Apartment Kitchen Makeover

When I moved into my new place in December, I had to set a gameplan for decorating. Having a blank canvas to decorate is both exhilarating and overwhelming! My plan was to decorate the rooms I use the most first. First up were my office and living room. Once I tackled those, I got to work on my kitchen.

It seems like the kitchen would be a pretty easy room to decorate, right? Just a few accessories and textiles? Not if you had my kitchen. Read along to find out what obstacles I met in my rental kitchen and how I overcame them.

apartment rental kitchen makeover steel pegboard vertical storage DIY sideboard

My first task was revamping the kitchen cabinets with textured shelf liner. This particular liner helps give my kitchen the tropical flair I wanted. I also added clear acrylic handles to the drawers and cupboards.

Kitchen makeover before after rental apartment shelf liner cabinets navy blue aqua eclectic global tropical Moroccan decor vertical storage

My next (and largest) task was remedying the lack of storage and space in my kitchen. While this one may be wider than my last apartment kitchen, it has less drawer and cabinet space. The fix? Go vertical.

Previously, I stored my spices in a drawer to keep them fresh in a cool, dark place. I couldn’t do this in the new kitchen because there’s a lot less drawers. Solution: create spice jar storage on the wall with two IKEA Ribba picture frame ledges. Using many of the same glass jar for each spice and DIY chalkboard labels gives them a decorative flair and keeps this area organized.

apartment rental kitchen makeover IKEA Ribba picture ledge spice jar storage DIY chalkboard labels

Another challenge was the lack of storage with the cabinets. Because there are fewer cabinets and they’re not as large as they were in my former kitchen, I wasn’t able to store my pots and pans in them. For a quick fix, I used an IKEA Lerberg shelf to store them.

I grew tired of this though, because the shelf didn’t match the kitchen and this option just wasn’t very user-friendly. I’m not a big fan of open shelving—it looks lovely but isn’t too practical. My solution for this was to hang my pots and pans on a pegboard.

Kitchen makeover corner vertical storage sideboard makeover DIY cutting boards file sorter steel pegboard DIY table IKEA Lerberg before and after rental apartmentOriginally, I was going to use an MDF pegboard and paint it the same aqua as my living room. But I changed my mind and went with something more durable: a steel pegboard. It cost more, but was much less work.

Also in this corner, I added vertical storage for my cutting boards with a hanging/standing file sorter from Target and my trusty IKEA Grundtal magnetic knife rack. It’s so nice to have these tools easily accessible when preparing dinner.

Did you also notice the table in this corner? Another area of concern in this kitchen was the lack of counter space. I like to keep my counters sparsely decorated, but I still needed a little help like when preparing a meal from scratch.

apartment rental kitchen makeover steel pegboard aspen DIY sideboard surface prep stained wood

Since this corner isn’t very deep, it was challenging to find a piece of furniture that would fit and not overwhelm the space. That’s why I created my version of a kitchen sideboard with a plank of aspen, tapered legs, and top plates for table legs. Total cost excluding stain: $50.

The last bit of storage is with the IKEA Rast dressers I painted last year. They’re not shown as they’re in my entrance and I haven’t revealed that part of my home yet. :) My entrance faces into my kitchen, so they are only a few steps away. Here, I have my tea collection and towels/rags stored.

After resolving the lack of storage, the rest of my kitchen makeover was easy: decorating. Since the kitchen is part of an open floorplan, I made sure the decor coordinated with that in my entry and living room. The decor is a hodgepodge of styles, but is mostly global with Moroccan and tropical touches.

I used the same aqua and blues by creating faux tiles: painting patterns with acrylic paint on square canvases.

Faux Moroccan tiles painted canvas kitchen makeover navy chartreuse blue aqua pattern stove

This basic chindi rug received a makeover by painting a simple pattern with a stencil (Arabesque by Martha Stewart).

Navy chindi rug makeover painted pattern apartment rental kitchen makeover Arabesque Martha Stewart stencil

This small stretch of counter is usually where I prepare meals since it’s right next to the sink. On the adjoining wall, I hung a magnetic dry erase board here, as it helps me when testing new recipes.

rental apartment kitchen makeover decor passthrough Moroccan faux tile painted canvas magnetic dry erase board butterfly garden sculpture decor

This George Carruth butterfly sculpture was a gift given to me by my coworkers when my mother passed away a few months ago. I learned a lot about cooking and baking from her, so this hangs here so that she’ll always be with me while I create in the kitchen.

George Karruth butterfly sculpture kitchen makeover apartment rental

It took a few months, but my kitchen is finally a space I can prepare and cook freely and efficiently. Next up on my gameplan: decorating my dining “room!”

What challenges have you faced in your kitchen? Were you able to resolve them without remodeling? What makes your kitchen efficient?

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14 thoughts on “Apartment Kitchen Makeover

  1. Kelley

    I love the reveal and all your explanations. We’ve been married 33 years and have moved 20 times. Only one of those homes had a mortgage, so I KNOW about renting, and all over the world at that! You did some marvelous things, practical and beautiful on the cheap.

    Love your blog!
    Kelley of Kelley Highway

    Reply
  2. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life

    I love it, you have definitely made the most of all the space and made it pretty at the same time. Great job. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

    Reply
  3. MJ

    …..and if you needed additional storage, you can utilize the space under the table you made……could velcro cloth around the edge of the table and hide the containers
    underneath or expose a stack of baskets or painted turquoise boxes and repeating the stencil you used…..you did an awesome job in your kitchen, right down to the rug!!!

    Reply
    1. The DIY Homegirl Post author

      Thanks for your comment! For now, I’m leaving the space under the table open; the room feels like it needs that airiness. But if I need more storage in the future, you’ve got some great tips!

      Reply
  4. Decorum DIYer

    I absolutely love this, just as I love everything you do. You are so resourceful and practical, yet your mange to create attractive and stylish spaces. Your apartment is really looking lovely. (Pssst…, I see you study a little feng shui as well. Mirror above stove. :D )

    Reply
    1. The DIY Homegirl Post author

      Your comments are always so kind. The mirror may have been a subconscious move? I’ve always liked mirrors above the stove, plus it’s directly across from the window. Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Michelle L

    What a great post with so many good ideas! I esp love your steel pegboard arrangement – looks fab! I had never seen steel pegboard before, must get me some. Thanks!

    Reply

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