Renter's Cabinet Cover Up

5 Materials
5 Hours

If you rent, you know there are limited with options at times to make a space your own. If you happen to hate your kitchen cabinets, but can't paint or replace them, this may be an option for you! My cabinets weren't all that bad, just your standard simple oak, but I thought I would test this out and share my results. With the fabric of your choice you can "paint" your rental cabinets to customize your space!

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- Liquid Starch

- Scotchgard Fabric Protector against liquid and stains

- Drill

- Staple Gun - I know a hammer and pins are pictured above, however I found that using a staple gun was much more efficient and just as removable!

- 6 yds. fabric

STEP 1: Remove your cabinets Using your drill, remove your cabinet doors and their hinges from the cabinets.

STEP 2: Measure your fabric Lay your door onto your fabric and cut out a piece of fabric with a good 1.5" excess on each side.

STEP 3: Staple the fabric Grab your staple gun and staple the fabric down to the back side of the doors. You will start by stapling one side and then the other making sure the fabric is nice and taut. If you are worried about the staples you can also use mod-podge or just extra starch on the edges to secure it in place

STEP 4: Fold the fabric for the corners For the corners of the door you will need to fold each side over one another and then staple it in place. It helps to pull up the corner of the fabric over the edge and then fold one side over and then the other over that and then stapling through all 3 layers.

STEP 5: Seal with liquid starch Once all your sides are stapled down seal the fabric border in place by spraying it with some liquid starch. It serves as a temporary glue and will keep your fabric in place.

STEP 6: Prepare the cabinet frame Cut pieces for each section of the cabinet that lies behind the doors with some excess on each side to fold over and around the edges. For each section spray the surface with the liquid starch.

STEP 7: Add fabric to the frame Grab your fabric piece fold over one edge so it is clean.

Stick your fabric to the surface and spray it down with more starch making sure it is nice and smooth. I found it helped to go with the seams of the wood as a guide for where the strips of fabric will meet.

STEP 8: Get rid of the excess fabric Wrap the excess edges of the fabric around the edges of the cabinet and staple them in place (again if you don't want to staple you can use extra starch or mod-podge to seal the edges in place) making sure the fabric on the front surface is lying nice and smooth. Add more liquid starch to help smooth it out and keep it in place. Repeat steps 6-8 for all uncovered sections of your cabinets. *For drawers you will use a combination of how you cover both the doors and the back surface.

STEP 9: Spray down every crevice with a liberal amount of fabric protector. This will help to keep the cabinets water and stain resistant. Since kitchens get dirty this is a MUST! When you are ready to remove the coverings you just remove all the staples with a flathead screwdriver and wash away the starch with a wet sponge and some soap.

Here is a before and after of the cabinets! Such a transformation! I must say I do love an emerald green color in the kitchen. I may have to add some hardware!

Though I would prefer to just paint them, this is a nice option for those who aren't able to paint and want something different from what they have got going on in their rental!

I did take an iron and press out the folded creases to help make the seams nice and tight!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 31 questions
  • Dsouther
    on Feb 5, 2019

    Thank You Ms Pike. I too would never leave an apartment in worse shape than when I moved in. However, I just know how strict my son's complex is. That is why I wouldn't even think about putting staples in the cabinets. PS How do you get wood filler to match and sticky residue off cabinets without taking the color off too? Thank You

  • Dsouther
    on Feb 5, 2019

    Hi Ms. Pike. This is good to know. I too would never leave an apartment worse than I when I first rented it. I just know how strict my son's apartment complex is. I would never put staples in apartment cabinet doors. I wouldn't even do that the ones in my home and they are 50 years old. PS How would a person get wood filler to match the color of the cabinets and how do you clean sticky tape like residue off cabinets without taking off the stain/finish?

    • Dsouther
      on Jul 31, 2019

      If you have to go to all that much trouble why put holes in the cabinet to start with. Please remember these cabinets are not her property. She is paying for the right to live in a residence. She does not have (nor is she paying for) the right to put holes in any structural elements of said property. If she were my renter and I saw the staple holes she would not get her deposit back. If anything this article has only alerted landlords to be on the look out for this type of damage to their

      cabinets. Thank you for comments.

  • Mary Beth Packard
    on Feb 13, 2019

    'm very interested in trying this in my kitchen. What kind of fabric did you use? Could make a big difference In how it turns out.

    • Carroll
      on Sep 28, 2019

      I want to do something in my kitchen and bathroom and am thinking of all the materials that might work.

      i am going to go to a fabric store find a pleather buy enough for 1 door and see how that works.

Join the conversation

2 of 416 comments
  • Ana
    on Jan 2, 2020

    This is a great idea and works just as well on walls if you can't paint. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

  • Flipturn
    on Jun 3, 2020

    I disagree with any above comments that Scotchguard spray will allow the fabric to be cleaned sufficiently. Anywhere there is normal food preparation, there is going to be splatter and dripping to some extent from raw food such as chicken, milk, and other protein-based foods.

    It is important that the surfaces in this food preparation area be of a material to be adequately distenfected simply to destroy bacteria such as samonella.

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