Reno-Free Ways to Elevate your Rental Kitchen

Personalizing your kitchen is easy if you own your home – but what about if you rent?

You’re most likely not allowed to paint, and even if you are, you don’t want to invest in renovating a rental apartment. But given how much time we spend in the kitchen cooking and cleaning (and even more if you love to entertain) customizing the look and feel your rental kitchen is worth it.


Here are a few ideas on how to upgrade your kitchen – rental edition.

1. Clean Your Clutter

Do you have a dreaded cabinet that is stressful to even think about? If so, we’re sorry to remind you.

This one may seem a no-brainer, but few of us put aside the time to declutter. Think of the great feeling you have when you wake up in a clean bedroom – now, imagine that in the kitchen.

First, take the time to pull out everything from your cabinets and fridge. Throw out expired food, along with things you don’t need (or even knew you had.)

Next, tackle your cluttered drawers and kitchen cabinets. The supplies you use to organize your cabinets make a world of difference. Think about clever ways to repurpose bins, racks and hooks for kitchen organization. A Lazy Susan is your best friend for keeping items organized and easily accessible.

Do you own a lot of spices? Tiered spice racks or drawer-specific racks spare you the trouble of diving for spices each time you go to cook.

2. Decorate

Compare your living room or bedroom to your kitchen.

If you don’t have an open-concept kitchen, chances are the walls in that room are bare.

An easy way to enhance your kitchen is to fill those walls with artwork or mirrors. Doing this helps add a focal point to your kitchen, which draws attention away from outdated cupboards or counters.

Another way to warm up your kitchen is simply to add a cozy rug. A large runner throughout the kitchen or a small rug in front of your sink can go a long way.

3. Expand Your Storage

If you have space (or your kitchen is open-concept), adding some extra storage is a great way to up your rental kitchen game.

The important thing is to invest in something that you know you’ll take with you when you move or works well with your other furniture. This way, you don’t have to purchase anything new if you move to another rental.

Extra storage pieces can be anything from a kitchen island (one with wheels are a bonus for versatility) to a small side hutch. These pieces give you more room for food preparation and even more space to add personal touches like plants or recipe books.

4. Add a Mini fridge

Do you love to entertain and have your kitchen filled with guests?

A great way to elevate your kitchen is to add a mini fridge. With a mini fridge, guests can grab their own drinks without peeking in your fridge. Compact refrigerators range in size from 1.7 to 4.7 cubic feet of storage, so it’s possible to fit one within an island or a hutch if you’re short on space.

You may not be able to purchase the fridge of your dreams with dedicated spaces for wine and other drinks, but this is a great solution while you rent. Plus, buying a mini fridge gives you a say in the size and style of one of your appliances – a rare opportunity for renters.

5. Install a Temporary Backsplash

You may dream of a beautiful tile backsplash, all while staring at the beige wall behind the counters.

Don’t get too disappointed – you can purchase temporary wallpaper specifically tailored to look like tile. Doing this can drastically change the look of your kitchen and make it easier on the eyes while you daydream of real subway tile. It also removes the worry of repainting before you move out.

Give Your Rental Kitchen a Personal Touch

There are many ways you can upgrade your rental kitchen on a budget. From mini fridges for entertaining to decorating with cozy carpets and artwork, the options are endless.

Don’t see rental kitchens as a stick in the mud. Think of it as a blank slate for your creativity.