4 Inexpensive Ways to Spruce Up the Kitchen in Your Rental

Outdated or drab kitchen space can make it hard to be enthusiastic about cooking meals. Unfortunately, if you’re moving into a new rental home or apartment, you don’t typically have many options to make significant changes. The good news is there are a few inexpensive ways you can quickly spruce up your new-to-you kitchen without violating your lease or spending a lot of money. Of course, check with your landlord first before tackling these projects. 

1. Paint Kitchen Walls

It’s amazing how a simple coat (or two!) of paint can completely transform a room. Covering up a bland white or outdated color with a layer of fresh paint can do wonders to improve the mood and feel of a kitchen. Most landlords or property managers are okay if you choose a color that is easy to paint over once you leave, especially if you offer to bring it back to white or another neutral color before you depart. Ideally, if you have time before your upcoming move, do the painting before bringing your belongings in; it’ll make things easier during your first few weeks in your new home.

2. Use Organizational Strategies

Many rentals come with small kitchens that offer little in terms of storage space. This typically results in cluttered counters on already limited surfaces or a table that you can’t use since it’s serving as a storage area. However, easy, inexpensive ways you can plan to add storage and organization (before you even unpack to reduce clutter on counters) and make more room in cabinets include:

  • Install hanging space for pots and pans.
  • Add a pegboard to hang cookware and other food prep essentials.
  • Use portable storage shelves to insert in cabinets and pantries to double the space.
  • Place cutlery trays inside drawers – alternately, use drawer dividers that work with spring tension to separate space.
  • Use hooks to hang mugs or add racks to hang stemware.
  • Purchase a rolling kitchen island, ideally with a butcher block surface and a shelf or cubby underneath, that is easily portable.

These and other organizational solutions can go a long way towards freeing up space throughout the kitchen. Plus, many of them also add a level of convenience for those high-need daily items.

3. Upgrade Lighting

Many older kitchens have dim or inefficient lighting, which can impact the look of the room. The good news is many fixtures are easy to replace and don’t require bringing in a professional. Buy a vintage light fixture online, or go with a sleek modern option. Other options you can do is add portable lighting to hang over the stove or LED strip lights underneath the cabinets – some of these can be set on timers, or you can use a remote. Or try using plants and other strategies for a creative way to perk up the plainness.

4. Add Accents Throughout the Kitchen

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make a world of difference. Add artwork, removable borders to the walls, toss down a pretty throw rug, update cabinet hardware, change outlet plates for outlets and light switches, hanging plants, or cover the refrigerator with removable wallpaper or photo prints.

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