Before and After: A “Beige on Beige Mess” Kitchen Gets a $225 Renter-Friendly Redo

published Oct 15, 2023
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Soon after Devin (@themodernminimalist) and Jess VonderHaar (@jesstheripper) moved into their organic modern bungalow in Portland, Oregon, they started dreaming up how to transform their kitchen, but there was one all-too-common big hurdle Devin and Jess had to overcome: It was a rental property. 

Luckily, the couple’s landlord was lenient about some of the changes the couple wanted to make and supportive of their design goals. “The design inspiration was simply to add more color to the space, to modernize it a bit from its 1970s original glory, while keeping in line with it being a rental and the limitations involved,” Devin says. “The main goal was to make it a more enjoyable space to be in and make it as functional as possible for a small space.”

Because the landlord supported the transformation, the couple was reimbursed for one of their projects. (Yes, really!) And because it’s a rental property, making major changes on a limited budget was a huge win — all in all, the couple only spent around $225 for their updates. Here’s how they transformed their kitchen.

Paint added personality.

One of the main things Devin wanted to do was breathe new life into the space. “It was an outdated beige on beige on beige mess,” Devin shares. “Beige cabinets, beige counters, beige floors. I wasn’t allowed to change the counters or floors, so I had to get creative.” 

Devin found a light eggshell paint color (she can’t remember the name) at Lowe’s and knew immediately that it was the perfect shade to paint the kitchen cabinets. She and Jess were so confident, they didn’t even need a sample. It’s a plus that it was only $75, too! Adding color carried to their walls, too, where they used Clare’s “Money Moves” sage green shade to brighten the space.

New hardware modernized the kitchen cabinets.

After the kitchen cabinets were painted, Devin wanted to continue giving them a more modern look. She found new hardware on Etsy (think: gold, rounded, mid-century aesthetic) that her landlord appreciated, too. Ultimately, the landlord reimbursed her for them, which knocked $100 off the grand total. 

A DIY backsplash is the star of the show.

Although it took time to pick out the perfect pattern — and three separate swatches — Devin’s favorite part about the kitchen is the sage peel-and-stick backsplash she picked out, also from Etsy. “It was the final choice made, nearly a year after the original alterations were made, and felt like the perfect last addition to the space,” she says. The round penny tile pattern adds a touch of color and interest, without dominating the space. Plus, it was super easy to install.

Smart furniture helped open up the space.

The kitchen has a “teeny nook” where the couple put the DOCKSTA Table from IKEA. However, it wasn’t big enough for traditional chairs — so again, they had to think outside of the box. So, KYRRE stools from IKEA were the next-best alternative. It’s also a bonus that they stack onto each other when not in use. 

And the kitchen isn’t the only gorgeous room with smart space-saving hacks in Devin and Jess’s home. To see more, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally appeared on The Kitchn. See it there: Before & After: This $225 “Outdated Beige” Kitchen Makeover Becomes Bright and Airy