August 5, 2019

The EJP Abode | 10 ways to add personality to your rented kitchen

Perfecting your rented kitchen in a rental home is by no means an easy feat, especially if you’re stuck with the typical rental style. We’ve all been there, I’m feeling for you. Magnolia walls, brown cupboards, fake stone flooring; it’s all pretty common. Why this is still seen as a way to deck out your home for rental, I’m not sure, but there are still ways you can make it that little bit more you.

For the purpose of this post, I’m showing off my old rented home. Yes, I couldn’t let these photos go to waste, even if it is nearly six months down the line since we left London. I’ll admit that we did somewhat luck out when it came to the rented kitchen and bathroom in the Earlsfield Loft, but I like to think we’ve also added our own touches that further bring it to life.

Eclectic bohemian kitchen with 6-hob oven

I steered away from painting this space anything but white as I thought it worked with the room and would have probably be fiddly to amend at the end of our tenancy; there was already a Californian-inspired bedroom to change back and I’m not all about the one-month complete overhaul life. The kitchen was open-plan with the living space and on a whole I quite liked the lofty nature of white walls adorned with colourful artwork. That being said, if I could have painted the cabinets a pale pink, you know I bloody well would have. Here’s ten ways to add personality to your own rented kitchen without losing your deposit.  

1. Opt for open shelving.

Okay, so this first point might not be for everyone but open shelving makes such a difference if you’re willing to put in the work on behalf of your landlord. After all, you want to be able to show off all of your own dinnerware, right? If you have wall room for shelves, get ’em up. If you’re stuck with a pokey rented kitchen, why not take a look at this rental renovation from Black + Blooms who removed her cabinet doors to make them more visually friendly. Otherwise, if you’ve got the floorspace, a shelving unit will do the job nicely.

2. Hang art.

I’d be lost without art hanging up anywhere in my home and the kitchen is no exception this rule. In fact, in a rented room that can severely lack personality in most cases, this is probably one of the easiest ways to add your own personal touch. Just be careful not to hang your art too close to extreme temperatures or areas which are likely to get food splashes. We opted for placing art anywhere with a free surface as you can see.

(Note: you can check out my guide to buying art if you’re stuck for inspiration!)

3. Choose unique dinnerware.

If your food doesn’t look good on your plate, is there any point at all? This is another easy way to inject some of your own juice into your home. Enough of the mis-matched student tableware. Although, that being said, I do like a planned mix of plates. bowls, serving boards and cutlery. My go-to places include Denby Pottery,, Habitat and Falcon Enamelware for a range of affordable and unusual sets.

4. Change up the door handles.

This is another easy fix that can change the whole look of your kitchen. Look at your cabinet handles and work out how you can uplevel them. This is a super cheap way of achieving a more thought-out look. If you think your cabinets could do with a lick of paint while you’re there, ask your landlord. Pitch the concept, show examples and offer to do the work and pay for the paint. You might think that your home is untouchable, but I can assure you most landlords will take the updates and run when spoken to in the right way. We’re talking about your own mental health here so don’t use the excuse of improving a home that’s not yours. It is your home and improving it will make you feel better in the here and now.

5. Add Photographs.

The kitchen is fundamentally the heart of your home. Make it so with photographs of friends, family, inspiration. Disguise ugly fridges (don’t include my ex-beloved SMEG in that category) by using magnets or washi tape to turn them into ever-changing moodboards. We continuously update our fridge with new imagery. Minimalists, beware.

6. Buy fresh flowers and get botanical.

Another key tip from me to you is to fill your kitchen with blooms and plants at every possible moment. Flowers will become the centre-point of your kitchen and plants will help to bring a more bohemian aesthetic. If you have room above your cupboards, fill it with faux plants and draw the eye up. These little details will genuinely bring you joy and make you forget about that fake slate flooring.

7. Spurge on fancy soaps (for the first time at least).

Oh Aesop, how we all covet you. Seriously though, there’s something to be said for fancy soaps, especially when you’re entertaining. Why not invest in one bottle and then fill it up with a cheaper alternative? That being said, I am an advocate for just investing in fancy soaps all the time. It’s all about those little moments of joy.

8. Bring in the tunes.

Creating your perfect home isn’t just about the aesthetic, it’s all about the ambience too. Invest in a speaker to bring in your personality via your favourite tunes. This HAY Design x Sonos one was kindly gifted to me for a campaign and I haven’t looked back. It’s truly the perfect rented kitchen accessory for listening to podcasts and my favourite artists while cooking.

9. Don’t forget the tea-towels.

I know, you’re thinking “how can I make an impact with tea-towels?” Well, you can. It’s all these things that you’ve been overlooking that have brought you here to this page. Up your tea-towel game and style them in a way that looks nonchalant à la all those glossy interior mags. You’re welcome.

10. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through to the last tip. An obvious one, but by no means one that should be left out. Accessories are the key to making a place your home and there’s all the room for them in your kitchen too. I’m not talking novelty products here; I’m thinking plates, books and jugs! My favourite place to hit up for unique objects is design & lifestyle store W.A.Green while I’ve been heavily investing in plates from independent artist Laetitia Rouget.

For more interior inspiration, colour clashing and general life admin, check out the rest of my blog. Follow me on InstagramPinterest and Twitter for more of the EJP in your life. 


  1. […] 10 ways to add personality to your rented kitchen in a […]

  2. […] it’s a great place to experiment with colors you love. You can even add loads of bold colors to a rented property, without having to paint the walls. A good place to start is to hang a colorful painting on a wall, […]

  3. Lori says:

    Love it all! Can you tell me more about the photo of the man smoking – where can i get it/what is it called? Thanks so much.

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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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