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10 steps for reinventing your rented kitchen

Quick tips and design solutions to make your rented kitchen feel like home, without breaking the budget or annoying your landlord

10 steps for reinventing your rented kitchen

In a rented property, the kitchen is often the first place you want to create a warm, inviting feel, but tenant restrictions can sometimes cramp your style. However, with a few clever design tricks, you can transform a rented kitchen into a welcoming space while keeping your landlord happy.

The Island

Get creative and upcycle

Things aren’t what they seem in this quirky kitchen. A vintage mangle has become a table, a fruit crate and wire racks are now unusual shelving, and even the lights are upturned buckets. 

With some clever thinking, flea market booty can transform a bland rental space into something eclectic and characterful. The beauty of a rented space is that the pressure’s off: you can’t redesign the units or layout, so why not just have fun with it?

Tour the whole of this special little home on a river island

Osea Kitchen

Add warm lighting

There’s no reason why a rented place can’t feel like home, and the easiest way to turn your kitchen into a warm and inviting hub is to add cosy lighting. 

If your rented kitchen doesn’t have any worktop lighting, think laterally and add some quirky lamps. The desk lamps in this scheme add directional light and give the kitchen a retro look.

Browse these table lamps for ideas

Family kitchen

Inject some instant colour

Just because you’re not allowed to paint the kitchen walls or choose units in the shade of your dreams, it doesn’t mean you can’t add your own personality to the space. 

Brightly coloured accessories are an integral part of your renter’s toolkit. The interesting tins, signs and bright food blender in this kitchen have added warmth and colour to an otherwise plain room.

See more contemporary kitchens

Shabby-chic Style Kitchen

Buy freestanding units

This kitchen makes use of interesting freestanding furniture, which gives the room some real personality. The great thing about using freestanding pieces is that you can take them with you when you move. If you only have room for one thing, it’s worth introducing a vintage piece to give the space a stamp of your own.


French Grey Three Ways

Invest in a portable kitchen island

A central workspace can instantly turn a cold kitchen into a homely space. Not all kitchen islands are built in, and there are plenty of portable ideas available. The large butcher’s block in this kitchen gives it a farmhouse look, and adds an extra worktop where the cook can prepare food while chatting to guests and family. 

The prices and sizes of kitchen islands range enormously, so if you hunt around you’ll find something for any kitchen and budget. Try browsing eBay for interesting alternatives, or look out for open-shelved sideboards or high tables. Just like the freestanding units, an island is something you can take with you when you move.

Traditional Painted Kitchen


Say it with flowers and fruit

Sometimes, the simplest things, such as the smell of fresh flowers, will make your rented kitchen feel like home. Accessories in this kitchen are limited, but the vase of flowers and bowl of fruit help make it a warm and inviting space. 

Indoor plants are another great way to add natural warmth to a space and you can use recycled jars and tins as vases.

Copper/Bronze Globe Pendant Lights

Dress up your table

If your rented home has a kitchen table, it’s easy to make it your own. A beautiful tablecloth will cover an ugly piece of furniture and hide any imperfections. It has the added bonus of protecting the table from knocks and stains, too.

Attractive dining chairs can also add interest, and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Cheap chairs can be transformed just by painting them in your favourite colour.

Inspired to paint some furniture? See how effective it can be

Talavera Traditional Tile Decals

Revamp outdated tiles

Don’t like the tiles? No problem. Hunt around for pretty tile stickers. There are some great ones on the market nowadays. This splashback has been revamped into a wall of talavera-style tiles.


Eco Friendly Holiday Home

Pimp your shelves

Found some tiles you really love, but can’t put them on the wall? Don’t let that stop you. These box shelves have been jazzed up with gorgeous ceramics. Adhere them to a wooden panel at the back of your shelving that you can easily detach and take with you when you move.

This idea works well with wallpaper, too, or even just paint.

Classic Farmhouse with a Twist

Hang shelves on a cupboard door

How’s this for a great walk-in pantry? Rental contracts often prevent tenants from drilling into walls, which can limit your shelving options. But a cupboard door might be an easier place to add some careful screw fittings without causing too much damage. Invest in a good-quality wood filler to touch it up later, and ask your landlord which paint colour was used just in case. 

Alternatively, an over-door storage rack will work just as well and won’t make any holes at all. Make the space even more attractive by choosing products with great packaging, or decant your food items into attractive jars and tins.

Amanda Pollard, Houzz Contributor


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