Apartment Kitchen Makeover

Completing my kitchen's decor has been an ongoing project for quite some time now. I actually tried out a few different color schemes before deciding a mostly white palette would be best. And boy, was it.

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I won't lie, this makeover was a challenge because I live in an apartment and can't alter the cabinetry. But I did find a way to visually alter the cabinets without doing any harm. Find out how I completed this kitchen makeover after the jump.

Originally, I was trying to figure a color scheme that would coordinate with the living room, which was first decorated with purples and magenta. That was a major toughie. As you may recall, my counters feature a retro pattern of mostly mint green squares:

apartment rental kitchen makeover all-white Formica countertop MCM vintage retro pattern seafoam gray squares The Decor Guru

I channeled Tim Gunn’s mantra as much as possible, but just could not make it work. Once I restyled my living room with the turquoise transformation, it was easy to plan a coordinating color scheme for the kitchen. I continued the same scheme of blue-greens and red… However, I learned that unless done in the proper doses, bright colors can feel overwhelming. Especially in a cozy space such as my kitchen:

apartment rental kitchen makeover white contact paper drawer pulls handles silver teal aqua all-white neutral DIY decor stove oven pizza tin magnetic bulletin board Dollar Store red turquoise teal seafoam The Decor Guru

I tweaked the colors in my living room to feature green-blue, gray and less saturated aquas to tone down all the brightness. This also led me to redecorate the kitchen with a new agenda: less color and more white, which leads to a more open, airy vibe.

CABINETS & DRAWERS

My first (and biggest) project was to revamp the orange-y cabinetry and drawers. Since this is a rental, I didn’t even want to ask for permission to paint these. (And even if I could, I’m still burnt out from painting all that wooden furniture this summer.) This meant the alternative was to use white contact paper. I wonder if they don’t make this stuff like they used to, because it did not seem all that sticky when I was applying it. Which is great, if it means it can be removed easily when it’s time to move out.

I covered the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and sides of the cabinets with the contact paper. I measured each so I could cut out each piece. Still, I had to make some adjustments, and an Exacto knife was great to cut the excess from the edges. I used less than 2 rolls of the contact paper. Also included in this step of the revamp were drawer pulls and handles. Oddly, my kitchen never included these.

apartment rental kitchen makeover white contact paper drawer pulls handles silver teal aqua all-white neutral DIY decor stove oven pizza tin magnetic bulletin board Dollar Store The Decor Guru

 

apartment rental kitchen makeover white contact paper drawer pulls handles silver teal aqua all-white neutral DIY decor stove oven pizza tin magnetic bulletin board Dollar Store The Decor Guru

WALL PASS-THROUGH:

Some people had suggested I fill up this pass-through in the wall with shelves or a piece of painted plywood. But I always liked this cut-out, especially since it’s the only “window” I have in the kitchen. So, I installed bamboo matchstick blinds here, which allows me to leave this space open or closed as I choose. (This is AWESOME when washing dishes as I can view the TV.) Even when closed, the blinds still allow for some light to filter through.

apartment rental kitchen makeover white contact paper drawer pulls handles silver teal aqua all-white neutral DIY decor stove oven pizza tin magnetic bulletin board Dollar Store wall pass through cutout The Decor Guru

WALL DECOR:

The blank wall in the kitchen has been a source of questioning and experimentation. My most recent project was creating a magnetic wall display by repurposing pizza cooking sheets, Mod Podge and scrapbook paper. The manic, color-loving part of me first went into this project and chose teal, seafoam and red paper.

I really dig these colors together and find they add to the modern, retro vibe. Also, I think incorporating circles and round shapes in the midst of a lot of angles and lines helps balance the energy. BUT… this made for color overload in my cozy kitchen when paired with the accessories.

Plan B was to use the other side of the pans that were bare. This wall now has a sense of unity and even helps create more spaciousness by reflecting some light.

apartment rental kitchen makeover white contact paper drawer pulls handles silver teal aqua all-white neutral DIY decor stove oven pizza tin magnetic bulletin board Dollar Store The Decor Guru

ACCESSORIES:

I kept color in accessories like magnets, potholders, towels, and mats/plates. I added more chrome/metallic influence in with items such as the utensil holder, hooks and jars. I also purchased a couple white bowls from Big Lots for fruit.

Redecorating my kitchen was soooo much easier than trying to match with the previous main color in my living room, purple/magenta. I now have a sense of flow between the two rooms, which is a great trick for interior decorating but also key in the layout of my place, since the kitchen is fairly open.

Be sure to check out my update on these cabinets after removing the contact paper a year and a half later here.

What do you think of the makeover? Have you ever used contact paper to revamp an accessory or furniture?

Thanks for visiting! Let’s stay connected!

Linked to:

Funky Junk Interiors: Party Junk

Be Different… Act Normal: Show & Tell Saturday

VMG206: DIY Sunday Showcase Link Party

Nifty Thrifty Things: Nifty Thrifty Sunday

Flamingo Toes: Think Pink Sunday

Thrifty Decor Chick: Before and After Party

12 Comments on Apartment Kitchen Makeover

  1. Very cool. Living in a rental is difficult for a DIYer, but you did great!

  2. Looks pretty darn good to me! Renting can be frustrating when you wanna try new things. I’m pinning this to our talent board! Thanks for sharing on DIY Sunday Showcase! Hope ya come back again this week!

    Shelly
    minettesmaze.blogspot.com

  3. I have an almost identical kitchen with the same UGLY cabinets and I’m really struggling to come up with a solution. I think I’m 100% on board with what you’ve done in this one and I just had one question – how did you install the handles over the contact paper? Or did you just cut really precisely around the hardware?

  4. Some interesting results! Thanks for sharing your process with us!

  5. What brand of contract paper did you use?

  6. Hello, this is great! very creative! for the knobs did you actually drill into the cabinets (landlord wouldn’t be happy if I did that in my apartment), or did you just glue/stick them on the cabinets?

    • Thanks! Yes, I did just drill into the cabinet doors. I should’ve asked, but I didn’t. 🙂 I did leave the knobs so I assume they were OK with me upgrading their kitchen for no charge. It can’t hurt to ask your landlord, though! They may just be OK with it!

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