A Unique Rental Kitchen Before and After that Will Surprise You


Check out a gorgeous rental kitchen before and after makeover with peel and stick wallpaper and other renter-friendly DIYs.

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Woo hoo!  It’s finally time to share the One Room Challenge reveal.  If you are unfamiliar with this fun challenge, it’s a 6-week room reno/makeover hosted by Calling it Home.  Amazing sponsors and bloggers are featured and anyone can join as a guest participant.  

This is the first time I have joined in on the shenanigans and decided to makeover our kitchen.  When we were looking at rentals in Okinawa, what drew me into our house were the white floors, light-colored cabinets, and light walls.

Even though the materials are cheap (linoleum, plastic, and concrete), I knew this house would be a perfect canvas to decorate. 

Rental Kitchen Before and After Makeover

A rental kitchen makeover for the One Room Challenge featuring a light white kitchen in an American style house in Japan with grey and white floral wallpaper on the cabinets and a cute white and mint green kitchen table set.
Rental Kitchen Before and After

After the first kitchen facelift, I did last year I felt the kitchen wasn’t along with the same style as the living room and foyer.   Since all the rooms are in the same space, I really wanted to “dress up” the kitchen so that it was on par with the living area by adding a floral feature and a bit more color.

Let’s take a look at the kitchen when we first moved in. (That awesome rug is now in the foyer.)

A rental kitchen in Japan before the One Room Challenge makeover.  IT has cream cabinets, white tiles, white linoleum floors and a cute red rug.
Rental Kitchen Before Picture
Use contact paper on rental kitchen cabinets for a DIY update.  These cabinets have a light wood look contact paper with copper pulls and a window over the sink.  The white fridge is dressed up with cute DIY magnets made from little plates in blue, pink, and white.
Rental Kitchen Cabinets with Contact Paper

Here’s the first makeover when I incorporated Mediterranean colors into our space for last summer. We still love the DIY plate magnets but the rest of the kitchen was begging for a change.  

At least I’m sure it would if could communicate with me.  Fresh colors and patterns were my inspiration for this challenge.

One room challenge kitchen inspiration design board showing swiss crosses, a before picture, a red and orange rug, pineapple art, and gold pull.
Design Board for Rental Kitchen Before and After

resources:  mini swiss cross decal | rug | floral wallpaper | brass pulls | pineapple art

paint color: Sherwin Williams Mint Condition

Now the entire kitchen is gorgeous; linoleum floors, stainless steel counters, white tiles, and all.

This wide shot of a rental kitchen shows cabinets with removable wall paper in a pretty neutral floral print, white tiles, and a white and mint green kitchen table set in a rental home in Okinawa, Japan.
Rental Kitchen After with Floral Cabinets

I’ll give you a rundown of what I accomplished during the last 5 weeks. The kitchen table got a pop of color with a mint color block on the chairs.   Thanks to my husband’s suggestion the color is on an unusual part of the chair.   

A close up of a thrifted kitchen table painted white and mint green with a vase of purple orchids in Okinawa, Japan.
Thrifted Table and Local Flowers

The previous blue rug was replaced with a little boho style one that the kitty approves.  It really brightens up the space and is good friends with our foyer rug.   (They do have to live in the space area!)

A close up picture of an orange and white cat on a boho rug in front of floral kitchen cabinets.
Meow Meow, Our Adopted Japanese Cat

The kitchen cabinets and counters were better organized with help from my new Epson portable label maker.   I added a fun peekaboo pineapple print from Minted for a little kookiness. 

Minted art pineapple print is featured in a rental kitchen before and after makeover sitting on a white tile ledge with black swiss crosses on the tiles made with washi tape. A white ceramic pitcher holds utensils.
Pineapple Print in the Kitchen

There’s no ignoring the trendy black swiss crosses on the backsplash that was a super inexpensive DIY.  

