Rental Kitchen Makeover: Leea’s Lovely Little Budget

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We just received this simply lovely budget kitchen makeover from reader Leea in central Mexico. She has a rental kitchen, so she couldn’t change much, and yet she made a stunning difference — on a budget too! Read on for dramatic before and after photos, as well as Leea’s budget makeover tips for rental kitchens.

Kitchen location: Central Mexico
Rent or own? Rent
Total cost of makeover: $150

Leea says:

The kitchen was dark and depressing, not to mention cumbersome. Using glossy white paint added in extra light. Naturally I could not undertake anything too radical with a rental so I was limited to few small simple upgrades that were affordable.

Here’s a detailed list of the upgrades:

  • Painting the kitchen ceiling, walls and floor cost $40
  • The mirror backsplash was added for $10
  • Homemade vintage-style blue shelf was made from a piece of wood bought at a lumberyard and the hardware came from a small local hardware store for $4
  • The curtain and tea towel were made from matching vintage apple fabric found on eBay. Cost was $15
  • Floating shelves from local Home Depot at $15 apiece
  • Ikea fixtures ordered online via eBay for $50
  • Total renovation cost: $149

And here are a few tips for those of you who rent and might want to do something similar.

  • Make sure you are not spending too much money on fixtures that are not removable in a rental. Adding in a few floating shelves can do wonders in a tiny kitchen with no cupboards.
  • You can get cheap and personal shelves by buying raw wood from a hardware store or lumberyard and painting it with a bright accent color. Get old brackets from antique stores.
  • Most small kitchens are dark; glossy white paint brightens even the tiniest spaces.
  • Most kitchens in Mexico are barebones, with no built-in cabinets of any kind. It was quite a challenge to work around this without installing cupboards. A long narrow table against a back wall is an easy way to store a few things.
  • For food storage I had to use a plastic bin to protect dry goods from moisture and bugs. Getting a brightly colored one cheers it up a bit.

What a wonderfully charming makeover, Leea! Thank you so much for sharing it.

For more good ideas on sprucing up a rental kitchen, see this post:

Want to show us your own kitchen?

If you have a kitchen design tip, a kitchen tour, or a kitchen makeover or remodel, we’d love to see it! We’re always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.