New cabinet hardware is certainly not the only way to revive an old rental kitchen, but it's a good place to start.
One of the high end finishes we keep seeing at open houses these days is kitchen drawers and cabinets outfitted with European bar pulls. These long, industrial-looking handles are well-suited for large cabinet doors, and provide a touch of modern contrast in an otherwise outdated rental kitchen, especially if the cabinets and appliances already have a uniform look.
(With simplified hardware, you can still introduce color and personal style by adding art to your walls, or by choosing colorful dish towels. More on that in other posts.)
There's a wide range in bar pull quality out there: some pulls are hollow, some solid, some are stainless steel, some are PVD-coated satin nickel. If you do in fact live in a rental and can drill the requisite extra holes in your cabinet doors, there are some very reasonable options out there for this kind of hardware, including Ikea, which sells LANSA bar pull railings in two lengths (9-5/8" and 17-1/2") at a very rental-friendly $7.99/pr.
For a more precise fit, the biggest stainless steel range we've seen online is at Cool Knobs and Pulls, which sells solid, stainless steel bar pulls in a wide rages of sizes, from 1.61" to 21.35", from $2.48 - $38.29.
CoolKnobs4Less, sells the cheaper satin nickel versions in a similarly wide range: 1-3/4" to 20 3/4", from $3.50 - $11.20.