Customizing Our Rental Kitchen

After owning our own homes for over 17 years – it was hard to walk into a rental home that was nice but not our own taste. Renting has some limitations that ownership doesn’t – but some freedom, too. Here is how I made the kitchen more my style without making permanent changes…
I shared Our Kitchen last January. Here are some pictures from that time.
It is big and roomy but dark. I wasn’t fond of the bisque appliances with cherry stained cabinetry.
By removing a cabinet for open shelves, painting the walls and building in the refrigerator I got more of the light and white that I wanted.
Bringing in our own appliances helped modernize the look.
Notice that above the fridge and above the microwave – I made a box with pine wood to go above the cabinets so they look staggered. The white gives my kitchen a two tone look. I didn’t paint any of these cabinets – I used:
Contact paper that I ordered on Amazon.
To be honest, I wanted to cover all the top cabinets in white contact paper but it was very hard to get the adhesive smooth on raised panel cabinet doors. Too much detail on the corners.
All I did here was take off the cabinet doors and covered the cherry cabinet frame above the microwave with white contact paper. The very top is a box made out of 1×12 pine that I painted white. It is only nailed in two places to secure it to the wall so it will be easy to get this kitchen back to “original” when we move on. Instead of showing more open shelves I hung this Shabby Black Art that I made from an old window. To see more details on how I covered the fridge – see the links at the bottom of this post.
I found the stove on Craig’s list for $200, the microwave was on clearance for $150 at Lowe’s. The fridge and dishwasher were ours already. Notice the goofy tile behind the bisque color stove (it was a diy project that didn’t turn out so great – not my own, either) The “decorative accent tile” is not my style so I purchased a faux tin tile for $20 at Lowe’s and it is applied with sticky velcro.
I could have used two but a $20 investment covered the other stuff instead of having to spend double to go the whole width of the stove. It works.
So even though I spent a little bit of my own money here – I can take what I purchased with me or sell it when we leave. I am so happy with the changes and staying here doesn’t sound so bad now that I have fixed the major things that bugged me.
 Here are the other projects I did that helped make this home feel a little nicer to us and make it more our own style. Click on the links below to see more “rental” fixes…
Lighter, brighter and more of my own style.
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Tell me your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Wow…that is beautiful!! In another kitchen photo, I saw a mug/cup rack that hangs on the side of a cabinet. Could you give me more info about it???Your entire home is entrancing! Thank you for sharing all of your ideas.Blessings,J

Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Love the changes you have made, simply gorgeous! XOKristin

Corn in my Coffee-Pot

Ok…I've been following along with your kitchen updates, but with the new grandbaby and all…I must have missed this post. I saw it today @ A Stroll Thru Life… I love the staggered look of the cupboards, again… and over time feel! The shabby art on the front of the cupboard great idea, along with those fantastic boxes you built! great job. Love your kitchen. Pat

malik aayan

you have done awesome job, thanks.Luxury Beds and Mattresses

The Bold Abode

You are totally She-Rah! Wow. What a makeover, girlie!

Jen Ham

So beautiful! I love it! xo Jen

Katie Mansfield

It looks so cute. I love all your customizations.

Deidre Gilchrest

Hi Holly! Loving all the work youve been doing in your house! As always \”you Rock Girl\”

must love junk

What great ideas! It looks fabulous with your personal touches! :)Susan

Angela Ryder

I am always so impressed with your ideas for a rental property! They all turn out fabulous, look permanent but are easily changed or taken down! Truly talented and it looks fabulous!!!!~~Angela


You did a wonderful job. We lived in a rental while we were working on this house and I felt like I was in limbo the whole time. You have really done a good job because I know how limiting it is to work with something that you don't really own. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday- xo Diana


your kitchen looks gorgeous with your creative changes, holly! and that's the cutest little island:)

Jeanette@Creating A Life

I really like all the ways you've personalized your kitchen! I'm in a similar situation, in a rental home after owning for many years. It can be really challenging to make the space feel like \”us\” without major changes and major $. I even used the same type of faux tin as you behind our stove! You've done a beautiful job creating a space that speaks to your own style! Just lovely!

Shabby chic Sandy

I love the \”B\” –everything is looking so nice. You can make anyplace home!


You have done a beautiful job….putting your own mark on your space.

Leslie's Garden

You are so incredibly creative! I love how you have made a rental space your own. Would have loved to of known you when I was young and renting!I have cabinets that look about the same. I like how you changed out your stove and microwave to black, they blend so much better. Also love the tin tile on the wall behind the stove.

Cozy Little House

I think we can all understand. I live in a rental too. I am glad you made the changes that were clearly so important to you. Enjoy your home!Brenda


You've done an amazing job transforming that kitchen to be more of your own style. I would want to do the same thing too if I had dark cabinets. I'm sure that renting is hard when you love to decorate and have a specific style. It would be hard to live with someone elses choices. Sounds like your landlord is nice letting you make so many changes though. He must trust you!


I think it takes an extra measure of creativity to make all those \”non-permanent\” changes! You've done an amazing job.

Becky M

I am in love with your table and the big \”B\”! This is gorgeous!!

Gypsy Heart

Awesome!! Your special touches add such an improved look ~ way to go!xoPat


I can't find the key to hit on my keyboard that says \”Holly does it again\”.