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Old 03-13-2017, 10:31 PM   #1
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Rental kitchen needs a makeover


I've been living in a rental house for almost a decade now, and have always disliked the color scheme in the kitchen. It's finally time to get off my duff and do something about it.

Yellow-green walls, muted pink countertops, off-white cabinets, stained and worn linoleum, and a grass-green light fixture. Picture is... sideways for some reason. Apologies.

The landlady admits she doesn't have a good eye for color and just really liked the light fixture. She's given me carte blanche to paint.

Things I can't change:
The light fixture
The countertops

Things I can do:
Paint the walls/cabinets
Lay down temporary flooring

I'm having trouble even thinking of paint colors that could tie together the cool tones of the light fixture with the warm pink of the countertop. But that pea-green wall has got to go.

The green light fixture is an obvious focal point, but everything else in the room is warm-toned. Most temporary floor tiles I've looked at are also in a warm range, unless I go pure black or pure white.

Any color suggestions would be appreciated, as well as any knowledge about the durability of temporary flooring options, and the ease of removal.
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Old 03-13-2017, 11:35 PM   #2
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Welcome to the forums, Tom.

My 7 cents is that's just one dark, outdated and ugly kitchen.

Those light fixtures. Ugh. They might be nice to have around Christmas time, but otherwise, ugh.

The floor, ugh.

I'd add a bright-colored scatter rug/runner.

I'd paint the walls white and change out the artwork for something more colorful.

I would paint the cabinets a bright white. Add some fancy hardware: handles and drawer pulls to suit your tastes.

Add some under the cabinet countertop lighting.

Add a mosaic backsplash.

If your landlady will let you, you could try painting the counters. They will look painted, but even that would be an improvement over pink Formica. Rustoleum makes a "paint" especially for countertops. You might look into that: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleu...6068/202820906

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:29 PM   #3
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Indeed, it is a very ugly kitchen. If I was more of a cook, I might have bothered to change it before now.

I had never heard of countertop paint, and it does look very promising! A countertop makeover could solve a lot of the color-clashing problems. I'll definitely ask the landlady about it. Thanks for the tip!

I agree completely with the bright white cabinets, but I'd already balked at the idea of pure white walls - they seem so clinical and boring, even if they might be the only thing that wouldn't clash with the lights. Maybe the far wall could be an accent color, since it's so devoid of appliances, and the other three could be white. Perhaps some shade of green that's more cool-toned. Some color accents on the cabinet trim could add a pop of color and keep it from being boring. There's also the idea of white walls, but colored cabinets. Or even a colored ceiling.

I'd also like to add some visual interest above the sink. There used to be a window, like most kitchens have above the sink, but the landlady built a tool shed in front of the window and walled it off. She's got some weird trellis on the wall space now (you can see a bit of it in the picture), with random dried flowers shoved into it.
To tie in some more green, I thought of putting some sort of hanging terrarium/faux flower boxes in. They'd have to be fake, because I can't keep a plant alive no matter how hard I try.

The idea of a rug in a kitchen is so alien to me. I'd probably trip over it, and it would just get stained or soggy. Perhaps a simple white-and-black checker pattern of tiles? It's not creative, but sometimes a classic look is best. I took a liking to some black 'marble' tiles, but a completely black floor might just make the space look more narrow and constricted.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:41 PM   #4
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


It's a shame the countertops have to stay. That ugly color really limits your options, although I see how it is tied in with the floor. There's just a lot going on in that small space.......
I would take your picture to your local paintstore. Usually someone is on hand to offer color suggestions. Of course, they would want you to buy your paint there, but, that's a small price to pay for some professional assistance.
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Old 03-14-2017, 09:24 PM   #5
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


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I had never heard of countertop paint, and it does look very promising! A countertop makeover could solve a lot of the color-clashing problems. I'll definitely ask the landlady about it. Thanks for the tip!
Go to the Home Depot page and read the reviews of that countertop "paint." Some people love it, some hate it. Be sure you want to do it, because obviously once you start, there's no going back.

