How to Cover & Refinish Your Cabinets Temporarily While Renting

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There are many things you can do to spruce up your cabinets in a rental.
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Your rental may not have come with the dream kitchen you've always envisioned, but there are a number of ways you can transform a rental kitchen into something exciting and still expect your security deposit upon your move-out date. The kitchen can be the heart of a home or an apartment, and the more comfortable it is, the more comfortable you'll be when you're cooking. Old cabinets, especially, can be a major eyesore that can make even a nice kitchen feel outdated — but luckily, there are a couple things you can do to make your kitchen cabinetry feel warm and welcoming.


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Renter Friendly Cabinet Makeover

The first step is to check your rental agreement and take notes on what you are allowed to do. It's unlikely that your landlord will allow you to paint your cupboards. If permissible, paint is a great option, but keep in mind your landlord will need to re-do anything that would make the kitchen less rentable, and they'll take that out of your security deposit. You can even contact your landlord and ask what kind of modifications would be OK. Usually, landlords would rather you ask first so that they can direct you appropriately!

Contact Paper on Cabinets

Contact paper may seem like an obvious option, but you'll have to be careful — contact paper can sometimes damage the surface it's covering. If your cabinets are painted, there's a chance that when you remove the paper, the paint will come with it. If they're wood, the paste can do damage to the surface if it's there for a long time.


Luckily, there are a number of types of contact paper available these days. If you do your research, you might be able to find something made specifically for paint or wood — but be sure to check it over time and remove it if it appears to be doing any damage to the surface underneath.

Temporary Cabinet Covers and Decals

Wall decals are an option that may do less damage than contact paper, specifically they type that are made to be removed and moved around over time. While some of these decals may be too large for cabinets, there are plenty of designs made up of small pieces for the user to reconstruct however they see fit. These peel and stick cabinet covers won't cover up the entire cabinet, but they'll brighten up the space, and they can cover any small imperfections.


Putting decorative pieces along the cabinets can create a great theme to make your kitchen feel comfortable. Plus, decals like those are meant to be removable, so it's easy to switch up decor any time you feel like it.

Switch to Open Cabinets

If you're handy, you can also take some additional steps to change the feel of the space. For example, open cabinets (or ones with glass doors) can add a classy feel to any kitchen. You can take apart the hinges and remove the doors to store elsewhere, which will let you display lovely dishes, bowls or other knick-knacks while creating the feeling of open space, as suggested by Lela Burris.


Change Cabinet Hardware

You can also look into changing the cabinet hardware. Stores offer a nearly unlimited number of cabinet handles and pulls that can give your cabinet doors an entirely new look. Especially if paired with decorations or decals, a fancy door pull can give your kitchen a new kind of feel. Keep the old door pulls so that you can replace them when you move out.

With a little bit of creativity and a good understanding of what the landlord's limits are, there are plenty of ways you can make any rental kitchen work for you. Think outside of the box, make sure you don't do any significant damage, and you'll be much happier every time you use that kitchen.