Renter's Solutions

Decorating Kitchen Tips For Renters

When you rent a house or apartment, you are pretty much stuck with the way it looks from the time you move in. But there are some easy decorating tips to at least help hide the ugly parts.

Such as the countertops. I hate my countertops.

The other day I got out all my big butcher block cutting boards I’ve bought over the years. I have three big ones that are just alike.

I put two side by side, then added a vintage box at the end with bake ware stacked vertically that I use to cook in my Breville oven.

I also have cutting boards stacked against the wall to help give it a cohesive look. And the knife block kind of matches too.

I made the vintage box fit exactly in between the butcher block and the refrigerator, giving the illusion that it is just supposed to look that way.

If I didn’t have the vintage box there, your eye would automatically go to the empty spot where the cutting boards end. But with the vintage box added right in between the cutting board and the refrigerator, it kind of tricks the eye.

Here you can see where I pushed the left end of the butcher block all the way up to the wall on that end.

Of course the ugly counter tops are still there. Just not as noticeable.

There’s so many cutting boards laid on the counter top and leaned against the wall that that is what your eye zones in on. At least I think so anyway.

I also finally got around to putting new batteries into the lights I have stuck under the cabinets. I think I got those round lights at Lowes.

But I kept forgetting to get batteries for them when the old ones petered out.

I know, the butcher blocks weren’t deep enough to cover the counter top all the way out to the front edge, but that’s okay. I can live with that.

It’s all in what you can live with, isn’t it?

On the other side by the sink I didn’t use my third butcher block, but instead I used one of those cutting boards made out of clear acrylic.

At least the main part of the counter tops are covered and that’s good enough for the time being.

There’s that third one on top of the washer. And on top of that is a little lamp. I tried that third cutting board where the acrylic one is, but it just didn’t fit right.

That wicker box is full of all Charlie’s medications and supplements. I keep them all sorted for the times of day I give them to him.

Then on the opposite wall I have my kitchen cart and shelves.

Vintage boxes added to the mix adds a little bit of texture and history that gives a kitchen some personality.

What I would give to have that electrical outlet moved. But it is what it is and you work with what you’ve got when you rent.

One of these days I’m going to do something else with these counter tops. But for now I have much of the surface hidden. And the added plus is that I can cut food right there on the cutting boards.

If you rent your home it isn’t the end of the world if you end up with what you consider an unsightly kitchen. Do what you can to hide and DIY what you’re allowed to do by the landlord.

Wherever you live and whether you rent or own, that is your home. You want to do what you can to make it feel like a cozy home that you can love.

It doesn’t have to be perfect.

All over Blog Land I see perfect kitchens that just don’t do a thing for me. They’re all too similar. Too new and matchy-match. They look like a catalog for a home improvement store.

And frankly I just find that boring.

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28 Comments

  1. You always do a wonderful job with the spaces you’ve lived in. It’s a real talent! I like your butcher block counter top arrangement! And I understand fully why you wouldn’t want to invest money in a “rent”.

    If you think you’re going to stay where you are for a long while and feel like doing a little sleuthing – this is worth checking out. Sometimes stone warehouses/stores have big sales on slabs that are smaller, left over from larger projects – beautiful marbles, granites, etc. for a smaller kitchen like yours, you wouldn’t need a lot of material and they might have some pieces that would fit your bill perfectly. Explain you are a renter and your kitchen counter areas are small, do they have any leftover pieces or other more affordable options.

  2. I also am not fond of stainless steel appliances even though my daughter just replaced my old frig with one of the French door ones. We got the stainless because it was the only one with the double doors that would fit in the space our old frig sat. I hate how every fingerprint and smudge shows but since I didn’t spend the money for it I can hardly complain. My daughter wanted it for the configuration of the drawers inside and tho’t it would give us more space. It is deeper from front to back so there is a tad bit more room inside but not that much. Oh, well, I say–it’s only a refrigerator. I wipe it when I think of it and then just forget it. My countertops are laminate and I’m just fine with them although I spilled something caustic on one area soon after we’d had them installed and it ate away the top layer. I have to cover that up with a place mat. I would like to replace the countertops because of that. Also, they are blue and I’d like to go to a more neutral color but I’m just fine with a good laminate; mine have worn just fine and you don’t have to recondition them as with granite. My sister has quartz which is less upkeep than granite and she likes that.j

    I love those big cutting boards and what you’ve done with them on your counters. I think they are very decorative and nice-looking with all your other little additions. I think butcher block countertops would be okay, although they would have to be sanded down every now and then but that’s not hard to do.
    Your kitchen looks very homey and useable, Brenda.

    The last comment above from Frances has some good ideas, too, I think. If you haven’t already you should measure up the countertops and keep the footage handy in case you found something along the lines she suggests.

    1. I love your kitchen! It is beautiful, cozy and unique! Please do more blogs on small living, storage space etc. You always have good ideas.

