How to spruce up a rental kitchen
Give cabinets a coat of paint for a budget-friendly makeover. Kitchen units painted in Bond Street, from £27 for 1L wood & metal eggshell paint, Mylands
Cabinets are the main focus of any kitchen and immediately set the tone for the room. If left in a drab state, they can be hard to look past, but it’s easier than you might think to give them a facelift. Begin by simply tightening the cupboard door hinges so the doors are all level and straight—this will instantly create a neater finish and get rid of any wonky edges.
Painting the doors is a great way to change their look and feel (don’t forget to ask for your landlord’s permission first, of course) and it’s something you can do yourself in a couple of days, or call in the experts if you’re happy to spend a little more. Brands like Dulux and V33 do a range of cupboard paints which are suitable for painting wooden doors and whether you stick with the original colour or change it completely, it will certainly give them a new lease of life. Be sure to remove all the doors and drawers before painting (remember to label each one so you know its position) and paint them on a flat surface to help prevent drips. It’s important to thoroughly clean and sand the doors before painting to get a smooth finish, and some paints require a coat of primer underneath, too.
If re-painting seems like too much of a large-scale project, changing the handles on your kitchen units is another inexpensive way to update your look. Go for a modern finish with sleek T-bar handles in chrome or, for a more traditional feel, try brass cup handles. Just make sure to check the sizes before buying a new design as they will need to fit into the existing holes.
Off the wall
Use a water and heat resistant wallpaper splashback as an alternative to new tiles. Kitchenwalls wallpaper splashback – slate tiles, £110, Lime Lace
Wall tiles are another giveaway sign that a kitchen is a little dated, often because of their style or colour. If a good clean just isn’t doing the trick, consider using a specialist paint, like Ronseal tile paint, to coat over the old tiles and change their colour or hide a pattern. Bear in mind this can be a time-consuming process and, although the result can drastically change the appearance of your kitchen, tile transfers are another hassle-free alternative to update your tiled area. This technique is particularly effective if you want to introduce pattern to your room, as the vinyl decals come in a wide range of designs, including mosaics, to add plenty of character to a bland space.
A similar idea can be applied to splashback areas, too. Removable vinyl designs are a good option as they are easy to wipe down and replace if they become grubby over time. If you’re after something even more flexible, a large glass or plastic chopping board can be propped up behind the hobs to act as a splashback and this lets you choose the colour and design.
Use accessories to style up your worktops. Stacking Oslo grey mugs, £12 for four; Nordic Skies utensils pot, £6; small ceramic storage pot, £8, all Sainsbury’s
For those whose landlords aren’t happy about you undertaking any kitchen DIY, or if you’d prefer a quick and easy fix, there are plenty of ways you can change your décor to style up your kitchen. Start by changing dated or mismatched appliances and choose an accent colour to tie them together. Kettles, toasters and coffee machines all come in a rainbow of colours nowadays and splashes of red or on-trend metallic copper will instantly unify your worktops.
Tired flooring is a common problem for tenants and rental kitchens are often plagued with dated vinyl or laminates. Disguise the problem by laying a rug or runner in a design to suit your style and distract from the eyesore beneath—it doesn’t have to cover the whole area; just being partly covered will still avert attention. Try to choose a rug that is low pile and can be easily washed.
Wall art is another simple way to update any space and inject a little personality. If your landlord has banned nailing into the walls, use 3M Command strips to hang light-weight frames or mirrors, depending on the look you’re after. When it comes to lighting, if you’re lucky enough to have a regular ceiling fitting, consider changing the pendant or shade to something a little more interesting. You can buy inexpensive easy-fit pendants from lots of high street stores and it means you can take it with you when you move house, too.
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