Home Depot and other stores also sell other brands of countertop "paint", so shop around. Some may be better than others.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:30 AM   #6
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


I don't know all of the details involved in why you've been in the same rental place for a decade now so there may be reasons to reject my suggestion out of hand but I would leave the kitchen alone and put the money toward a down payment on a home you own instead of rent.
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:07 AM   #7
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It's not like I'm dropping thousands on a full remodel... we're talking about a couple cans of paint and some peel-and-stick vinyl.
Not going to impact a down payment, and well worth it for the satisfaction of having an attractive living space now.
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:45 PM   #8
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


I would check out the cost of replacing the countertop with
Formica and the floor as well.
Give the landlady the estimate
and tell her you're willing to lay out the cost and put up with the
mess to "update" if you can deduct it from the rent. Tell her you'll
spring for the paint.
Be determined when proposing this deal to her. You'll get the enjoyment
and she'll benefit as well on the update to her property.

Good Luck...Those lights should be the next thing to attack!
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:31 PM   #9
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


I agree with the cabinets white and walls white. you might be surprised that it won't be too much white once you add a backsplash (HD sells a product that looks like the old tin ceiling tiles and makes a nice non permanent backsplash) and change the floor. to be simple and easy to remove I would go with a floating floor like laminate or luxury vinyl tile that won't leave adhesive on the existing floor. The counter is unfortunate, but if you get some nice cabinet hardware it will distract from it. I would avoid adding a contrast wall on the end wall, I would think it would make the room look shorter? What about some large colorful art that has some of the green from the light and the pink from the counter? I use poster frames a lot for random pictures or posters I find or find some large old frames you could paint colors to coordinate.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:39 PM   #10
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Another simple thing to do is take down that green light fixture, put it in a closet and put one up that you like. Take it with you when you move and put the green one back up. That is what my mom did in her rental. I'd check with the landlord, but they might be ok with that.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:35 PM   #11
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


And while your at HD look at this vinyl plank flooring, installs as a floating floor and they glue to each other with glue already on them, easy to uninstall also.

http://www.homedepot.com/s/lvt%2520plank?NCNI-5
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:39 PM   #12
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Quote:
Another simple thing to do is take down that green light fixture, put it in a closet and put one up that you like. Take it with you when you move and put the green one back up.
That's a thought, certainly. But I don't necessarily hate the light fixture. It's unique, and a fun color, which is probably why the landlady fell in love with it - it just clashes with everything else. I think with the right paint colors, it could be made to work.

Quote:
I would avoid adding a contrast wall on the end wall, I would think it would make the room look shorter? What about some large colorful art that has some of the green from the light and the pink from the counter?
Well, with a galley-style kitchen, I'm not too concerned about making the room look shorter.

My latest thought was to do a combination of accent wall and art piece. I found large art stencils, and thought maybe a subtle green-on-green pattern (with a change in paint sheen, too) would add interest, and perhaps forgo the need for a large art piece.

I'm fond of Moroccan patterns, like this one and this one. But I worry that with the modern look of the light fixture, an 'old-world' pattern might feel off. Maybe something more modern, and botanical, like this floral one, which would enable me to incorporate some fun accent colors, but could end up looking garish.

All this stencil work, of course, could be done as a 'backsplash' on the sink-side wall, instead. I just worry about leaving the far wall pure white, because it's... so empty. And big art prints... so spendy. I'm looking for budget-conscious fixes, here.



I spent yesterday scrubbing down walls and cabinets in preparation, and took down the weird trellis thing over the sink, which is already a huge improvement. You can see some of the paint chips I'm considering on the far wall. I mocked up my idea of a checkered floor in Photoshop, and decided against it - too overwhelming in so small a space. A dark floor would be best, if I'm going to have so much white going on elsewhere.

Quote:
And while your at HD look at this vinyl plank flooring, installs as a floating floor and they glue to each other with glue already on them, easy to uninstall also.
Floating flooring would be ideal for it's removability, but is also more expensive. Pricing-wise, peel-and-stick would cost me ~$70, and the floating ~$175, not including special cleaners, glues, etc.

From what I've seen, the floating vinyl also has very few options, especially in the tile department. With hardwood floors throughout the house, I'd prefer a tile look in the kitchen. There was a nice dark slate at Lowe's, but that was the one I priced at $175-ish.

But from reviews I've been reading, peel-and-stick is sounding a lot less 'removable' than originally thought. It seems that to get it to not peel up at the corners, you've got to use a more permanent glue than the adhesive they come pre-backed with.

I may just do all the painting first, and worry about floors last... maybe see if the landlady is willing to foot the bill for a more permanent fix. 'Low-budget' is not always what you want to go with on something like floors.

