9 kitchen makeover hacks for renters

Ideas for quick kitchen updates that can easily be undone when your lease is up

25 July 2017 - 10:51 By Roberta Thatcher
The kitchen splashback in this home is by artist Willem Boshoff, but you could get a similar effect by neatly applying laminated wrapping paper over outdated tiles or by embellishing neutral tiles with removable vinyl stickers.
The kitchen splashback in this home is by artist Willem Boshoff, but you could get a similar effect by neatly applying laminated wrapping paper over outdated tiles or by embellishing neutral tiles with removable vinyl stickers.
Image: Sarah de Pina

You may not be able to retile your rented home's kitchen, or rip out its hideous cupboards, but there are sneaky ways to get around this and give your space a fresh new look.

These ideas for kitchen updates require minimal time, effort and money to execute and can easily be undone when your lease is up. (They make for quick and budget-friendly updates for homeowners, too.)

1) Bring in a mirror

A gorgeous mirror can be the perfect unexpected statement piece in a kitchen. If your space is dark a mirror will help brighten it by reflecting light, and it will give the illusion of space in a small kitchen, too.

Hot tip: Place your mirror so that it faces a window for maximum light reflection.

2) Disguise that unsightly backsplash

Ask your landlord's permission to paint the existing tiles with special tile paint, or simply neatly apply some laminated wrapping paper. Easy-to-remove vinyl decals are another great option.

Hot tip: Fantastick.co.za stocks a range of removable vinyl wall tiles in playful patterns.

3) Quick cabinet update

Tired of your kitchen cabinets? If they have painted doors making a drastic change is as easy as asking your landlord's permission to repaint them. (With the right primer, even melamine cupboards can be painted.)

Replacing outdated handles with contemporary knobs is another simple change that makes a big impact. Just be sure to choose the same type of hardware so you won't have to drill any new holes.

Hot tip: Have a look at your cabinet hinges, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could unscrew the doors, pack them away and lighten up your kitchen with open shelving.

Consider removing some of your cupboard doors to create the look of open shelves and maximise storage with clever wall-mounted storage solutions.
Consider removing some of your cupboard doors to create the look of open shelves and maximise storage with clever wall-mounted storage solutions.
Image: Sarah de Pina

4) Lighting

As a renter you may feel you’re stuck with the lighting you signed up for, but you really can get creative in the kitchen.

Switching out your light shades will give your kitchen an instant refresh, but you could also consider adding a standing lamp or a table lamp for an unexpected aesthetic hook.

Hot tip: LED rope righting is easy to attach and unobtrusive. Use it above upper cabinets for soft added lighting.

5) Max out your storage

Are overflowing cupboards and drawers getting you down? If you’re running out of space, consider clever storage solutions, such as a hanging hooks for pots and pans, or a wall-mounted magnetic strip for your knives.

Hot tip: If counter space is an issue, look for a chopping board large enough to cover your sink – and voila – extra prep space in an instant.

6) Pimp your fridge

Your fridge can be a real focal point in your kitchen. For a more refined look than the usual shopping lists and photos tacked on with magnets, consider covering it in a sleek removable wallpaper in the print of your choice.

Hot tip: Visit stickythings.co.za for a great selection of removal wallpapers.

Art and a rug are easy ways to add character to a rented kitchen.
Art and a rug are easy ways to add character to a rented kitchen.
Image: Sarah de Pina

7) Kitchen art

For some reason, people don’t seem to hang art in their kitchen, which is absurd, considering how much time you spend there.

Hot tip: Avoid hanging valuable pieces in an area where they may be damaged by heat or oil.

8) Rug results

Ugly flooring? No problem. Layer your kitchen floor with rugs and not only will you beautify your space, but you’ll warm it up for winter, too.

Hot tip: Consider outdoor or plastic rugs to make cleaning a cinch.

9) Add plants … always

Yes, we know we go on and on about adding plants to your home, but there really is no better way to transform a space.

Hot tip: Hardy plants such as philodendrons will survive the heat of the kitchen best. Of course, potted herbs are a practical option for the kitchen, too.

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