"Temporary" and "fabulous" are the name of the game to create a stylish kitchen space that you can change back later. (A decorative sink backsplash applied via removable decals? Why, yes!)

Looking to refresh your apartment’s kitchen without making permanent changes?

Many landlords will allow renters to make cosmetic changes to apartment units provided the residents change those elements back when vacating the space. These requirements will likely be spelled out in the lease.

Because of the expense and effort required, however, you may find it compelling to think about updating your kitchen decor in ways that are more easily adjusted. You want a cool kitchen, after all, but you may not want to expend a lot of extra effort – and you want your security deposit back when you move out.

Examples of vintage-type drawer or closet pulls
Examples of vintage-type drawer or cabinet pulls

Replace cabinet and drawer pulls
Maybe your kitchen decor just doesn’t suit your style. Whether you dream of a retro kitchen or prefer modern, upscale kitchen amenities, an easy fix is to find new hardware for your cabinets. It’s important to find new knobs and pulls that can easily fit on your cabinets and don’t require drilling new holes or other permanent changes. (Make sure you keep your old hardware so you can put it back on when you move out!) Once you know the types of hardware you are looking for and how many pieces you need, have fun shopping for vintage reproductions or a sleek mod look.

Cool blues at 1401 South State in Chicago
Cool blues at 1401 South State in Chicago

Add a sassy splash
You can transform your apartment kitchen by putting up an easy-to-apply decal backsplash. One of the coolest we’ve seen are these decals that look like mosaic glass tiles. These appliques are affordable and relatively easy to install, as they use self-adhesive. Be sure to select a removable style, rather than a permanent decal, if you plan to remove the decor later without damage. You can even order custom colors to match other decorative elements in your dining area.

Red and black accents bring kitchen and living areas together at Main Street Village in Irvine, California
Red and black accents bring kitchen and living areas together at Main Street Village in Irvine, California

Make a color swap
Speaking of color, you can give your kitchen a completely fresh feel simply by changing out the color scheme. Try this: select both a main and an accent color, and then commit to adding as many smaller elements as you can which reflect these shades. Try red and yellow, brown and pink, turquoise and orange or whatever whets your color appetite. Check out these colorful kitchens for color combo ideas. Once you choose your two colors, incorporate them into your linens, small appliances, canisters, teakettle, paper towel holder, fruit bowl — anywhere you can make a big splash with a new color!

Snag some small artwork
Don’t think that artwork is only meant for your main living areas. The kitchen is a great place to tuck in tiny pieces of art that add an element of surprising beauty to a utilitarian space. Etsy is a great place to search for small canvas paintings. A pair or trio of images will look great hanging under your upper cabinets. A series of photos can also add interest to the kitchen. Frame several of your favorite 4×6 photo prints, or take photos of fruits, veggies and foods you love.

Update counter-top accessories
You can create an updated kitchen look with new accessories. Something as simple as tossing your old wooden spoons or dish rack and opting for stainless steel versions can have a big impact. Changing the finish of utilitarian tools like your blender, coffee maker, toaster, knife block, spoon rest and other items will give you a clean, consistent look and totally change the feel of your kitchen decor. Don’t forget to consider kitchen furniture like barstools, lamps and task lighting, as well.

Photo credits: Shutterstock / Jorge Salcedo, Tom Mc Nemar; AG.com



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