Before & After: We Love This No-Reno-Required Rental Kitchen Makeover

This is an intriguing transformation, because the only difference between the before and after is the decorating. No remodeling, no renovation, no repainting or replacing anything, and yet the results are incredibly dramatic. So inspiring, especially to all of us with neither power tools nor the skills to wield them.

Let’s back up to get a full view of the drop ceiling and beige floor—two standard rental features that add a fair amount of blah to any room. Can their combined powerful negative energy possibly be overcome?

This hardly seems like the same kitchen! The rug covers nearly all of the floor and adds vibrancy, while all of the vivid colors and plants totally pull focus from the ceiling. Keeping the palette limited to blues and greens—especially all that gorgeous blue-green glassware—means that the resulting look is dynamic without being chaotic. And in a small kitchen, embracing a somewhat maximalist aesthetic is smart, since the minimal look is nearly impossible. The creative force behind this glorious kitchen is Sara Toubali of Black & Blooms, and it should be no surprise that this room was featured in Justine Blakeney’s The New Bohemians Handbook.

The removal of the cabinet doors eliminated some of the many clashing rectangles (doors, drawers, and ceiling tiles) and allowed for more space to display items that add color and personality. And with the doors gone, the wood of the cupboards can shine, adding warmth and organic beauty and coordinating with the cutting boards and baskets. Removing unwanted elements in an apartment and storing them until move-out day is a pro move that all renters should seriously consider.

This photo shows the somewhat awkward breakfast bar situation—more clashing rectangles and a kinda dorky (and space inefficient) wine rack.

But now it looks like the hottest bar in town! The wine rack even looks cool. The vining plants once again interrupt all the rectangles, the hanging tapestry eliminates a big block of beige, and overall, the entire space is a lively riot of textures and treasures. And is it just me or is the gold in the tapestry the exact hue of the wood? That’s next-level coordination.

A closer look reveals how thoughtful all of the details are. Those plant pots are perfection, the macrame plant holder works well with the sheepskins, the framed photo makes things personal, and the votives echo the shimmering glassware.

Thank you, Black & Blooms!

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