The amount of times that I have walked into my kitchen (albeit totally beautiful) and wanted to rip everything out and completely redo the space. It then occurs to me that only a completely insane person (like myself) would want to remodel a fully functional kitchen in a RENTAL unit that they won’t even get any sort of a return on. But, just because it is a rental doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy it during the time that you are there. Kitchens are typically pretty tough when it comes to quick and easy updates but there aren’t a few things that you can do to it to give it some new life – which for the time being (and until I have a place that I own) has made all the difference in my teeny tiny little galley kitchen. So, with that said, let me impart some of my wisdom, blunders, and what is on my todo list for my kitchen in hopes that in some small way it not only motivates me to finish it up but gives you a few ideas so that this hasn’t been a complete waste of your time reading through.
1. Paint the walls
This is number one on my todo list, but by far the least exciting thing that I actually want to do. I could pay someone to do it, which would probably run me about $500, which is why I keep putting it on the back burner for now, but a gallon or two of paint could totally transform the space and give it a whole new look. My kitchen walls are a plain white (i know, crazy that i want to paint it if it is already white), but the current white is dingy, old, and frankly makes me sad every time I go in there.But, white isn’t for every kitchen and some can handle a bit of color, so take into account what your floors and kitchen countertops are and bring in some color if the space can handle it. In the meantime I will still be dreaming of gray and gold for a future kitchen in a far away land.
2. Replace what you can (if it bums you out)
I am talking about appliances. Now, while I get your appliances may be totally fine and in working condition I cannot tell you what swapping out my old dated fridge with a beautiful new one did for my space. The best part about appliances are they are typically delivered right inside your house (easy installation by a hunky delivery man if you are lucky) and they can be moved with you to a new space if you ever do move out of your current apartment. So, there is no investment or money lost when you move as you can bring any of them with you – just remember to stash your old ones somewhere. Your landlord might even hold them for you while you live there. Or you can be like me and shove them down in the basement next to the laundry room area. I wonder if my neighbors hate me yet.
3. Swap out knobs
This is by far one of the easiest and most inexpensive upgrades. Swapping out the knobs on your cabinets/drawers will instantly give them an updated look and all it takes is an afternoon and a few simple tools.
4. Lay down temporary floors
This was one of the first things that I did in my kitchen as the renter-grade linoleum was a major bummer for me. I used some peel and stick vinyl tile (which I did a whole post on) to cover up my old floors and it honestly made the space feel brand new. Granted some of them are starting to peel up so I am dealing with that little problem right now, but it is FAR better than what it was when I moved in a year ago.
5. New lighting
This falls into the same category as #2, as it is an easy upgrade and can be brought with you when you do move to a new place. Chances are you have pretty basic lighting in your kitchen due to the fact that your landlord just doesn’t care about the cosmetic aspect of it, so shop around a bit and find yourself some lighting that really works in the space. When I swapped out mine I used fixtures that have more light output than the previous ones (IE more bulbs) so that the kitchen would be brighter and lighter during the evening hours.
6. Bring in some life
If all of these sound terrible, and like something that you don’t wanna spend the time/money/effort on, then I am not quite sure why you are still reading this, BUT I do have an easy solution for you that will make people think you care when in fact you most likely don’t. Grab a few potted herbs from the grocery store, throw them in some pots/planters on the countertop or windowsill and visitors will instantly think you have a little bit of Julia Child running through your blood. Nothing suggests ‘homely’ and ‘domestic’ more than a herb garden and don’t we all want to be a little bit more homely and domestic in the kitchen? And to impress them even more go pluck off some of them while you are cooking and toss them in to really make them think you have this whole ‘adulthood’ thing down. Pretty sure my guests would never believe it, but it’s worth a try right?!