This Bright and Colorful Rental Kitchen Makeover Cost Less than $40
A great apartment is hard to come by, so when you find one for rent in an area that you love (and can actually afford!) with almost every single box checked —you take it, no matter the color of the floor in the kitchen! Because there is almost always a creative way to solve your rental woes.
We were really lucky to have found an apartment with a newer kitchen, because many of the “vintage” or “packed with charm” listings we were searching had gross, old “original” kitchens. While an original kitchen may be appealing to some, I had a baby who was just starting to eat solids so, tasked with having to cook new and healthy foods for a new, tiny human, I was very focused on having an updated, functional kitchen.
The pros: I loved the fact that all the appliances and cupboards were new (or updated) and white — I could work with that. And I loved the (very typical for Chicago) walk-in pantry that housed the refrigerator. The con: The red and black floor. It obviously wouldn’t be a roadblock in affecting my ability to cook nutritious food for my family — it just didn’t fit with the vibe of the rest of our house. So we signed the lease and I made a mental note to start thinking of creative ways I could cover it up.
We’d been living in the apartment for more than two years, and the rest of our house was bright and colorful, while our kitchen was red and black and beige and very contrast-y. I decided it was high time to change it up and, because I still didn’t have a clue as to what to do to the floor, I started with the walls. I got lucky and happened to find a gallon of Behr’s Swiss Coffee at Home Depot in the returns section for $14. While it wasn’t the exact shade of paint I set out for, I couldn’t turn down a deal that good. I used it as inspiration to see just how little I could spend on my makeover. I ended up having to buy some hardware, but everything else came from other areas my house, or from friends, and my grand total was just under $40!
We had a really long farm table that never looked quite looked right in our dining room. After taking a few measurements, I realized I could make it fit over the radiator in the kitchen, providing more workspace all while concealing the radiator.
My dad came over and helped me remove the back two legs and cut out a portion of the apron, allowing us to slide the table over the top of the radiator so that it sat flush with the wall. It is super sturdy and I think it looks like it was always meant to be there! It’s definitely my new favorite spot to pull up a chair to sit and work.
The biggest issue I had with the kitchen was the red floor, so I began to “shop my house” and discovered that the rug that I’d purchased for our bedroom last summer was the perfect size! After swapping out the bedroom rug (and shuffling all the other rugs in the house to different rooms), my red floor problem was solved! You can still see the black border in some areas, but I’m okay with it! I brought in a few other smaller yellow rugs from the back porch to cover three red areas the larger rug didn’t cover.
Buy the rug: Lansing Hand-Woven Cotton White Area Rug, from $42
I know rugs in kitchens are super controversial, but my experience has been great! I vacuum it often, and try to be mindful about potential drips and spills. I’ll probably end up laying down a runner in front of the sink and stove area at some point.
The other purchase I made was for plate hangers. I have a pretty extensive collection of vintage platters so I just picked out a few in my favorite colors and hung them on the wall in a cluster for a nice dose of color.
I used a few leftover rolls of Hygge & West temporary wallpaper from a previous makeover project we had done at our old house to recover the faux tile backsplash. The patterns and color are just light enough to add interest without being too busy. If you look closely, you can see that I got a little out of control with the removable wallpaper and covered my Instant Pot. I actually really love it because I think it makes it blend in a bit better than it did before.
I had some gorgeous fabric from a nonprofit called Hand & Cloth, and was able to hang it in the doorway to help conceal the dark abyss of the pantry. Yet another way to add color to an otherwise all-white room!
I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out — especially considering I only spent a whopping $38! The red is gone and it finally fits in with the rest of our house. I’m not sure which was more satisfying: the challenge of being thrifty, or walking into a bright and colorful kitchen!
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!