How To Update Your Rental Kitchen

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Wrestling with a less than ideal rental kitchen? Here are 10 handy tips for making the most of your (lack of) space.

Rental kitchens are not known for their idyllic makeup. From dim lighting to a lack of storage options, they can be a source of everyday dissatisfaction.

However, with a little kitchen-whispering, you can coax more usability from your space. Here are 10 quick + easy tips, ranging from storage to aesthetic, to set you on your way.

Change-up your look with easy to apply wallpapers. Image source L to R:, and


Line your shelves

This is a sleek + simple solution to dingy cabinets. It keeps them neat + chic without tempting the wrath of your landlord. Select from a range of wallpapers and adhesive coverings.

This injects pops of colour + personality into your space – understated or brazen according to your taste.

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Change up your cabinet handles

Go shopping for new hardware for your cabinet doors. It’s amazing what a difference this can make to the overall look of your kitchen. And there are plenty of cheerful-on-the-wallet options available.

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Remove your cabinet doors altogether

So you can’t stand the sight of those bland pine panels or (worse) that wood veneer? Get handy with your screwdriver and remove them for a fresh open-cubby look. Don’t throw them away! You’ll need to attach them again before you leave but in the meantime clean-lined kitchen shelving is uber-chic.

Make-good the edging/cover the holes with wallpaper or adhesive covers (see above).

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Under-shelving is a common problem in rental kitchens.

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Wire shelf inserts make a great way for increasing the space available. Hook them under your shelves, over your doors or stand them over your plates to maximise the useable space.

Magnetic knife holder and metal utensil holders make great functional wall art. Images sourced L to R: and

Consider a magnetic knife board to free up your counter space.

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Add hooks to the insides of or beneath your cabinets. Ideal for teacups and mugs.

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Think vertically – install a series of hooks on your ceiling or walls to utilise this hanging space. This is a visually impacting way to display your pots + pans for a rustic aesthetic.

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One old-school lighting fixture in the middle of your kitchen is hardly ideal for julienning the carrots and lemongrass for your salmon fragrant broth. 😉

Increase the wattage

A wattage of 80 – 100w is recommended for the kitchen.

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Add swing-arm task lights

Add designated task lights above your counters. A couple of swing-arm lamps add vintage accents and increase your functionality ten-fold. You don’t need to hardwire these in necessarily – just ensure some care is taken to secure the cords out of the way.

From L to R: Reid Desk Lamp by Cafe Lighting, Stanton Desk Lamp by Viore Design, Ext Arm Table Lamp, 54cm by Stoneleigh & Roberson and Zig-Zag Table Lamp, 80cm by Stoneleigh & Roberson, available online at Zanui.

Install LED ribbon lighting under your cabinetry

If you’re a little handy with a drill, LED downlights are to-die-for. I love mine. But I didn’t install them. I’m smart enough to realise that DIY with electricals is not for me.

If you’re the same, outsource the install or opt instead for stick-on battery-operated lights – you can buy them in most supermarkets.

La-voila! There you have it. Not too taxing on the grey matter we hope.

Happy renting! 😀

Featured images sourced L to R:,, and

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.