Living in rented property carries certain restrictions. While a lot of landlords will be happy for you to paint and make some changes to the property, most tenants would rather avoid spending large sums of money on a property that they don’t own. Fortunately, there are changes that you can make to your rental to make it feel more like a home.

This guest post is from Rick Marsh, a content writer and content marketer for Alder + Stone, who design, install, and craft kitchen designs that enhance homes.

The kitchen is the room of the house that is used for multiple purposes. It is obviously the room that we prepare food. In a lot of cases, families also eat and entertain in here. Despite this, it is also the room that landlords avoid refitting and refurbishing until they absolutely have to. Below are 10 changes that you can make to your kitchen, whether you live in rented property or you simply don’t want to rip everything out and start again.

Cover Up Bad Flooring

The kitchen tends to be a high traffic area, with lots of people walking in and out, often with muddy or wet feet. Dogs and cats also use it as a gateway between the garden and the inside of the property. The floor can quickly become scuffed and tired looking. You don’t have to take a pickaxe to the whole thing to enjoy attractive results, though.

Use rugs and runners to cover the floor or, for a slightly more permanent result, consider temporary vinyl flooring. This type of flooring uses a standard vinyl surface but utilises temporary adhesive, so it can be removed when you leave.

Whichever route you take, there are a lot of colour and style options available to choose from. If you use rugs, consider combining multiple rugs. If you buy a single rug that matches the dimensions of your current floor, they may not fit in your next property’s kitchen.

Temporarily Cover Up Unit Doors And Drawers

Another area that you can conveniently cover up is the unit doors and drawers. Some landlords opt for budget over durability, and cheaper doors tend to ruin faster.

Touch paper, also called vinyl paper, can quickly transform the look of a kitchen. This paper is easy to apply, although some care should be taken to ensure that you get the best results. It is also available in a vast array of colours and styles. It usually comes in rolls, too, and a single roll will normally be enough for at least two or three unit doors.

You can be as imaginative as you want with colour and design, because the touch paper will come off when it is time to leave.

Remove Cabinet Doors

Rather than covering up unit doors, you can remove them: or, at least, some of them. Open cupboards and other storage areas are good looking and are especially well suited to open plan and broken plan kitchens.

Remember which doors you remove and store them until you need to replace the doors. Keep the fixings and hardware in a bag attached to the door and ensure that it is kept somewhere dry so that it doesn’t rot or become damaged.

If you are considering removing unit doors, ensure that the frame is in good condition. You can always apply vinyl paper over the frame after you remove the doors.

Update Kitchen Hardware

If the doors and drawers themselves are in good condition, but you don’t like the look of the kitchen, you can try replacing the hardware. Kitchen hardware includes door and drawer handles. You might be surprised at how much of an impact it can have, making this simple change.

You can alter the entire look of the kitchen, for example, by changing from wooden handles to metal handles, or by swapping out simple knobs for more decorative handles. You can replace the handles when you move or leave the new handles in place if the landlord agrees and you don’t want to swap them back over.

Although there are many new handles and knobs available, you can also opt for reclaimed and recycled alternatives: these are especially useful if you want to give your kitchen a traditional look. It can be difficult to turn a poorly maintained rental kitchen into an ultra-modern looking one, and a more traditional look might be easier to achieve.

Add A Mobile Island

An island makes a great addition to a kitchen, if there is room for the extra furniture. However, you are unlikely to want to pay to have a permanent one installed in the property you rent. Fortunately, mobile and removable options are out there.

Mobile islands are wheeled. They are designed to be easy to move, and while they don’t usually offer much in the way of storage, they do provide additional food preparation and work surface area.

Other options also exist. Buy a tall, traditional wooden table, and adorn this with chopping boards and appliances. Look for antique chests of drawers that can be used in a similar way or consider asking a carpenter to create a bespoke piece of furniture for your kitchen.

Incorporate Plants

Plants catch the eye and the colour can draw your attention away from the ugly countertop that you aren’t able to change. They also promote better mental health, and you can have your own indoor herb garden that is easy to care for and improves the taste of your cooking.

Choose plants that will thrive in the damp and often humid environment of the kitchen. You should also take the time to choose plant pots and planters that match the style of your kitchen and design of the décor.

Utilise Hanging Storage

A lack of storage is a nightmare in the kitchen. You end up piling items on the worktop or even trying to store things in the dining room and other areas of the property. There are ways to add more storage to a kitchen, including incorporating a portable island. Another alternative is that of hanging storage.

Try to make the most of storage items like mug trees and wine racks. These not only utilise vertical space where horizontal space is limited, but they also keep things tidier while giving items a home of their own.

Hanging storage is convenient, is usually easy to install, and it can be used for a host of items. Common uses for hanging storage include pan holders and hooks for utensils, but you can hang baskets from hooks and place items in here too. You can also get baskets for the outside of cupboard doors to hold even more.

Update The Lights

Kitchen lighting is vital to the look of the room, as well as to how well you can prepare food and perform other tasks in the room. If the fitting is decent quality, look for brighter or softer bulbs.

Get permission and change the fitting, if you’re comfortable doing this yourself. If there is a standard dome type fitting, you can buy decorative items that enhance the look of the fitting without requiring the changing of the light.

Other options include the addition of strip lighting under the top units. This is a great way of lighting worktops, where the majority of work in the kitchen is performed. Standing lights can be used, but you should take care to ensure that the wire does not trail across the floor or pose a hazard in some other way.

Use A Removable Backsplash

The backsplash combines both function and good looks. It is a panel that sits behind the sink or the cooker. It protects the wall and the wall covering from water, grease, fat, and cooking. It also enhances the looks of the kitchen. A lot of modern kitchen designs incorporate permanent splashbacks, but you can also add temporary models if you don’t have permission to install something permanent.

This is another great use for vinyl (it really does have a lot of uses in the kitchen). You can get adhesive vinyl panels and stickers that attach to the wall. They come in many designs and colours, and if you buy one that is fit for purpose it will protect against condensation and water as well as fat and grease.

As well as standard looking temporary splashbacks, you can also buy high quality and handmade vinyl tiles, offering even greater luxury and better looks.

Change Switch Plates

The switch plate is the plate, usually made of plastic, that sits around the light switch. It often becomes grubby, and unless real care is taken during the decorating phase, it is likely to have leftover paint remnants on it too. Fortunately, these are really easy to replace, and there are some very inexpensive options available to you.

Traditionally, switch plates are white. However, you can choose from a whole gamut of colours and shades, as well as those with funky and modern designs. Changing the switch plate can have a big impact on a room, and you can choose a design that matches your temporary splashback too.