If you’re a renter, there may be a lot you don’t like about your current kitchen, but you don’t necessarily have the resources (or permission!) to changes things up. Your options? You either live with things as-is or you get creative and craft a space that works for you, makes the most of what you have, and doesn’t break any of your landlord’s rules.
Want to do the latter? Check out how these 10 renters made the most of their kitchens.
1. They add storage wherever they can.
To make their 225-square-foot New York City apartment more livable, Courtney Duffey and her carpenter boyfriend DIY’d this toe kick drawer. You may need to get permission from your landlord before you do this, but it’s hard to imagine a landlord who will say no to extra storage.
Read more: Can You Spot the Ingenious Storage Space in This Kitchen?
2. They colorblock their cabinets.
If you have old cabinets, your landlord will probably be pretty cool with letting you paint them. Instead of a standard paint job, Philip transformed the wood cabinetry in his Boston apartment with a coat of inky black paint “dipped” halfway up the length of the doors.
See the whole home: Easygoing, Nautical New England Style in Boston on Apartment Therapy
3. They bounce around the light.
In Maggie and Lucas’ Manhattan apartment, the two creatively minded professionals hung a mirror over a mini work station. Even though they have two decently sized windows in the kitchen, the mirror helps to reflect the light. Why? The more light, the bigger a space will feel.
Take a tour: A Railroad Apartment In Alphabet City on Apartment Therapy
4. They buy a moveable island.
Blogger Lee Tilghman outfitted the kitchen of her Los Angeles apartment with a small butcher block island. It wasn’t exactly a perfect fit for the kitchen, but the two tiers add storage and the wheels allow for it to be rolled out of the space when company comes.
See more: A Wellness Blogger’s Clean & Minimal Los Angeles Studio on Apartment Therapy
5. They steal space from other rooms.
When Danielle moved into her Montreal apartment, she couldn’t help but be slightly embarrassed by her small, old kitchenette. Now, though, we’re totally jealous of it. She brilliantly stole some space from the adjacent room to extend her countertop and create a bigger work area.
Snoop around: Danielle’s Bright & Multi-functional Top Floor Apartment at Apartment Therapy
6. They hang a pot rack.
With limited cabinet space, California renter Kym Pesola took her pot-and-pan collection to new heights with a hanging pot rack over her butcher block counter. Get a pot rack that hangs from the wall instead of the ceiling if you’re worried about patching the holes when you leave.
For more pics: A “Laid Back Glamorous” San Fransisco Studio on Apartment Therapy
7. They build their own pantry.
Blogger Michelle Lopez and her partner Erlend (along with their cat, Penny), call a cozy 750-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn their home. An avid baker, Michelle needed a spot to store all her equipment and ingredients. The solution? Three tiers of exposed shelving housing all her pantry staples.
See the whole home: A Food Blogger’s Bright Modern Apartment on Apartment Therapy
8. They hang bright art.
Design-savvy North Carolina renter Kate Sykes added a dose of color and charm to her all-white kitchen with a piece of ruby-red art over her sink. While the kitchen isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of for your favorite screen prints, it is one of the highest-trafficked areas in your home — so why not? It’s especially fun if you don’t have a window over your sink and you want something to look at while you do the dishes.
Take a look: A Textile Lover’s Print & Pattern Paradise in Raleigh on Apartment Therapy
9. They use their cabinets as a bookshelf.
New York couple Tucker and Adam utilized the top of cabinets in their open-concept kitchen as a storage space for some of their massive book collection. The look is practical and charming.
See the whole home: An Industrial Modern Apartment in Brooklyn on Apartment Therapy
10. They pile in the plants.
The quickest way to make an apartment feel like home is to add a slew of greenery. It brings instant life to any space — especially a kitchen, as evidenced by the bright and lively Chicago apartment of Joe and Kim Klomes.
See the whole home: A Bright Organic Modern Apartment in Chicago’s Logan Square on Apartment Therapy
Are you a renter? What sort of brilliant storage or decorating ideas have you come up with for your kitchen?