor if desired. Peg boards are also a clever idea that’s trending all over Pinterest and Instagram, and they’re a great way to introduce plants into the mix.

 

lawn sod drying rackThe Finell version (l); The Target version (r)

Change your dish rack ↑

This might sound silly, but if your dish rack is always on show, consider trading in that Rubbermaid for a sleek stainless steel model, or even something quirky like the above “sod” drying rack by Finell (Target also sells a less expensive, albeit much smaller, version from Boon). You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes.

 

kitchen with soft white lightImage via Chocolate and Chiles

Change the lighting ↑

The easiest and most impactful change you can make is swapping out your bulbs. While fluorescent light is easy to work under, it also makes every imperfection of your kitchen glaringly noticeable. Change these bulbs for those within the soft and bright white range; Your kitchen will look and feel a whole lot cozier, and you’ll still have enough functional light for food prep and other tasks. If you have a built-in lighting system that doesn’t allow that flexibility, use clamp lights to achieve strategic lighting.

RELATED:

Tags : ,

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • Helen Hayes’ former Nyack home asks $719K

    Helen Hayes’ former Nyack home asks $719K

    Helen Hayes‘ acting career spanned nearly 80 years, earning her the nickname “First Lady of American Theatre” and garnering her distinctions ...
  • TBD Architecture designs Tetris-like artist studios for an Upstate couple

    TBD Architecture designs Tetris-like artist studios for an Upstate couple

    TBD Architecture + Design Studio took on the challenge of designing two conjoined artist studios for a couple on the same property ...
  • Contract expires for 44,000 NYC subway and bus workers

    Contract expires for 44,000 NYC subway and bus workers

    After the Transport Workers Union and the MTA failed to reach a deal last night, the contracts expired for 44,000 subway ...
  • The pros and cons of living above a bar; own the Big Apple Circus for $500K

    The pros and cons of living above a bar; own the Big Apple Circus for $500K

    You may get special privileges when you live above a bar, but you’ll likely have to deal with noise and ...
  • In the historic West Village Bank Building, a $3.45M condo boasts a 17-foot window

    In the historic West Village Bank Building, a $3.45M condo boasts a 17-foot window

    This unique condo was designed by and for the renowned international designer Tui Pranich. As the listing says, his principle was that ...
  • ‘Ten & Taller’ exhibition maps the rise of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers from 1874 to 1900

    ‘Ten & Taller’ exhibition maps the rise of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers from 1874 to 1900

    Though it might seem that each recent generation attempts to take credit for the rise of the futuristic “skyscraper,” buildings ...
  • With the rise of ride-hailing apps, daily yellow cab trips fell 27 percent since 2010

    With the rise of ride-hailing apps, daily yellow cab trips fell 27 percent since 2010

    6sqft recently shared analysis that 3,000 ridesharing vehicles could replace the city’s fleet of 13,587 taxis. And while this was more ...
  • Cuomo dubs revised 421-a plan ‘Affordable New York,’ advances new legislation

    Cuomo dubs revised 421-a plan ‘Affordable New York,’ advances new legislation

    A year after the city’s 421-a tax exemption program expired, a new version of the affordable housing incentive is officially moving ...
  • This renovated historic townhouse in Mott Haven is only $800,000

    This renovated historic townhouse in Mott Haven is only $800,000

    File this one under things you won’t find in Brooklyn: This pretty, totally modernized 2,828 square-foot Queen Anne row house ...
  • Massive Greenpoint loft with beamed ceilings wants $4,750/month

    Massive Greenpoint loft with beamed ceilings wants $4,750/month

    There are over 1,700 glorious square feet in this Greenpoint loft, now up for rent at the Pencil Factory building ...
  • Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    Cuomo announces 750-mile Empire State Trail, a continuous trail connecting NYC to Canada Live in ODA’s new Crown Heights rental ...
  • Natalia Geci’s clever furniture system was inspired by Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering principles

    Natalia Geci’s clever furniture system was inspired by Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering principles

    Like many organizationally challenged folks, Argentinean designer Natalia Geci was inspired by Marie Kondo’s bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” Following ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.