An Easy Rental Kitchen Redo

When I first moved from Scottsdale to Chicago, I was in love with the charming apartments in the Windy City. I was so used to cookie cutter homes and apartment complexes in Arizona that I became completely enamored with vintage Chicago walkups, and have lived in 2 since I moved here.

Renovate a rental kitchen

Our current apartment is in such a good location and is such a great price that we decided to stay another year! But under one condition–the rental kitchen had to get redone. Luckily, our landlord is cool with us painting, so my roommate and I put together a plan and went for it.


How to redo a rental kitchen


How to paint a rental kitchen

TOTALLY different, right?! Here’s what we did:

We painted the cabinets black
We used a Kilz primer that the guy at Home Depot recommended (1 coat), and then painted with Behr Marquee paint (I don’t remember the exact color, but I know I asked the paint guy for plain black). We did use the eggshell enamel on these instead of having them be super glossy,  because we wanted them to look understated.

How to revamp a rental kitchen in 6 hours

We installed cabinet pulls
It was driving me absolutely crazy not to have cabinet pulls, so I drilled holes into the cabinets and screwed in the knobs. Don’t they look so much better?! These cabinet pulls were actually really inexpensive but they look great. They also come in gold!

Does marble contact paper work?

We put down marble contact paper
After seeing quite a few success stories with marble contact paper online, I just knew I had to try it. We’ve been cooking and using our kitchen as normal for a few weeks now, and the paper looks great. It truly does look real! And I’ve spilled on it quite a few times by now, and it looks good as new. I highly recommend this paper! And make sure you get a smoothing tool and an x-acto knife as well–these were extremely helpful.

Also, as for taking the paper off: I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve heard from many people that you can take a hair dryer to it and it’ll peel right off! Good for rental kitchen, right?

How to revamp a rental kitchen in 6 hours

We rolled out a rug
Doesn’t the rug just tie everything in together? I will admit – there are more than a few stains on it already, but it was $40 at Ross so I’m not complaining too much. Plus, the stains are barely noticeable!

Using marble contact paper in a rental kitchen -- it works!

Other miscellaneous things
I turned an apothecary jar into a designated Skinny Pop jar (we eat a lot of Skinny Pop in this house). I put up a marble whiteboard so we’ll always know what the dishwasher’s status is. I painted our utensil holder gold using Martha Steward liquid gilding (this stuff is insanely amazing, and you only need that little bottle). And, I added a spice rack for easy access while cooking.

How to renovate a rental kitchen

I am not exaggerating when I say that I am obsessed with our new kitchen. It just feels so much more sleek and modern, and I can barely remember what our rental kitchen looked like before!

Questions? Leave them in the comments below! How would you redo your rental kitchen?

Save for later:
This kitchen remodel only took 6 hours! Crazy what a coat of paint can do....