5 Ways to Trick Out Your Apartment Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most frequently used areas of the apartment. Some may even call it the hub of the family (and yes, by family, that includes any roommates you live with). Unfortunately, the kitchen spaces in many rentals are notoriously dark, dingy, or just plain boring.

Living in a rental may rule out any hardcore renovations, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t trick out your kitchen. There are many little DIY projects you can do and small things you can buy to make your kitchen a better place. These tips are so good that your guests may never know that you’re renting!

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Mobile Kitchen Island
Craving the convenience and aesthetic pleasure of a kitchen island? Unfortunately, if you’re a renter, then you’re SOL when it comes to any major renovations. Few landlords would appreciate their tenants gutting their kitchen, particularly for something like an island addition.

But don’t worry, there is some good news! Many home companies have taken note and have made portable kitchen islands to help you with every cooking need. They come in all different sizes and price ranges, offering various features from built-in cutting boards to little wine racks. The best part about the mobile islands is that they’re on wheels, so if you have a smaller kitchen or just want a change of scenery, you can simply move it against the wall and out of your way.

You can find portable islands just about anywhere that sells home items. Invade your local Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Home Depot, or Crate & Barrel to scope them out. After all, it all depends on what kind of island you’re looking for and your budget.

Disposable Backsplashes
Creative and unique backsplashes can really add a lovely touch to any kitchen. In a room that’s normally built for utility, it’s nice to have a pop of color and design every now and again. But intricate tile backsplashes are an elaborate project that costs quite a bit of money.

The solution? Disposable backsplashes! You can create these using a number of methods. The most hands-off method includes purchasing disposable wallpaper in a pleasant print and simply pasting it on the wall. If you want to do something more elaborate, you can buy contact paper, cut out some nice shapes, and then paste them to the wall to create your own pattern. Other contact papers even look like fake tiles! But no matter which method you choose, you end up with a more interesting kitchen.

Aside from just being aesthetically pleasing, disposable backsplashes allow you to easily remove any stains that might have gotten on the wall during the cooking process. No fuss, no muss!

Play With Storage  Spaces
If you live in a smaller space, you begin to notice every inch of storage space not being used. Have cabinets without shelving? You may find yourself despairing over the waste of storage space every time you look into your overcrowded cabinet to grab a mug. And where are you going to put all those spices when there is hardly any room for your plates?

Luckily, there are many ways to play with kitchen storage space and make everything fit. First and foremost, remember to arrange items in a way that makes sense, not in the way other people do it. Sometimes, you’ll be able to fit your spices more efficiently in a drawer than up in the cabinets. Sometimes it just makes sense to keep the pots and pans in the cabinets, while the cups and plates go down below. It might seem odd compared to other kitchens, but if it makes sense for you and the space you’re working with, then do it.

For cabinets without shelving, be sure to purchase some portable shelving racks from your local home goods store. This will give you double the space with little to no hassle. It’s an absolute must if you have a small area brimming with excess kitchenware.

Put It On Display
If you’re an organizational freak and want to add a fresh look to your kitchen, remove the cabinet doors for open storage. This simple change is a great replacement for a complete cabinet change and you can always draw on inspiration from the cabinet experts. It energizes the room with a refreshing, county-esque look and shows off your exceptional organization skills. This is also a fantastic way to display any nice kitchen knick-knacks or china you may own.

Before doing this, it might be best to ask for the landlord’s permission. You can easily add the doors back onto the cabinets, but giving your landlord a heads up about this change will keep him or her from receiving a shocking surprise the next time they visit the house.

It’s Magnetic
The best rule-of-thumb when thinking about revitalizing the kitchen: Get as much as possible off of the countertops. Cluttered counters are hard on the eyes, make things more difficult to find, and reduces the amount of free space you have for actual cooking.

When it comes to efficient kitchen storage, magnetic is the way to go. Magnetic knife holders are easily mounted to the wall with little damage done and will keep some of your most essential cooking tools within arm’s reach. There is no more need to take up precious counter space with a knife block and no more need to dig through ten million drawers before finding the pile of knives you remember placing elsewhere.  Just reach for them as you wish!

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Photo Credit: Rilane, Diane ReevesHome DepotLeite’s Culinaria, Flickr, Urban Perch

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