One Room Challenge | Rental Kitchen Makeover: The Reveal!

The kitchen is finished! Better late than never! I am a tad late for the final reveal for the One Room Challenge. As a guest participant I was supposed to be done on Thursday, but I had several setbacks.

First of all I want to thank Linda from Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens for sponsoring the One Room Challenge. If you are new here is it where 20 featured designers/influences make over a space in six weeks. I am part of the guest participant group! This challenge lights a fire in getting projects done.

We have been renting this house for almost 4 years, and during those 4 years, I have been dreaming of ways to give the kitchen personality. The landllords gave the home a cosmetic lift before we moved in and removed the ugly tiles on the kitchen walls. The cabinet fronts have seen better days and I keep them clean with an orange degrease cleaner since they are old and tend to get dirty very easily.  How nice it would be if the landlords would replace them with shaker style wood fronts. Sigh... Or replace the speckled counter top.

 Wanting to give the kitchen a more warm and layered look and some personality I removed the ugly venetian blinds, stencilled the backsplash, applied shiplap to the island, added kitchen stools and replaced the cabinet hardware! My budget was small, but I felt I was able to give the kitchen a facelift with rental friendly updates! I can take almost everything with me, except for the shiplap of course but my landlords can thank me to making their kitchen look better. The backsplash can be painted over when we move! The total cost of the kitchen makeover was UNDER $500!

Visit week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4 and 5 to see the progress (or lack therof!)

Love how my vision of a modern farmhouse kitchen came to life!

A reminder of the before:


The wall stencils are from Cutting Edge Stencils. They generously partnered with me on this project. I chose the Florenza wall stencil in 6 inches. Stencilling is harder than it looks!  Cutting Edge has amazing directions and how-to's on their website. They were my go to during this project. My one takeaway, if you choose an intricate stencil pattern like I did, stencil a smaller area or the floor. It was really hard and time consuming because the stencils were smaller, thin and intricate to mimic a tile, but I had so many corners, edges and electrical outlets to stencil around. The beauty about stencilling, if you make a mistake you paint over and start again. Which I did, many times. I still have areas I need to touch up, of course, only I can see the mistakes!

The relaxed Roman shades were made with Ikea Ritva curtains, ! I wanted the fabric to match the Ikea drapes I already had hanging in the kitchen. Cost was $39 for the fabric. I lined them with blackout lining as our kitchen is south facing and I hope to help keep it cool in the summer by blocking out the light. Had a few setbacks with them. I measured and whipped them up, while I was installing them, I realized they were too wide. Not sure where I went wrong, so I had to re-do them at the 11th hour! So nice to get rid of the bent, old venetian blinds and make the windows looks even.

The shiplap is from Metrie who partnered with me to help bring our boring island to life! Metrie Complete pre-painted shiplap is sooooo easy to apply. I used liquid nails for the whole project. The corbels wer given to me by Victoria and Brad from The FAT Paint Company (they helped by generously ripping down the 3 last shiplap boards that were too wide to finish my project). I build up the corbels with some trim and then painted the pieces. They too were installed using liquid nails. The whole island was then painted with paint I had colour matched to the cabinets at Home Depot using Behr paint.

I feel like the island now has such personality and looks custom as opposed to the melamime box it was before!

The stools were a Facebook marketplace find for $20. I sanded the seats and stained them with Rustoleum's Ultimate Stain in Dark Walnut. The legs of the chair were painted with Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal Black.

My biggest splurge in the kitchen was the rug from ECarpet Gallery, and it was only $159! Love that ECarpet Gallery is in Canada, so quick shipping and NO DUTY!

The towel bar is the Fintorp series from Ikea. 

My go to place for accessories is Homesense. I collected bowls, the spoon rest, copper utensil holder, dish towels, and oven mitts.

As a last minute decision, I decided to strip our vintage kitchen table and stain it Dark Walnut as well. I am not happy with how the top turned out so I am going to redo it when I am on summer break. It went all streaky on me. Sniff.

To spruce up the cabinets, I replaced all the ugly knobs which were either speckled to match the counters or mismatched with a simple matte black knobs I found on Amazon. (Affliate link used) Since there were 50 to replace, I wanted VERY budget friendly and the right look. Glad I found some on Amazon! Total cost: $69!

It would have been nice to install light fixtures to add another layer, there are a gazillion pot lights in the space but since they are not lined up over the island, I couldn't replace a few pot lights with hanging fixtures. Since its a rental, there is only so much you can do!

So glad to be done! 

This kitchen makeover cost me under $500!

Many thanks to my sponsors and helpers!


Cutting Edge Stencils

The FAT Paint Company

Thank you to the One Room Challenge and Better Homes and Gardens for sponsoring this event! Can't wait for the fall challenge!


  1. This looks fantastic Barbara, and I can see the amount of work you put into this makeover. The stencilling alone is daunting enough - I actually thought you used Peel & Stick tile, but when I read you stencilled the whole thing, well can I just say, I'm impressed! That's a ton of work!! I know how hard it is to live with the idiosyncrasies of a rental, so what you've done here is not only incredible, it's also inspiring. Way to go! You rocked this makeover!!

    1. Aww thank you Sheila! It wasn't easy but love that I can add a few of my personal touches to make it feel like OUR home!

  2. What a difference! Small changes but huge impact! I think I would have lost my mind on the stencil so good for you....sticking to it!

    1. I did lose my mind.... but kept going and had MANY glasses of wine!

  3. You did a beautiful job with the stencil project, looks fabulous

    1. Thank you! Love how the stencilled wall turned out as well!

  4. Gorgeous job, love your style.
    You did an amazing job, i wonder if you told the landlord that you have done ;) :D
    I love it
    Have a great Sunday
    a follower from Portugal

    1. No they weren't told but had come by a few months later and didnt' say anything!

  5. What a huge difference! Well done!! Love the stenciling especially. :)

    1. Thank you! I am pleased with how the stencil turned out!

  6. Wow you've made that kitchen look like it received a full on reno! You did such a good job with the stencil. And that has to be the coolest looking stool makeover I've ever seen. I am smitten with all the decorative elements.

    1. Thank you! I love the stools too, only cost me $10!

  7. You've done an amazing job with a rental kitchen. Your improvements give it so much warmth and charm. I'm really impressed with your stenciled backspash. Nicely done. I love the look of the shiplap and the Roman shades and all the little touches, too.

    Like you, I was always rearranging my bedroom as a child, and my sister and I reguarly redoracted our "doll house" which was a series of cardboard boxes. Love your blog! Alys

  8. Alys, Thanks for you kind words! I currently have my daughters' Barbie house back at my house after my nieces outgrew it as well, and I am thinking it needs a makeover!


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