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9 easy ways to give your rental kitchen a makeover


Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you should have to put up with a drab kitchen.

Living in a rental property sometimes may feel like a drag, simply because you keep telling yourself there’s nothing you can do to change your space and update it.

In actual fact, there are several non-permanent ways you can give your rental a bit of a lift. Let these rental kitchen ideas inspire you to make your rental feel like home.

1. Go botanical

Plants are a must-have for a shabby-looking rental kitchen. You can grow herbs and flowers, or simply buy a few little succulents in pots to dot around your kitchen bench.

Plants will add personality and serenity to your rental kitchen. Picture: Erinna Giblin

The best thing about investing in plants when you’re a renter is that you can take them with you to spruce up your next rental kitchen.

2. Accessorise

Use your appliances to make a statement, and theme together for a sophisticated touch. Picture: Russell Hobbs

Purchase some gorgeous tea towels or a few beautiful tea canisters to sit on your bench top. Invest in a beautiful tea kettle and toaster set that will make you happy every time you make yourself a cuppa and some toast.

3. Get arty

Artwork can be overlooked in kitchens, yet it’s one of the best ways to decorate a rental on a budget.

Wall hangings and prints make the perfect additions to a drab-looking kitchen, and by hanging art in the space you’ll be taking the focus off the dreariness and adding some dreaminess.

Select artwork that complements your kitchen – it could even be a special piece of art made by your kids. Picture: Erinna Giblin

When selecting your art, consider the tones that exist in the room already and find a piece that will highlight the elements you like.

Have a lovely bright jewel-toned kettle or toaster? By choosing art with similar tones you’ll find these elements become the focal point.

4. Refurbish second-hand furniture to fit

A few bar stools or colourful chairs will definitely brighten up a boring kitchen. They don’t even have to match.

Don’t be afraid to embrace quirky furniture to bring some personality to the space. Picture: Tamara Graham

Hit the op shops and pick any chairs you like; you may even paint them bright colours when you get home. Don’t forget to use a paint sealer and be sure to let them dry properly before use.

You can also select old sets of drawers and shelves to give your kitchen a whole new look without making any permanent changes.

5. Display your wares

If your rental kitchen is small (as so many of them are), it’s unlikely that you will have enough storage for all your kitchen essentials.

This is the perfect chance to get creative with your storage solutions. You can store large cooking utensils like spatulas and whisks in a large vase on your kitchen bench top.

Put your more beloved items on display and the kitchen will feel more like you everyday. Picture: Erinna Giblin

If you’re lacking cupboard space, mugs and piles of mismatched plates will look great on an open shelf. Sometimes organised chaos is the best solution to a storage crisis.

6. Swap out any changeable elements

Curtains and removable doors can be easily removed or swapped to make you feel more at home. Picture: Erinna Giblin

It might sound obvious but it’s often forgotten – some items can be removed and stored safely until you move out.

Gawdy depressing curtains? No worries, just take them down, store them carefully and replace with something more to your taste.

Love open shelving? Many modern kitchen cupboards can easily have their doors removed and stored, giving you the open shelving you need to display your stylish wares.

Even some pendant light covers can be swapped out carefully if you know how.

7. Get vertical

A sweet vertical storage system like the one from Peg & Board adds personality in spades.

Another great solution to a storage crisis is to embrace your walls as a valuable space for useful decoration.

Think of how nice your favourite kitchen items will look on display, giving you more space in the cupboards and making the room feel more like you.

Research the range of removable, heavy, load-bearing adhesive hooks available and select your most beloved items to display. Just be sure to check the weight of whatever you’re hanging.

8. Give it a spring clean

It will make such a huge difference if you give your tired rental kitchen a thorough scrub. Get into all the corners with a toothbrush, give the oven a really good clean and do a good job on the mopping and dusting.

Giving an average rental kitchen a thorough cleaning gives you an excellent base for decorating and organising.

9. Get real with your landlord, politely

If there’s something about the kitchen that you just can’t get past, think horrible paint colours or cracked walls, then offering to fix them might be a welcome offer to a landlord.

If you play your cards right the landlord may welcome a new paint job in the kitchen. Picture: Getty

Keep in mind these discussions can take time, will have to go through your agent, might be restricted by strict rules and you might have to pay for it yourself… but the result might mean you end up with a much nicer kitchen.

Keep in mind that as a good tenant you’re a valuable commodity to a landlord who, at the end of the day, just wants to make sure their investment is looked after.

This article was originally published as 9 easy ways to give your rental kitchen a makeover by and written by Carly Jacobs

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