Problem is, once I do all the painting, the counters and floor are going to clash real bad.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:35 PM   #13
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomecko View Post
That's a thought, certainly. But I don't necessarily hate the light fixture. It's unique, and a fun color, which is probably why the landlady fell in love with it - it just clashes with everything else. I think with the right paint colors, it could be made to work.



Well, with a galley-style kitchen, I'm not too concerned about making the room look shorter.

My latest thought was to do a combination of accent wall and art piece. I found large art stencils, and thought maybe a subtle green-on-green pattern (with a change in paint sheen, too) would add interest, and perhaps forgo the need for a large art piece.

I'm fond of Moroccan patterns, like this one and this one. But I worry that with the modern look of the light fixture, an 'old-world' pattern might feel off. Maybe something more modern, and botanical, like this floral one, which would enable me to incorporate some fun accent colors, but could end up looking garish.

All this stencil work, of course, could be done as a 'backsplash' on the sink-side wall, instead. I just worry about leaving the far wall pure white, because it's... so empty. And big art prints... so spendy. I'm looking for budget-conscious fixes, here.



I spent yesterday scrubbing down walls and cabinets in preparation, and took down the weird trellis thing over the sink, which is already a huge improvement. You can see some of the paint chips I'm considering on the far wall. I mocked up my idea of a checkered floor in Photoshop, and decided against it - too overwhelming in so small a space. A dark floor would be best, if I'm going to have so much white going on elsewhere.



Floating flooring would be ideal for it's removability, but is also more expensive. Pricing-wise, peel-and-stick would cost me ~$70, and the floating ~$175, not including special cleaners, glues, etc.

From what I've seen, the floating vinyl also has very few options, especially in the tile department. With hardwood floors throughout the house, I'd prefer a tile look in the kitchen. There was a nice dark slate at Lowe's, but that was the one I priced at $175-ish.

But from reviews I've been reading, peel-and-stick is sounding a lot less 'removable' than originally thought. It seems that to get it to not peel up at the corners, you've got to use a more permanent glue than the adhesive they come pre-backed with.

I may just do all the painting first, and worry about floors last... maybe see if the landlady is willing to foot the bill for a more permanent fix. 'Low-budget' is not always what you want to go with on something like floors.

Problem is, once I do all the painting, the counters and floor are going to clash real bad.


If you try and take up the peel and stick, you'll have a real mess on your hands when you attempt to remove the glue.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:00 PM   #14
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


Ok. I don't think anyone mentioned this. Epoxy paint the countertop. They have a few different DIY kits for a fake granite look, marble look, or just solid white. I have seen this in so many apartments and it wears like iron. If you can follow directions and roll a brush, you can do that. It is about $100 but will transform the place. Then get a can of paint and hit the walls with it. The floor is an easy answer as well if you have the skill...Buy a chunk of new floating luxury vinyl flooring, comes in a roll, and put it down. You use a little glue on the edges or 1/4 round trim to hold it down. All total you should be in it for $300.
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Old 04-29-2017, 12:43 PM   #15
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Re: Rental kitchen needs a makeover


I've seen those kits online, and looked at a lot of the customer photos - they can turn out pretty well, if you've got half an eye for art. Fortunately, I do, so that is definitely an option.

An update from the landlady: She agrees about new floors and isn't against the idea of new permanent flooring. Didn't protest about painting the countertops, either. However! She did decide that the cabinets need to remain the same. But, she did agree to me changing out the light fixture.

This changes my all white & green paint scheme. But it does open up warm color schemes again - it just has to match with the off-white cabinets.

I've always liked the idea of a yellow kitchen - it's bright and friendly. Maybe a color just a touch more 'gold' than this example:

I still like the idea of dark countertops, which are also represented above.

I played with the idea of a mauve/purple kitchen, as well, which would at least temporarily tie in the countertop color until I can get around to changing them. Found this picture that had a nice example of what the tone-on-tone damask print I was daydreaming about could look like in practice:

As for new lighting, I'm stumped. Considering the shape of the kitchen, and where the wiring is already placed, track lighting seems to be the only real option - and it would have to be the kind that has the anchor point off-center, since the wiring point is at the far end of the kitchen. I doubt I'd have permission to rewire, plus that's a bit more work than I'd prefer to put into a rental.

However, a lot of track lighting definitely gives off a more modern, contemporary vibe, which I think would clash with the rest of the kitchen - the trim on the cabinet doors is more old-fashioned.

So I need a traditionally-styled, off center, long track light that doesn't hang too low. There's not a lot of headroom, which is a shame, because I do like the look of pendant lights.
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