7 High-Impact Kitchen Upgrades Even Renters Can Try

published Oct 7, 2019
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Credit: Barbara Matson

When you’re renting, it may seem like you’re stuck with the the kitchen you’ve got. But these small and mighty upgrades will prove you wrong! Take a look at seven of our favorites, all super easy to reverse come move-out day—or not, if your landlord is as smitten as we are.

Stick on a new backsplash

A fake backsplash can go a long way! Chelsey Brown of City Chic Decor completed a gorgeous kitchen makeover for just $150 total thanks to the awesome stick-on tile she found at Walmart. A pretty rug and hanging wall rack add some extra fun and function.

Change up your counters (yes, really)

Whether you prefer marble, sleek wood, or something funky, contact paper can do wonders on a tired countertop. Vineta Jackson of The Handyman’s Daughter happily revamped hers with a granite print that managed to hold up wonderfully for years.

Credit: Heather Bien

Get crafty with chalk

While Heather Bien’s former apartment came equipped with a built-in chalkboard wall in the kitchen area, she knew she wanted it to be part of her decor. Pretty lettering makes it a feature. When it’s time to erase and start anew, Heather mixes white vinegar and water, then scrubs the wall with a sponge to fully remove the chalk residue. No chalkboard wall of your own? You can paint one, if your lease allows.

Credit: Pamela

Be creative with space

You may not be able to tear down walls in your rental, but here’s a clever tip from Pamela of The Gem Picker: She hung a small shelf above her radiator to make use of the once-useless space. As a bonus, the radiator gets a bit of camouflage, too.

Swap out the hardware

Changing out the knobs in a kitchen is a pretty simple task that will make a big impact—but what if your cabinets don’t have any in the first place? Shelley Westerman of Crazy Wonderful demonstrates how to add knobs to knobless kitchen cabinets without picking up a drill. Her secret: Command Strips. How’s that for a rental-friendly hack?

Bust out the stencils

Barbara Matson of Markova Design majorly made over her rental kitchen as part of a past One Room Challenge. We’re totally up to copy her stenciled backsplash—if your landlord allows you to paint your walls, why not go the extra mile and add a cool pattern like the one Barbara DIY’d?

Credit: Ellenor

Go big with art

Don’t forget: Kitchens are rooms, too! Hanging big, look-at-me art adds a lot of character to an otherwise utilitarian space. For inspiration, check out this kitchen from Ellenor of An Edited Lifestyle. And psst: The “marble” counters are contact paper, and Ellenor added in the glam gold knobs herself. Talk about little touches with big impact!