Having a rental lease doesn’t mean you can’t give your kitchen some personal touches. It just means there are some rules to follow.

While your landlord may not allow major changes like replacing the floors or cabinets, there are small, renter-friendly kitchen upgrades that can still make a difference.

So, let’s freshen up your kitchen with these simple and budget-friendly DIY ideas for renters. No need to stick with a dull and outdated kitchen.

You can make these changes without risking your security deposit. Just remember to put everything back the way it was when you’re ready to move out.

Replace Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

off white kitchen cabinet color
Image Credit: The Thrifty Apartment

Think about the number of times you close your kitchen cabinets daily. Now, couple that with how many times the tenant touched it before you, dating back to the 90s – maybe even the 80s. The likely answer is a lot. Well, it may be time to spruce up those worn cabinets by changing out the cabinet hardware for new shiny knobs or handles.

You can update the color to this oil-rubbed bronze knob finish or this modern gold handle. The color finishes you choose will give your kitchen an instant update. No money? No Problem. Just spray-paint the existing handle for a fresh, new look.

Incorporate Open Shelving

open shelves in kitchen with greenery
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Open shelving is a modern yet trendy kitchen staple that is popular in homes right now. You can purchase ready-to-install floating kitchen shelves like these or DIY your own to give your space even more storage. Floating shelves will help to modernize your home.

Remove Cabinet Doors

cabinet doors removed
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Okay, you want a more dramatic change to your kitchen cabinets but can’t paint or replace them. Try removing the cabinet doors to create the illusion of open shelving.

Since open shelving is trendy, you can temporarily get this look with a screwdriver to remove the hinges. This will open up your kitchen, making it feel bigger.

Display your cute dishware, glassware, and appliances, and make the open shelves the kitchen’s focal point.

Upgrade the Kitchen Faucet

kitchen faucet
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It is unlikely that the kitchen faucet you have in your space is from this century. If it’s functioning, it’s the last thing the landlord will change.

However, a stunning kitchen sink faucet can add beauty and sophistication to a kitchen – especially a pull-down faucet. Opt for a unique color like gold or matte black for a big impact. You can also install it yourself with this easy DIY kitchen faucet installation guide.

Fake the Backsplash

backsplash with black grout
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It’s time to fake it till you make it. Peel and stick removable kitchen backsplash is a fantastic option while renting. This fake backsplash will make your rental kitchen look like luxury.

It will give your kitchen lots of character and elevate the kitchen’s beauty. You can have fun with it now and remove it without damaging the wall. So go with a funky style, or keep it timeless and simple with these subway tiles.

Incorporate Removable Wallpaper

wallpaper in kitchen
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Removable wallpaper is an excellent alternative to painting the kitchen. Removable wallpaper is a less intrusive, temporary solution. You can stick wallpaper to a door, an accent wall, or inside or outside the cabinets.

Rescue the Floors with Floor Stickers

Floor Stickers
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Just like wallpaper, peel-and-stick floor stickers are temporary and can be easily removed. Floor tiles will make your rental kitchen look like you just finished a complete gut renovation.

Floor tiles are excellent for covering up old tiles. And don’t worry, they are very durable and easy to clean. Choose from a wide array of peel-and-stick floor tiles ranging from geometric and contemporary styles to a black and white design.

Attractive Small Appliances

coffee pot and grinder
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So you can’t replace the major appliances in the kitchen, but you can add cute ones. Mix in new appliances such as this fancy new sage green coffee maker, stainless steel toaster, retro microwave, or this funky color air fryer.

Dreamy Artwork

wall decor in kitchen
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Decorate your kitchen with unique artwork. Hang the artwork on a bare wall or a shelf. The artwork will add visual interest to your kitchen.

Add a Kitchen Island

kitchen island
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Need somewhere to store and display your cute appliances? Opt for a useful utility kitchen cart to house your appliances or store other kitchen essentials. They are great for adding extra kitchen storage space and counter space.

Create a Coffee Bar Station

coffee station
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coffee station is a cool and fun idea that is great for the coffee lover in you. You can take a cute little nook in the kitchen or that extra space on the laminate countertop.

Stock it with your favorite coffee maker and other coffee necessities such as ground coffee, a grinder, a mug, creamer, and a sweetener.

Drip Coffee Pot vs Keurig: Which Is Better?

Declutter and Reorganize

drawer in kitchen
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Our kitchen cabinets and pantry are the ultimate storage spaces for dry food, dishes, pots, cookware, and other accessories. We often don’t realize how much stuff we pack into our cabinets that we don’t need or no longer use. Reorganizing our space can save us a ton of money and time when preparing meals, planning, cooking, and grocery shopping.

Take some time to declutter your space. Grab a garbage bag or donation box, and get rid of everything you no longer need or expired items. Categorize items in a way that makes sense for your household. Use lots of bins, baskets, and storage containers to organize your stuff, and consider labeling and decanting for easy access.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

kitchen countertop with cutting board and muddler
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The kitchen holds a special place in our homes, serving as a hub for cooking, meals, and gatherings. However, even though it’s the center of our daily lives, it’s easy for clutter, disarray, and items that have outstayed their welcome to accumulate in this space. Check out the 12 items in your kitchen that should be thrown away immediately.

12 Surprising Items in Your Kitchen that Need to Hit the Trash Immediately

14 Most Popular Benjamin Moore Cabinet Paint Colors

off white kitchen cabinet color
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Kitchen cabinets are a visual centerpiece in the kitchen. And that’s why the color in which you paint your cabinets matters. Choosing the right cabinet paint color is one of the most important decisions regarding kitchen design. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to make a decision.  From classic whites to warm grays, 14 Benjamin Moore cabinet paint colors will help you design the most perfect, stylish space.

14 Most Popular Benjamin Moore Cabinet Paint Colors

15 Tips on How to Declutter Your Home

organized undergarments
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Although clutter can accumulate quickly and easily between you and your life, decluttering can spark immense joy and accomplishment. Here are 15 tips to help you tackle the task of decluttering your home.

15 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home

How to Clean Sticky Grease Off Your Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen and floors
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Our kitchen cabinets can easily accumulate dirt, grease, and grime. Here are some of the most effective cleaning methods to revive those greasy kitchen cabinets.

How to Clean Sticky Grease Off Your Kitchen Cabinets

The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List

kitchen with stove
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A well-stocked kitchen is essential for any home. Equipping your kitchen with the necessary items can change how you cook and experience your cooking space. Whether you’re building up from scratch or simply looking for kitchen necessities for a new apartment, this checklist has you covered.

The Ultimate Kitchen Essentials List

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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