Before and After: A $1000 Rental Kitchen With One Luxe-Looking IKEA Hack

published Dec 1, 2019
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When it comes to kitchens, a lot of renters stick with small, temporary changes—after all, remodeling a kitchen can quickly get expensive! And while stick-on tile and other little upgrades can go a lot way, Autumn Hachey wasn’t content with small changes for her Toronto rental’s kitchen (though she didn’t want to spend a fortune redoing it, either).

Aside from very plain, basic white IKEA cabinets, Autumn says, “it had a black and white tiled backsplash, cheap hardware and a really plain old pendant light.” And after making changes around the rest of the apartment, the kitchen was feeling especially dated. “I wanted to make the space feel brighter and more inviting to cook in!” Autumn says.

Credit: Maya Visnyei

Autumn took about a month to do the project, from start to finish. Most of the hard work involved painting—the pantry, the cabinets, and the backsplash. “I tackled the whole thing on my own, with a bit of help from my mama who came to visit me for our annual Autumn and Mom weekend, where basically we drink wine and do renovations,” says Autumn. (Quick note to self to make that mother/daughter hang happen!)

Credit: Maya Visnyei

Unfortunately, the wine invited a minor setback: “We started with painting the pantry, and then got fired up and drank some wine and decided to paint all the lower cabinets and the island,” Autumn says. “The major setback was that we didn’t use a bonding primer on any of the lowers or the cabinets, and had to literally scrape it all off and start over!”

Thankfully they were able to forge ahead, and after finishing painting all the cabinets, Autumn attached a mix of gold bar pulls and knobs for hardware. The fancy-looking island? That’s an IKEA piece! Autumn installed hex tile on the back and then fastened a towel bar from Anthropologie to the side to give its glam custom look. The finishing touch: A new three-globe brass light fixture with mid-century vibes from Hudson Valley Lighting.

“If I had full creative control I would have changed the countertop and the faucet, but my landlord wasn’t into that idea!” Autumn says. But even so: “I love my new kitchen!”

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