A cute kitchen in a rental house in Okinawa, Japan where a military family is living.   It has floral kitchen cabinets with peel and stick wallpaper, white tiles, and a white and mint green kitchen table set.  Lots of natural light in this ocean front home.
Neutral Floral Cabinets in a Sun Filled Kitchen

And floral removable wallpaper on the cabinets from Walls Need Love (with spray painted gold pulls from the dollar store). Because doesn’t everyone put floral wallpaper on their kitchen cabinets?  lol   It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a great conversation starter!    Read this story to see how easy it was to apply the wallpaper.

A close up of rental kitchen cabinets with a floral removable wallpaper and temporary gold pulls.
Spray Painted Copper Dollar Store Pulls

I think the china cabinet makeover that I did last year fits in beautifully with the new color story.   Washi tape is a renter’s best friend.  (Especially a renter with concrete walls!)

A china cabinet makeover that's renter friendly with pink construction paper and blue and white washi tape on the edge of the white shelves showcases white and blue dishes and copper pots and pans.
Washi Tape and Construction Paper China Cabinet Makeover

It’s safe to say the feature floral “wall” created the wow factor that I wanted and I’m enjoying every square inch of our living area.

Kitchen cabinets with removable wall paper in a grey and white rose print are in a white kitchen in Okinawa, Japan.
Off Base Housing in Okinawa, Japan
A view of the rental kitchen makeover with floral cabinets and white tiles from the living room's grey leather sofa.
A Renter Friendly Kitchen Makeover

Here’s a picture so you can see how it flows into the living room. I hope you enjoyed the big reveal!  A big thank you to these companies for sponsoring my project; Minted, Epson, and Walls Need Love.

Join me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes, DIYs, decorating tips, room tours, and home inspiration. I’ll see you over there!

An Okinawan rental living room with lots of windows and white sheer curtains, a large grey and white trellis rug, white campaign chest as a side table and a pair of camel toned barrel chairs.
Our Living Room
A graphic showing sponsors logos.
Sponsor Logos

You can read about the entire process in these posts:  Week one: Inspiration | Week two: Cabinet Organization | Week three: Update | Week four: DIY Swiss Cross Tiles | Week five: Floral Cabinets | Week six: Rental Kitchen Reveal

Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  1. Wow! You really warmed up the space nicely. I love the wallpaper so much. I wish I had seen this 10 years ago when we lived overseas and had boring military housing. I was constantly trying to improve it.

  2. What a fantastic makeover for a rental space. The Swiss crosses are awesome, and I’m in love with that china cabinet makeover. Great job!

  3. The most adorable kitchen ever! What a fantastic use of wallpaper Kathy! If I were your landlord, I would leave this as is! So very pretty and may I say, genius! Congrats and cheers to us! Now unto the next room!

    1. Thanks Krystle! Joining the ORC was such a last minute decision but I’m so glad I did. I would have never changed the kitchen cabinets. 😉

  4. I would’ve never thought to add that burst of mint to the kitchen chairs! I am OBSESSED with it!!! Love how you made this rental space so fun and funky! And the wallpaper on the cabinets…YES. MA’AM! xx

  5. I’m in awe of your creativity with the cabinets and tile. Also that pop of pink inside the china cabinet is fabulous–it really does complement the whole design beautifully!

  6. I think the floral cupboards are amazing! What a fun idea and I love that it is unique. I am a huge fan of being different and being true to yourself! It turned out great!

  7. Yes! Your wallpaper cabinets are genius. And I love the color blocked chairs. Gorgeous!

  8. I love a BOLD One Room Challenge space and you definetely did it! Using the floral wallpaper on the cabinets was brilliant. It adds so much non-permanent character and shows people how unique a rental can be. Great job!!

  9. You are a miracle worker! I would NEVER have imagined a kitchen that looked like the “before” could turn into such a glamorous, bright and beautiful “after”! I am AMAZED! Seriously, socks knocked off! Wonderful, wonderful job Kathy!

  10. That wallpaper is incredible definitely a conversation starter! Great space and great work!

    Lauren | Lovely Decor

  11. Please can you tell me what paper you used? Does it have a name or number? and lastly where can I buy it? Thank you in advance I reall love this Idea and will do it myself.

    1. Oh yes! The paper is called Clara and it’s from Walls need Love. You can find a link to the product in the post. 🙂 I’m so glad you love it!

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