There's no greater inspiration for cooking delicious meals than a clean, inviting, well-equipped kitchen. As a tenant it can be tricky to make big changes that achieve this, but there are small things you can do to revitalise your kitchen and make it a master chef's dream.
Freshen and clean grout, tiles and splash backs
Of course, keeping your kitchen clean from week to week goes without saying, but older style kitchens can be prone to cooking oil build up, discoloration from food stains and just looking generally tired. Plus, kitchens can be hard to keep clean and bright all the time, especially if they are any shades of white, cream or pastel.
Well thanks to innovation, we now have the magic of grout and tile whiteners. For as little as $10 - $20 you can get a tube of grout whitener, or even a magical grout pen, that simply sponges or draws over old grout and adds a whole fresh layer of white. You can use products like these on wall and floor grout, but the catch is this quick fix might then make your tiles look worse than they did before. It may be worth getting some professional cleaners in once or twice a year to give your kitchen a 'proper' clean. They tend to have commercial grade products and equipment along with the best tricks in the business. It's also worth investing in a cleaning product specific to your splash back - such as window cleaner for a glass splash back, or timber polish for wooden trims or windowsills.
Pick a colour scheme
This is a surprisingly underutilized hack and it doesn't necessarily need you to spend a lot of money up front. Choosing a colour scheme that matches or contracts nicely with the existing kitchen décor can instantly make the place feel more stylish. Even those dark old 70's brown or orange tiles can look better paired with the right colours. Cream accents will soften the brown, and some bright aquas or teals can make that orange look totally different. Make some popcorn and prepare for a trip down the rabbit hole with a search for 'kitchen ideas' on pinterest; add your favourite colour into that search term and prepare for your mind to be blown. The creativity and inspiration are endlessly fascinating.
Upgrade your kitchen equipment
Bringing new colours in does not have to break the budget either. You can add a tea towel, some hand soap and a candle or plant to your weekly shop and hey presto you're a stylist. Upgrade your kitchen with things that can be removed when you move out, such as fun knife blocks, paper towel holders, hooks to hang pots, pans and utensil from and chopping boards that cover ugly benchtops.
Choose accessories such as dishracks, and utensil jars that match each other and coordinate with tea towels and tablecloths if your dining table is nearby. Even a few flowers picked from local gardens, or fresh herbs from the shopping plonked into a jar can brighten the place up. If you do have a little extra cash, splash out on new bathroom plates and bowls that create a theme. Kitchens are one of the few rooms in the house that benefit from things being outside of cupboards - try recipe books organized by colour, or bright bowls and platters filled with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Green goes with everything
Far too few kitchens these days take advantage of natural greenery and plants in all their shapes, sizes and textures really do go with everything. From a succulent in a teacup next to the sink, to a bunch of fresh herbs lined up along a windowsill, to a tumbling philodendron draped down one wall from a high shelf or cupboard - the possibilities are endless and can be built on over time. Best of all they will continue to change the feel in your kitchen as they grow.
Do some research first and talk to plant nursery staff about what plants will grow well in the everchanging temperatures of your kitchen. Herbs in pots generally do well in a bright sunny spot, as do jars of sprouting seeds, aloe vera plants, philodendrons, and any small succulents or air plants. Try to mix things up too with some larger potted plants in a corner, smaller succulents on counter tops and hanging plants that drape down either suspended from the ceiling or positioned on a high shelf or cupboard. Gently position branches so they trail naturally where you want them to be. Plants should be positioned where they'll benefit from the best light and be easy to water.
Storage is everything
Revitalizing a space is about more than just how it looks - its functionality matters too. There are literally thousands of easy to add storage solutions on the market today - from colourful tins and containers to customised racks and inserts for cupboards and drawers. Organising kitchen's greatest enemies such as plastic containers, spare glass jars and miscellaneous utensils can be life changing.
If you don't have enough cupboard space for food, consider a well-positioned bookshelf and source some attractive glass jars or storage containers for bulk goods that look good on display such as pastas, grain, pulses and rices. A set of matching plastic tubs or woven baskets can be great for loose items such as plasticware or big kitchen equipment with multiple detachable parts like food processors or air fryers.