5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen

Stephanie Hill shares 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

Style Blogger Stephanie Hill shares 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

But it’s a rental, do I really need to upgrade the kitchen too?

Fashion Blogger Stephanie Hill reveals 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

I know it sounds like a big undertaking, maybe even daunting, especially if you’re like me decorating so many other aspects of your space. But I’ve come to the realization that no room should be left behind – including the kitchen. As Danielle, my interior designer, has consistently pointed out: each room plays a significant part in the entire design aspect and should be treated with a careful, curated and smart approach. As in, it doesn’t have to be so costly…here are five little ways I upgraded my outdated, rental kitchen!

Stephanie Hill shares 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

1. Gallery Wall

When I visited Coqui Coqui in Merida I was in love with the gallery wall I saw there. As you may know Merida holds such a special place in my heart, so when I came home I had to figure out a way to incorporate a similar design within my own space, specifically my breakfast nook. After doing some research, I discovered Framebridge a chic and easy way to professionally frame your memories, images or artwork. It was a quick photo drop in, load, frame and order. I couldn’t believe how simple it was and the shipping was complimentary. I was able to create everything from my laptop. I purchased my botanical prints for less than $150 (click here) and shipped them directly to Framebridge where I selected frames and matting. 

Once I received my beautiful collection from Framebridge, I quickly made Danielle aware because I wanted it installed immediately! She advised that, “When you use a series of small individually framed pieces, space them minimally apart from one another and hang it in a large block on a wall. This creates a big visual impact. It also creates the illusion and feel of a window…” Visually stunning, I love what this has done to my tiny corner.

I’ve used Framebridge three more times since then. It’s an incredible service that’s easy to use.

As a special bonus for my readers, use code TheStyleBungalow to take 15% off your first purchase!

2. Build a Banquette

Since my kitchen was already a tight space, my breakfast nook next to it was even tinier! I could only seat two people with my original table and chairs, so Danielle recommended that a floating banquette would open up the space even more allowing for four people to sit and enjoy it comfortably. 

A sweet friend of mine, Gaby @TheCuratedLook, messaged me later that week and mentioned how her husband and local furniture designer, Patrick Darczuk, would love to design and build a custom mini banquette for my kitchen! We ensured it was wrapped in a grasscloth to blend with the other design elements throughout the apartment. And wow, once it was installed, I was amazed by the detail and construction of this piece. It fit perfectly in the space and was more than I could ask for!

Because of this banquette (now famously called the “Bungalow Banquette”), the space has become one of my favorites – it’s actually where I spend most of my time creating, writing, working, hanging with friends…something about my nook feels so cozy and inviting. 

(For those wondering, this banquette is 100% portable and will follow me to our next space!) 

Stephanie Hill shares 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

3. Accessorize

Yes, accessories are necessary to dress up the kitchen. Joss & Main is one of my go-to’s for shopping these details (big or small). 

With my new custom banquette, that meant we also had to upgrade to a different kitchen table that would fit. I found this white round table with an extender on Joss & Main, that way in the future home I can seat six people, but for now it’s perfect for four. 

I also bought a pair of armless, accent rattan chairs as it blended seamlessly with the grasscloth banquette and was easy to slip in to my tiny space. The scale and silhouette of the chair really created a nice, textured impact. Unfortunately only one chair could fit, so we stored the second one in my hallway as a temporary purse holder. It’s actually really cute there!

I didn’t realize the dramatic difference installing a new and proper light fixture could bring. It changes the entire ambiance. I added two scalloped semi-flush pendant lights accented with brass hardware to create continuity in shape and theme as seen in other places. I also added a large wicker pendant light above my kitchen table…although sold out, there are plenty of similar options to choose from. (I’ll add a link at the very bottom!) 

Change your hardware! Without a doubt, it’s one of the simplest and cost-effective ways to upgrade your kitchen. I swapped my outdated metal with a silver polished version. It’s amazing what a new knob can really do! Silver was a clean, sleek accent that looked great against my white cabinets.

*TBD – Black was a clean, sleek color that also brought out my window sill accent. 

4. Change the Refrigerator

Most rentals have a very standard refrigerator – a metallic or black usually – which can sometimes clash with your vision (I know the feeling). The refrigerator I had in my unit was massive and way too big for the kitchen itself. So I swapped it out and upgraded to a new, petite one by SMEG in pastel blue – one of the few appliance brands that make a certain size and color with an Italian style. Its sweet color and retro shape (fits in beautifully with the small space!) now acts as another focal point to the kitchen. Sometimes, it’s worth changing an appliance like this up in order for it to flow better (best) with the overall theme. 

To all the urban dwellers out there, I know what you’re thinking but trust me. This fridge is small enough to bring with you to your next space, cute enough to sell online or to the next renter. (Also, speak with your landlord! They might buy it from you.) 

5. Removable Tile

You’d be shocked to know, but (here it goes!) the tile in here isn’t permanent. There, I said it. I knew I wanted a renter friendly (easy) and inexpensive solution to my sad kitchen tile. So I went on an online hunt and came across Quadrostyle aka my kitchen lifesaver with so many beautiful peel and stick floor panels. When all’s said and done, it took me only a day to install it myself (and can last up to 5 years), which was easy-to-do! Looking at this now, my entire kitchen is unrecognizable compared to when I first moved in. The best part? It’s all renter-friendly! 

Stephanie Hill shares 5 Little Ways to Upgrade a Rental Kitchen on The Style Bungalow

Shop my Joss & Main finds below and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Xo, Stephanie

[Thank you Joss & Main for sponsoring today’s post!]


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