How to Bring Personality to Your Rental Kitchen

rental kitchen after changes

Hello lovely Remodelaholic readers!! Janel here from NellieBellie. I’m here today with my little kitchen in tow. Well, it’s not really mine. It belongs to my landlord and is mine as long as I pay my rent. If you are a renter—you relate. Our apartment is quite small and the kitchen is certainly no exception to that rule. But, we’ve learned how to maximize every bit space , fill it with personality, and still follow the  no-holes and no-paint rules that most landlords prefer.

So, if you are a renter you’ll be jumping for joy excited about today’s post. If you don’t rent but are still looking for easy, inexpensive ways to brighten and personalize your space…keep reading, too! Here at Remodelaholic you can also find some great design tips and ideas for renters, 25 Great DIY Shelving Ideas, and even a way to build a farmhouse table (great furniture makes a rental so much better!).

Let’s start talking rental kitchen – shall we?

First, let’s start with the necessary before picture. This is our kitchen when we moved in about 3 months ago…

Rental kitchen before ideas and trips. from (We do have a fridge… tucked in to the left. Just in case you were worried about our ice cream supply. )

But, welcome to my kitchen. Smaller than most — larger than many. However, as with most rental kitchens, it was just a bit too grey, a bit too boring, and needed some serious help!

With some smart choices, creative additions, and practical storage solutions I now have the cutest little rental kitchen you ever did see!! rental-kitchen-after-changes (1)

*sigh* I think I’ll stay here forever. Just bring me some chocolate and coffee sometimes…will ya? Love my little kitchen now!!

Here are the temporary (truly…all temporary) additions that have brought so much life and personality to my rental kitchen!

tips and tricks for creating a personal space in a rental kitchen from

1. Black vinyl was used as temporary chalkboard. So fun!
2. Go vertical with storage wherever you can.
3. Magnet knife storage.
4. Beautiful rug and linens add personality and charm.
5. Place baskets and large items above the cabinet area for storage and display.
6. Wrap yarn or string tightly around cupboard doors to display photo’s and kid’s artwork.
7. Black Vinyl cupboard door “labels” are a sweet touch.
8. Incorporate art, make everyday items attractive where possible.

Great ideas to personalize your rental kitchen. from remodelaholic

1- I used black vinyl on the upper cupboard doors around the stove hood area. Vinyl is removable with little problems (if you run into a bit that is being stubborn –take out your hair dryer and put a bit of heat on it) but be sure to test a hidden spot on your cabinets for a week or so before placing a large amount. And, of course…you can use all sorts of colors and variations of vinyl! Vinyl can be found at your craft store, or you can also find it on Amazon, both in black and actual chalkboard finish.

 Great ideas to personalize your rental kitchen. from remodelaholic

2 & 3- We were lucky enough to come into a rental that already had large holes behind the stove area. So, we made use of those already existing holes and added the rail system from IKEA. If you don’t have this option you could use a tension rod (between the two cabinets )and hooks to hang potholders and lighter items. We also installed a magnet strip to hang our knives. A knife block would work just as well in this case. The trick of small space storage is to think vertical. When you are limited for space—look UP for more storage!

4-One of the best ways to make your kitchen feel more special is simply with rugs and linens. Put a special rug in front of your sink. Buy yourself some pretty kitchen towels. Because budget was an issue I went to the antique store and picked up a pile of antique kitchen towels for next to nothing. They make me so very happy. You don’t have to spend alot to find linens that make you smile.

5- Find and use all the storage you can find! One of the best places to sneak in storage is above the cabinets. Baskets look pretty and can be used for storage—bonus! And, there is no need to pay alot for them — your local thrift store probably has a whole slew of baskets at great prices! Place some of your favorite large items intermixed amongst those baskets to make your heart happy and your face smile. My blue pig, globe, and giant letter H (which is sitting sideways…yes, I know!) are some of my favorite things and I’m so pleased to see them everyday.

Great ideas to personalize your rental kitchen. from remodelaholic

6- A fun trick for rental cabinet doors, besides the vinyl, is good ol’ string. Simply wrap string around the cabinet doors as tightly as possible and tie it off. You can now slip in photo’s, cards, and children’s art in between the strings. No harm to the cabinet door at all!

7-Maybe you aren’t on board with a full door in black vinyl or wrapping string around and around. Make a few labels for your cupboard doors to remind your kids of what is inside? A fun, little touch.

Great ideas to personalize your rental kitchen. from remodelaholic

8- Finally, those items that you need to leave out and use daily—make them special. Use pretty appliances, if you can. Make your teapot a fun color if it needs to sit out on the stove. A basket on the counter holding your baking supplies is just fine—especially if that basket is a vintage locker basket! Don’t underestimate how much of a difference it can make to put your cookie cutters in a glass dish and set it on the counter—instant art! Use a command hook and put a piece of art on the wall or a vintage clock on the side of the cabinet. Make your everyday special!

 Great ideas to personalize your rental kitchen from NellieBellie at #rentaldecor #kitchen #decorate

 I hope you found something that you can incorporate into your rental kitchen (or any kitchen!) to help bring a smile to your face every day you walk in! I would love to have you over to NellieBellie where I will serve you some delicious shortbread cookies with a homemade latte and coffee syrups. We’ll be best friends!
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  1. Hey – we have a blue, vintage pig in our kitchen, too! It’s a plastic bank, but small world. 🙂 Here in the DFW area, if you had that kind of kitchen setup, there would most likely be a microwave above the stove, so that cute little rack wouldn’t fit, but it’s so darn cute! We just happen to live in a historic building with a tiiiiny little fridge and stove/oven, good cabinet space, little counter space, and no enclosed pantry. The tenant before us installed shelves on the empty wall for pantry space, and it works great! To make all of our food look pretty, I thrifted wicker baskets for fruits and veggies, and purchased some boxes from the dollar store to organize the dry goods. Now the vinyl on the cabinets makes me want to find some just to add color!

    1. Hi Melony! Pop over to Nellie Bellie (linked up in the post) and I’m sure Janel can tell you more. Thanks!

  2. Janel, my fairly new rental place has a little smaller kitchen and is just as boring!! Thanks for the great ideas! Question, do you have a microwave and if so, where do you put it. Mine is now taking up precious counter space, but there’s not much room for it anywhere else. I’ve considered a cart but not room for that either.

  3. Love the ideas of a colorful teapot on the (teeny-tiny) stove and vintage clock. Thanks so much for sharing!