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Rental Kitchen Refresh Inspiration

Hi there!  Welcome to the 2nd room makeover this month.  Last week I introduced the master bedroom in our Japanese traditional rental home.  It’s part of a $100 Room Makeover.  Today I’m sharing the plans for our rental kitchen as part of The New Year, New Room Refresh hosted by Stephanie from Casa Watkins Living.  If you are coming from This Is Our Bliss, welcome!  I haven’t seen her inspiration yet but I know it’s going to be gorgeous!!  I just love Rachael’s style.
japanese rental kitchen makeover plans and inspiration

New Year New Room Refresh: Global Eclectic Rental Kitchen

week 1 | week 2 | week 3 | week 4 (reveal)

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The New Year New Room Refresh challenge is one month long.  We’ll be posting our updates and reveals on Tuesdays.   Last year’s challenge was such a success, I’ve been anxiously waiting to get this year’s room started!

japanese rental kitchen before makeover

You can see in the before picture, there’s an interesting gray tile that looks like it would be better suited for an exterior wall along with outdated 50’s Japanese cabinets.  Stainless countertops, a fish oven with two gas burners, and no dishwasher or oven are all very common in Japanese homes.  Let’s be honest, this kitchen is plain ugly… but I’m up for the challenge!  It does have a HUGE sink, wood floors, and a very nice fridge.
rental kitchen before new year new room refresh challenge

Let’s pretend I live in a sweet little cottage in a bamboo forest.  Okay?   There’s a charming window and wood beam that open to the living area. The back of the kitchen has sliding doors (called fusuma) that open to the laundry and bathing room.  It is covered in wallpaper that has seen better days.  rental kitchen in traditional japanese home

There’s limitations to what I can do since the space is so small (and being a rental) but I plan on making it much prettier with an eclectic global feel that is consistent with the rest of the house.eclectic-global-kitchen-shopping-guide

  1. kitchen bar cart | 2. copper pulls | 3. IKEA rail | 4. copper pots and pans | 5.  bohemian pink rug | 6. | 7.  gripperwood cutting board 

The plan:

Create a focal point with .  (I might just wallpaper every rental kitchen I’m in!) It will soften the look of the gray tile and it goes along with the Japanese trends I’ve seen in cute boutiques and cafes locally.  Bonus, the owner actually approved it!

We desperately need more storage and counter space so an extra cabinet/island will be helpful.  Most online stores have furniture shipping restrictions to our FPO address so this piece will have to come from a thrift store.  (There are not many options for new inexpensive furniture here.)

Update hardware with recycled copper pulls from our last rental kitchen.

Add a colorful rug to brighten up the space.

Include more wood tones with counter top storage and cutting boards.

Brighten up the gray tile with a mirror or art.

Display our existing copper pots and pans with a stainless steel rail to free up cabinet space and add more interest.

I can’t wait for this room to be finished!  We are so close to having our house ready for a tour.  It’s a great experience to live in a traditional Japanese home!

I’m honored to be participating in this challenge with many talented bloggers and friends.  Please enjoy their room refresh plans and inspiration below.  If you are going through the list, next stop is the talented Teryn from Vintage Romance Style.


Casa Watkins Living // A Designer At Home // Bigger Than The Three Of Us // Domicile 37 // Fresh Crush // Iris Nacole // Monica Wants It // Pocketful of Posies // Seeking Lavender Lane // Sharon Joyce Interiors // This Is Our Bliss // Up To Date Interiors // Vintage Romance Stylenew year new room refresh sponsors


  1. Adore the wallpaper and rug! And I’m looking forward to seeing the copper pot collection displayed–it’s going to be gorgeous!

    1. Oh my gosh Cat, you are so sweet! Thank you! I can’t wait to own a house again but rentals are a great excuse to try big and bold temporary ideas. 😉

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