Rental kitchens don't usually leave much room for improvement. If you're really lucky, your landlord might give you the thumbs up on painting the cabinet doors, but generally speaking, you're dealt with a space that can't be fussed with all that much. Don't let that stop you from improving the space and keeping it feeling fresh and guest-ready with affordable accents that you can make yourself. Remember, the kitchen is the hearth of the home — from which all things spiral outward — so even if you're restricted to a less-than-perfect or just downright sad space, don't overlook your (exchangeable) kitchen accents and accessories.
Not sure where to start? IKEA has a knack for simple and affordable accessories for your kitchen (like their cult favorite .79¢ dish towel). Grab a couple of IKEA cutting boards for this 10-minute DIY from Brittni Mehlhoff at Paper & Stitch (shown above).
Replace that clunky towel rack with a much sleeker bent brass fixture, like this simple project from Bambula.
I never knew the power of an aesthetically appealing, functional pair of trivets until I threw out my old set of nasty oven mitts (that doubled as trivets) and replaced them with handcrafted ones like these woven trivets from Flax & Twine. All you need is rope and your own two hands, and the tutorial will show you the rest!
And in similar fashion, these beautiful wooden trivets for Food52 are all sorts of drool-worthy, and super easy to make with this step-by-step tutorial.
Another tip for improving your kitchen? Adding portable decor. Between countertops, bar carts, and dining room tables, this resin technique from I Spy DIY makes the perfect tray for all your kitchen and hosting needs.
Updating your serving utensils could also aid your overall kitchen character, not to mention double as appealing countertop decor if paired with a great marble, or brass holder. Follow BricoBistro's simple tutorial to learn how.
If you already have open shelving (raise your hand if you're jealous!), why not make sure your occasion glassware is showcase-worthy. Or display on a simple bar cart in the dining area to draw attention just outside your quirky kitchen. Check out Kelli Hall's gold leafing tutorial to see how easy it is.
Pair your gold leaf cocktail glasses with these color-blocked hexagon coasters from Idle Hands Awake, and you'll be ready to have all your friends over for drinks.
Bowls, bowls, bowls. Serveware shouldn't be left out. These marbled pinch bowls from Almost Makes Perfect may never make their way into the cabinet.
Dip-dyed pestle and mortar, please! The Lovely Drawer mixed up the perfect DIY concoction with this kitchen project.
Sugar & Cloth's DIY footed serving bowls are so simple, and so stunning, it hurts. Your kitchen and dining room (and guests) will appreciate your attention to detail and overall craftiness.
Extend your kitchen craft projects beyond the cabinets and counters and onto your dining room table with dyed textiles, like these placemats from designlovefest.
If you're into sewing projects, these frayed chambray napkins from Purl Soho are the way to go for hosting guests and adding texture to your tablescape.
Rental kitchen or not, it's important to transform even the most unwelcoming of spaces, and even in the smallest ways possible, to make you (and your guests) feel right at home and more willing to gather 'round the hearth – and linger.