Cooking with Gas: Smart Rental Kitchens from Our House Tours

Because of costly finishes and appliances, kitchens are one of the most "suck-it-up-and-live-with-it" areas in a rental apartment. But even if you're shy on space, or if the fixtures are quite what you'd prefer, there are some smart ways to make your average rental kitchen work.

Top Row:
1. Sibylle's Flea Market Style in Berlin: Keep your most-used items handy, add an island (which can also add seating), and use graphic art in small spaces to make a visual impact.
2. Matt & Mel's Animated Abode: If you have an awkward corner to spare, then add some shelves, a small refrigerator, or other portable furniture to make the most of the space. Matt and Mel spruced up their niche with some art, and they maximized the space by going vertical.
3. Kelly's Cozy Chic Studio: Kelly unified the kitchen and dining area with a single color, and she selected a tone that complements the existing tile color.
4. Jacqueline's Bright & Airy West Village Studio: Jacqueline's kitchen is open to the rest of her studio, and she was wise to make the most of the space by adding some extra storage. Don't be afraid to uses "non-kitchen" furniture in the kitchen. here, a bookshelf looks right at home, as do the storage containers that she used to minimize visual clutter.
5. Alana's Brooklyn Railroad: Matching storage bins fill the awkward above-cabinet space present in a lot of rental kitchens, and Alana also customized the space and made it even more useful by adding a clock to the backsplash.

Bottom Row:
1. Sarah & David's Modern & Sophisticated Home: Not everyone is lucky enough to have an exposed brick wall in their kitchen, but they can steal Sarah and David's clever mirror trick. If your kitchen is enclosed, and especially if its small, dedicating some wall space to a mirror can give the sense of having a window, and it can make the place feel larger. This trick is common in other rooms in the house, but why not bring it into the kitchen?
2. Amy's Vintage Jewel-Tone Apartment: Make your kitchen your own! Add rugs, textiles, colors, and art. The stock cabinets or bland counters you've been given may not be your thing, but you can still accessorize so that the place feels more like you.
3. Oliver & Sherrie's Mini Bronx Loft: Use your walls and the under-cabinet space. This is a standard go-to-trick, but it's still one of the easiest ways to customize your rental. If you can't screw under-mount fixtures into your cabinetry in the rental, many holders will come with a durable adhesive option.
4. Amanda & Justin's Brooklyn Railroad Nook: Use a favorite color in the kitchen, particularly above the cabinets. It can add a lot of visual impact, and usually the wall space is small enough where you can even get by with a small can of paint!
5. John & Laurel's Handcrafted Homestead: John and Laurel have successfully used the space above their cabinets, but thanks to the matching jars and labels, the utility still has a clean, streamlined appearance.

How have you made the most of a rental kitchen?

(Image credits: Sibylle Roessler; Nicole Crowder; Bethany Nauert; Sherrie U.; Alana Range; Andrea Sparacio; Julia Brenner; Regina Yunghans)