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Guest Post: Kitchen Ideas for Renters

Tofu the bunny, The Koala and I have been living in our 1 bedroom flat in Mt Eden for 7 years now. Our villa is over a hundred years old with some problems. In hindsight, we should have put a little effort into it when we moved in but it can be difficult to do anything to a rental property. This is both a blessing and a curse.

We’ve worked on and replaced a few minor items. We’ve added HEAPS of storage. The kitchen only had 1 drawer and as a food blogger who likes to cook, one drawer is not enough!

The kitchen is often the worst room in a rental because it is expensive to renovate so many landlords just don’t. Hopefully this guide will give you some ideas on your options.


Kitchen Ideas for Renters

By Hannah West via Modernize.com

If you’re renting a house or apartment, your renovation options are probably pretty limited. At most, you may have the option to paint the walls a different color as long as you pinky promise and sign a contract saying you’ll paint them back. Without the freedom to replace outdated cabinets or scrape off an ugly backsplash, you’re probably wondering what you can do to make the kitchen feel like yours. Here are a few non-permanent ways to tailor a rental kitchen to your liking.


Replace Cabinet and Drawer Pulls

Replacing sub-par handles on your cabinetry is a small and affordable fix that can do wonders for perking up your kitchen. It can help even the most outdated cabinets look a little more modern. You might even find that it wasn’t your cabinets that needed a makeover in the first place–just the tiny, outdated nickel hardware attached to them.


Use Removable Vinyl Decals

Even if you have the option of painting the walls, nothing can help a bad backsplash–time to go buy a fake fruit bowl to put in front of it, right? Wrong! You can find all sorts of temporary wall tattoos and vinyl decals to cover up that “blah.” And not just cover it up, but make it exactly what you would have wanted had you built the place yourself.


Create Vertical Storage

Finding creative ways to store kitchen supplies is just about the most vital hack to living in a rental property. Unattractive features are annoying, but they don’t actually stand in the way of getting things done. However, the lack of space or unintuitive flow in many rental kitchens can equal frustration around every meal time. But you can get around that by hanging extra shelves for dishes or hooks utensils and pots. Use a magnet strip for knives to get that blocky knife holder off the counter, and hang your spice rack on the wall. Tack small shelves to the inside of your cabinets for small objects like sponges or utensils. If well executed, vertical storage can be as much a decoration as it is a sensible solution.


Replace Your Faucet

A bad faucet isn’t just an aesthetic problem. It can become a hindrance while you’re doing dishes, especially if it doesn’t have a hose that can snake around and point where you need it to. Avoid the aggravation by simply replacing your faucet with one that is sleeker and has more flexibility.


Add More Pleasant Lighting

The kitchen can be the hardest room to get right when it comes to lighting. It’s not like you have a desk or dressed to prop a lamp on, and there’s probably not much room to spare for a standing lamp. The fluorescent lights overhead get the job done, but they’re not always easy on the eyes. To soften things up a bit, install under-cabinet lighting that not only looks better, but helps your eyes focus on countertop tasks more easily. Use LED bulbs for a less harsh look.


Extend Your Counter Space

Along with a lack of sufficient storage, a shortage of counter space is many renters’ top frustration when it comes to the kitchen. Buy a cutting board that fits over the sink and another for the stove to create a little extra prep space. If you can find one that’s friendly to your rented walls, install a wall-mounted table that folds down when you need it and stays out of the way when you don’t. Put away appliances like your toaster or coffee grinder when not in use.

For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.

This entry was posted in: Habitat
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I am Genie, a designer/photographer obsessed with food and bunnies. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my husband, The Koala. I write about my hedonistic ways and I love the mantra "Eat well, travel often". I prefer not to write about myself in third person. www.bunnyeatsdesign.com


  1. Great post – even in your own place, you get caught between – “should I do little things now while I save for a kitchen” or do I wait and save (money and time) do the whole thing…. I am like that at the moment with my bench top – replace it and adore it, knowing it won’t fit/work when the kitchen is finally done, or wait and have the money to do the kitchen sooner…..

  2. Great ideas! The kitchen we have now too lacks surface space, there hardly is a place for me to place my cutting board! I should find one that fits over the sink. 🙂

  3. juliajunglejulia says

    So cool, we are searching for a new apartment in Sydney now. This post is just in time!

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