De-beigeifying our rental kitchen with no-damage DIY and lots of color

Guestpost by Alice N on Sep 27th

KitchenWe are software engineers by day, burners and artists by night. Six months ago, we lived in a warehouse with a ton of roommates (this was us). Then we found out I was pregnant, and pretty much everything about our living situation needed to be reconsidered overnight. Since the lease was about to expire and the perpetual semi-recreational home construction lifestyle of the warehouse turned out to be not so compatible with my newly pregnant state, we decided it was time to get our own place. Thus commenced Operation Settledown.

Since then, we've been hard at work turning our San Francisco apartment from OMG RENTAL BEIGE into someplace colorful and awesome that reflects our style. While the place has great bones (seriously, 12 foot ceilings and original 1906 pre-earthquake woodwork and all that jazz) it definitely lacked character when we moved in. But since we'll probably only live here for a year or two, we've had to be careful about what kinds of modifications we make.


The morning light in our kitchen is AMAZING. Since many parts of the city tend to be foggy all the time, the fact that I can spend half an hour every morning drinking my coffee in a beam of sunshine is a great luxury. We spend a ton of time just hanging out at the kitchen table having leisurely brunch on the weekend. It has changed the way I live. Seriously.

So here's how we de-beige-ified one of my favorite rooms — the kitchen.

KitchenIn the kitchen, we decided there were just too many nooks and crannies to paint, plus our lease doesn't officially allow it. So we opted for wall decals (which come off easily when we move) and making everything else in the space bright primary colors.

KitchenWe painted the table (it's actually an Ikea table covered in red glitter paint to match our microwave.

KitchenThe kitchen utensil poster came from a craft fair, and a lot of the other bits and pieces have been gathered from thrift stores over the past couple of years. We've been pretty careful to make sure that all of the furniture is stuff we can reuse in our next place.

KitchenThe room is also a really weird shape. We actually had to move the fridge to block some of the cabinets because we wanted to fit a table in, and our sideboard blocks another cabinet and the only drawer. But we decided that functionality was more important than extra storage space.

PantryWe've had to be somewhat creative with storage — the Ikea bins in the pantry, the pegboard, and the fact that all our silverware lives jumbled in a bin on a shelf spring to mind — but so far it's working out great.

DIY pegboardSpeaking of the pegboard, we spent a while looking for various shelves that could hold our heavy pots and things, and finally stumbled on this stupidly simple tutorial for putting up a pegboard.

I've lived in places for much longer that never managed to feel as homey as this apartment. With regards to painting and putting holes in the wall and all those other things your lease probably says you can't do — just do it! Even though it might just be for a little while, these things will affect you every day, and you'll be glad you put your personal stamp on the space… as long as the changes are more or less reversible, you may get out of losing your deposit.

Show me more of your kitchen!

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