Kitchen upgrades seem to be at the top of most home improvement lists. Kitchen transformations come in lots of shapes and sizes; from updating counters to cabinet replacement. The costs will vary depending on the scale of the renovation. Of course when you’re renting a home all of those choices are not possible. There are a few ways you can spruce up the kitchen in your rental home without making any permanent changes. 

Cabinet Changes

The kitchen cabinets define the look of the kitchen. If the cabinets in the home you’re renting have seen better days, you can refresh them with a good cleaning.  If you have some cabinets doors that are showing more than a little bit of age you may choose to remove the doors altogether. Put painters tape on the doors indicating which cabinets the doors came from so they can be easily reattached at the end of your rental. Store the doors carefully. Use contact paper for the cabinet backs to give an interesting focal point. Of course the downside to open shelving in your kitchen is keeping everything tidy on the shelves. You may want to put your dinner plates and other prettier dishes on the shelves since they’ll be seen.

You can also use contact paper on the cabinet door fronts to give a fresh look. There are endless patterns and solid colors available. Be sure the paint on the cabinets isn’t peeling or chipping to the point that the contact paper will peel off big sections when removed. The point is for the look to be temporary and you don’t want to to give your landlord any reason to withhold your security deposit.

Another easy décor idea is to use small wreaths on every other upper cabinet door. You can either use removable hooks on the cabinet fronts to hang the small wreaths or attach an upside hook on the backside of the cabinet door and attach a ribbon that will run over the top of the door to the front of the cabinet. Attach your wreath to the ribbon. That way both the ribbon and the wreath add a pretty touch.

Add a “peel-and-stick” backsplash

If the kitchen in the home you’re renting doesn’t have a tile backsplash (or has an ugly one), you can easily change this. Of course I’m not talking about spending your hard earned money improving someone else’s property with a new tile backsplash; I’m talking about peel-and-stick tile. There are scores of patterns of tiles that are literally peel & stick. You can give your kitchen a high end looking upgrade for a fraction of the cost. You just need the tile sheets, a cutter, measuring tape, and a level to get the job done.

Update the windows

Another easy way to change the look of your tired kitchen; whether you rent or own, is changing your window treatments.  There are a variety of window coverings to choose from; from curtains, valances, Roman shades, or blinds. Choose prints or solids or mix in both.

I love plaids and florals for my kitchen. Most of y’all who know me know I love that romantic country vibe throughout my home. Just be sure you have the correct size coverings for your window. Typically, for curtains, you want twice the width of your window so the curtains gather correctly. They shouldn’t looks stretched across the curtain rod. In the kitchen, curtains typically don’t extend past the window sill. Purchase the correct length; if you’re going to use tie backs, the curtains need to be a little longer as they will look shorter when pulled back. 

You can make a pretty Roman shade with fabric and three tension rods. Your fabric needs to be about an inch wider than your window. Fold your edges over with about a half inch seam on each side. You can sew these sides or use fabric fuser. Create a hem and a pocket at the top for an tension rod the same way. Put the rod through the pocket and attach inside the window. Space the next two tension rods inside the window frame. They need to be spaced according to the size of the window and how long you want your pleats. After placing the tension rods, simple pull the fabric through the top rod to the length you want. Repeat the step for the last rod. That’s it! Roman shades! If you want to cover the entire window at night, simply pull the fabric from the bottom to release it from the rods.


You can’t replace ugly floor vinyl or tile but you can cover it up. Floor coverings do just that; they cover the floor. Choose a throw rug that’s almost the size of your kitchen floor. Place it so that the only remaining parts of the original floor make a small border. It will hardly be noticed. If you’re worried about food stains on a throw rug; another option is to purchase a vinyl rug. Yes, a rug made from vinyl. These rugs come in tons of patterns; some look like tile, others have floral, square, or even damask prints. They are a great solution if you want to cover an ugly existing floor without the worry of food stains ruining it. Trust me, covering ugly flooring will transform your kitchen! 

Don’t just think because you are renting a home that your are stuck with the permanent fixtures. Change what you can and cover the rest. I hope these few ways to spruce the kitchen in your rental home will help you see your home as a place where you can put your mark; even if you don’t actually own the house.

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