  3. If you called local kitchen fabricators they may have various tops that were rejected by customers for some reason. You might find something to match your countertop measurements. They are usually very reasonably priced and you could take them with u if you relocate. Perhaps your daughter could help you find some lovely wood or composition stone rejects that you’d like through her contacts. Just ideas.

  4. I like the way you put the cutting boards on your counter ! I have a big cutting board on my counter and it is great for cooling hot items, that way you don’t have to worry about ruining the counter top !

  5. i love what you’ve done with your kitchen, and never get tired of photos! ( I’m a daily reader from way back) it makes me want to go buy some big cutting boards. Your daughter definitely got her talent for decorating from you! Thanks for today’s post, I love it!

    1. Those big cutting boards I ordered from Overstock.com some years ago. They’re very heavy and were around $50 a piece. I can’t even recall why I had to buy three. I think it was something about keeping the washer from moving around.

    2. For years I wondered if I was the only person in the world who didn’t care for stainless steel appliances. I figured that trends come and go, and stainless would eventually go the way of avocado green and harvest gold. Not so much, it’s REALLY hung in there. To each his own. Myself, I have bisque/almond colored appliances and I still like them, don’t care what anyone else thinks. But wow, trying to get an appliance in that color is like pushing through an act of Congress. I live in a small town in MN but have access to big box stores fairly close by. We had to order a new dishwasher and a microwave to get what we wanted when our old ones bit the dust. I don’t mind doing that, but the big problem is the lack of choices available. I’m dreading when our frig goes kaput because that’s the one item where I don’t want to ‘settle’ for what’s available. I’m afraid we may have to have one custom painted in order to get all the features I’d like (frig on top, freezer on the bottom with drawers and an icemaker/water in the door). That style isn’t anything unusual, they’re commonplace, just not in bisque. Yikes, I can imagine what that’ll cost in the end. So stupid, it’s just a neutral color after all, I’m not asking for hot pink. My kitchen is red and navy and I want my appliances off white, not white. Ok, I’ve ranted enough.

      Too bad there’s no Ikea close by. The countertop another reader suggested looks like a nice option.

  6. You posted above that “It doesn’t have to be perfect”..I think your kitchen and how you have decorated it, is “perfect” Great ideas…..

    1. Well thank you. But it’s far from perfect. Wouldn’t want it to be anyway. Someone lives here. In most of those fancy kitchens I see, it looks like no one actually lives there.

    1. My channel? I don’t put the ads on. An ad network does that. I’m not sure what you mean? I don’t have subscribe pop ups. In fact I don’t even have a subscribe to my email address. I do have Bloglovin on the sidebar.

  7. Your kitchen is so charming. I live in an apartment and our kitchen has granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. I think I’m the only person who isn’t impressed with granite counter tops. Stainless steel appliances are so impractical to keep clean. Every fingerprint shows up. When I wipe them down my sponge leaves a visible trail. I hate them. I try to personalize my kitchen with tole trays, cute little lamps, vintage linens and artwork I buy at thrift stores and flea markets. Your cute kitchen has been an inspiration for me.

    1. I’m not impressed with either granite countertops or stainless steel appliances. Had granite in TX and it chips. Stainless steel reminds me of the morgue.

  8. Your kitchen is cute and cozy…..you’ve done a wonderful job making it your own. I hate so many of the kitchens I see all over blogland, they just seem to be one copycat kitchen after another. I’d rather keep my dated tile countertops and maple cabinets!!

  9. I haven’t seen any in person, but I have seen bloggers and U-tubers who have put heavy-duty Contact paper (or as some call it today, removable wallpaper) on their countertops. Granted, this is generally in homes where the countertops don’t get a heavy duty daily workout like when you have a family (especially with children) in the home. Contact paper itself is not expensive compared to the “removable wallpaper” and you can order rolls of it in different sizes from Amazon. In my kitchen I inherited beige-ish and white sort of swirled laminate that has seen much better days. It’s filled with dings, dents and the surface is loaded with scratches. I wipe it down all the time and it still looks dull and dingy in places. I’ve considered one of the paint kits that are on the market to give it a granite or marble look, or trying the Contact paper route as my countertops don’t get a heavy-duty workout daily and when I cook I use a cutting board for all food prep, mixing ingredients in bowls, etc. As spring approaches, I get itchy to try tackling some long put-off home projects – like those countertops.

    1. Yes, I went the contact paper route, but it did not hold up well. I had a paint kit GrianiGranite sent me and it has held up pretty well for four years now. But I dropped something on the edge and chipped the laminate.

  10. I agree with the new kitchens. They really lack in the personal touch, but I’m finding a lot of decorating now does. I’m having a hard time finding blogs where people have their own stamp and not a store-bought look that looks like everyone else’s, or it’s all white or all grey or full of signs.

    Have you thought of getting new countertops? It’s really not that much if you bought a stocked laminate or stocked countertop and had it installed, especially since you don’t have a lot of it. If you are staying, I’d look into it. So what if you rent. It’s your home.