DIY & Crafts Interior Design

Simple DIY Projects to Transform Your Rental Kitchen

Modern kitchen

Making a rental property feel like home can seem nearly impossible when there are limits to any changes you can make. Rental kitchens are particularly difficult spaces because they are often small, basic, and outdated.

Use these DIY kitchen hacks to make the most of your rental kitchen space.

Kitchen island

If your rental kitchen is low on prep space, invest in a kitchen island for added room (this can double as an eating space if your rental doesn’t have a dining room or space in the kitchen), or a butcher’s block if your kitchen is too small for a regular island. Make your own island from stock cabinets from your local hardware store and a length of countertop. The great thing about this DIY project is that you can take it with you when you move, so you’re not throwing money into a house that isn’t yours.

Modern kitchen
Image via Modernize

Wall (and ceiling) storage

Most rental kitchens are small and lacking in storage space, so make the best of what space you have by hanging pots and pans from the ceiling, storing cookbooks and dry ingredients on floating shelves, and hanging wine glasses from the underside of cabinets above your countertops. Make every surface count to maximize your storage.

Kitchen storage ideas
Image via The Kitchn

Vertical garden

Adding a functional garden wall to your kitchen does double DIY duty by saving space and adding color. Choose easily maintained, small herbs that will prove useful in your own cooking and plant them in Mason jars or recycled cardboard planters. Hang them vertically on the kitchen wall or place them in wall mounted spice racks for a creative alternative to windowsill gardens.

Live wall in kitchen
Image via The Huffington Post

Chalkboard paint wall

If your rental agreement allows you to paint the walls, get creative and use chalkboard paint in your kitchen. A coat of paint and some creativity can turn a drab wall into a command center, grocery list, or even a work of art. The best part? You can change your wall art every week if you want.


Spruce up your kitchen’s old drawers, cabinets, and even sink with updated fittings. Replace fittings rather than entire units for a low cost, simple solution to outdated storage units and prep areas. These can also be taken with you when you choose to move house, so you are making an investment rather than wasting money.

Throw rugs

Cover up unsightly, old linoleum and drab flooring in your rental kitchen with colorful throw rugs. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, make your own rug from strips of cotton jersey, but feel free to cut DIY corners here and thrift a rug or two from your local flea market. You really can’t get easier when it comes to brightening up a tired kitchen.

Ready to get to work? Grab a hammer and make your rental kitchen your own.

Discover Apartments Near You

At, the perfect apartment nearby is just a click away.


About the author

Nadia Balint

Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

  • When in a rental apartment, it can be hard to justify changing the kitchen. These DIY fixes are perfect because most of them aren’t permanent. You can easily put the kitchen back the way it was when you first moved in.