Rental Apartment Kitchen Updo!

12 Materials

My girlfriend renovated her kitchen and watching it transform her space so dramatically I thought why not do something with mine!

This is the before! The cupboards are from the 70's. The laminate on the doors was warping on the edges. Old hardware and a lovely (tongue in cheek) butcher block laminate counter top. I have lived with this for 11 years and was really tired of it.

With my sister's help we added 2"wide by 1/2" moulding from Home Depot to create a shaker style cabinet doors. The molding cost was $49 for 10 x 8' sticks which was just enough! First we sanded all the surfaces and wiped them down, measured and cut each piece with a dry fit before gluing in place. We used PL200 glue, clamped them in place and left them to dry overnight. Checked them a few times in the first hour to make sure they hadn't moved and adjusted if required. We caulked the inside edges and allowed to dry.

I then painted the cupboard doors inside and out with Dulux Vintage Wedding (white) water borne alkyd paint, This paint went on beautifully and created a durable, scrubbable eggshell finish after two coats. I chose this paint as I have a friend in the business and got a great deal.

For the backsplash I purchased peel and stick tiles from Aurora on Amazon. ca. Three packs of 8 tiles to make sure I had enough and with some leftover in case I wanted to do more. Total cost $150

These were a little tricky to install because of all the small tiles on the overlap edge to get them to fit. Once I got going it got easier. They are very tacky and after 6 weeks they are not lifting at all. I bought some modern door pulls on sale at Lowes Canada. I love the new look!

On to the counter tops.

Now I have to admit I was quite nervous about the counters. The laminate was in good shape but ugly to me. First a good wash down to degrease and then I sanded the sheen off the laminate and wiped down to remove the dust. Next I primed with Dulux water borne alkyd primer.

I caulked between the backsplash and counter first and let dry. Then I painted a grey alkyd one coat as the base. I had decided to try a faux marble and wasn't sure about how to do it. After watching several videos online I got up the nerve to start. Because the white primer and the grey were both water borne alkyds they could be used together. I took a brush and painted large irregular lines on the diagonal across the counter front to back. Then I took a large sea sponge and started dabbing and blending the colours together. I let the first coat dry, stepped back and looked at what more needed to be done. I took my sponge and dabbed paint on it and then added more mottled areas in both the grey and the white where I thought it needed it. I also took a fine artist brush and drew some veins in both the white and the grey. Then I took the sponge again and softened the veins! Finally a couple of coats of polyacrylic to seal the surface. We always use cutting boards so as not to harm the counter surface.

Voila! This is how it turned out!

Installed some under cabinet LED lighting by Sunbeam I bought at Costco.

Looks pretty good!

I painted all the walls a soft grey. I had enough tile leftover to do a row on the window wall so I added that.

Finally I thought the cream floor tiles looked a little off with all the white and grey so I saw a design for a carpet I liked and decided to make a floor cloth to brighten up the kitchen. That will be another post.

Before and After!

Costs breakdown:

artika for living backsplash tiles $150.00

paint - Dulux $150.61

home depot trim caulk glue sander $164.81

cabinet pulls $76.84

Costco lighting $40.00

canvas for floorcloth $20.00

incidentals $80.00

Total cost $682.26

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 48 questions
  • Mar14176411
    on May 11, 2020

    Did you aleady have tiles on the wall behind the bench (splashback) I have tiles on my wall but want to change them..and I was told..can't do..unless I want a new kitchen..I supose they mean would have to wreck the wall. I'm tired of the same tiles for years...

    • Jodi
      on Apr 13, 2021

      There is also a product that goes over your existing tiles- tile stickers. Google them. Just peel and stick for “new tile” with no demo needed. Good luck!

  • Edith
    on Jun 10, 2020

    How to renew particleboard kitchen cabinets

  • Penelope Evjenth Worsham
    Penelope Evjenth Worsham
    on Apr 13, 2021

    I love everything you did, but being a rental was everything ok with the landlord? Plus not too sure about the rug and valance, kinda overwhelms the space.

    • Flipturn
      14 minutes ago

      Janis said that she advised her landlord, they know she did it, and that they have pictures. It would seem that the landlord was 'ok' with what she did, however she did not say however, that she received written permission to make the changes that she did with the particular materials she used.

      Scroll back to the beginning of the conversation to read her words.

      Janis also said in a reply to another comment below, :

      "I have to tell you, I wrote a letter to management about what I wanted to do. They came up to inspect and told me I would have to return it to the way it was! But they have not seen the finished kitchen. I dare them lol".

Join the conversation

3 of 511 comments
  • Mar
    on Apr 13, 2021

    Love your kitchen reno! The cabinets look great. When you add the strips around the cabinets door fronts to get that "shaker" look, does the extra width of these strips now interfere with opening them up at all?

  • Patricia Blue
    Patricia Blue
    on Apr 14, 2021

    I was so inspired by this beautiful project. You did a great job! I really want to paint my countertops but I am also really afraid. You have given me more confidence. Looked up the paint, Amazon is out. I will continue to research and try to find it. Thanks so much

    • Flipturn
      Just now


      In the original post,(2016) she said that she bought the handles at Lowes in Canada. I know that some brands of paint at the present time are available in Canada only, not in the US; while others are available in the US only, not in Canada. I also know that some paints that were previously available 5 years ago, are no longer available.

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