FOOD

10 Easy, Cheap, Rent-Friendly Ways To Improve Any Kitchen

Bonus: some of these tricks are free.

21/05/2017 9:41 PM AEST | Updated 27/05/2017 4:11 PM AEST

If you've been renting a place for at least three months, you'll know that renting is the worst.

You might have moved into a place that's stuck in the 80s, or maybe your home has great modern bones, but there's no way in hell you can add your own creative embellishments without your bond disappearing faster than you can say 'smashed avocado'.

Great news -- there are easy ways you can improve the look of your home, specifically the kitchen.

And we don't mean tips that cost a thousand bucks or ones that take hours to do. These 10 tricks are easy, low cost and, importantly, rent-friendly.

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1. Bring the outdoors in

2016 saw houseplants become as trendy as turmeric lattes, and there's no sign of slowing down in 2017. And why should it -- houseplants purify the air and give any space a lush, fresh, homey feel.

On your next day off, head to your nearest hardware store or nursery and pick up a handful of indoor plants. Go for vines in hanging pots or larger, leafy plants like monstera deliciosa. Even a row of herbs will do the trick.

Budget tip: pick up cheaper houseplants at garage sales.

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2. Display framed prints

Hanging prints (or resting them on shelves) is a beautiful way to bring some creativity and personality into your kitchen -- and they don't have to cost a fortune. Here's our favourite print shop.

If you're worried about hanging prints on the wall, there are now adhesive hooks and poster strips available that don't peel off wall paint, seriously. Head to the hardware store and pick some up ASAP.

Budget tip: find cheaper old prints at op shops, garage sales and markets.

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3. Add or change the lighting

If you sigh every time you turn on that blue-toned, fluorescent kitchen light, it's time to take matters into your own hands. This could be as simple as purchasing a vintage style bulb or changing from a cool to warm light bulb.

If you can spend a few shekels, pick up a new light -- either a floor or desk lamp -- and place it in a neat spot on the kitchen bench (maybe even surrounded by your new plants). You could even ask the real estate if you can change the light fixture to really transform your kitchen.

Budget tip: pick up cheap yet quirky lamps and light bulbs from Kmart and Target.

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4. Display a vase of flowers

In the same vein as houseplants, buying a weekly vase of flowers is a cheap and easy way to bring life and colour to your kitchen. There are countless opportunities with blooms in the kitchen: you can match your flowers to accents already in your kitchen, or use the bouquet to add contrast.

Budget tip: buy flowers that are in season and change the vase water regularly to extend flower life. Alternatively, ask a neighbour with beautiful flowers growing in their garden if you could take one for your home.

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5. Hide the ugly stuff (looking at you, dish rack)

Keeping your bench top simple is one of the easiest ways to brighten up your kitchen. And let's face it, a rusted, dirty dish rack or dish cloths aren't the prettiest of elements. The best part? Creating space doesn't cost anything. Simply pop the dish utensils away when not in use.

If you love the super minimalist look (or if you're not a fan of your small appliances), keep your toaster and kettle in a cupboard. This leaves more space for flowers, plants and mood lighting.

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6. Add a rug

Who says you can't have a rug in the kitchen? A budget-friendly rug is a great way to add a cosy, colourful vibe to your cooking space. Plus, it's warmer in winter which makes getting up to make breakfast that little bit easier.

Budget tip: head to your local markets or garage sales to get bargain rug deals. You could even check your parents' garage or shed for family treasures.

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7. Make a kitchen island

Got an old desk lying around, or found one on chuck-out day? If you've always wanted a portable kitchen island, now is the time. Finish it off by painting your island with a light layer of chalk paint and using sandpaper to buff areas away.

For an easier DIY, there's some great (and cheap) IKEA hacks out there for making kitchen islands.

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8. Use mason jars for organising

If you've got wall mounted shelves (or are running out of cupboard space), transfer your pantry items into mason jars of all sizes. If you love any excuse to get out the labeller, label your jars so you know which is which.

Budget tip: pick up mason jars at op shops, garage sales and online at a cheaper price.

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9. Polish your sink

It might not sound like much, but we guarantee you that a sparkling clean sink does in fact make your kitchen look at least three times better.

All you need is some good ol' Gumption and an arm workout.

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10. Add a blackboard

Bring back school vibes with an old blackboard. They're great for not only adding character, but for reminding yourself and those you live with to pick up the damn milk or toilet paper.

Budget tip: keep your eyes peeled for old blackboards at op shops and chuck-out days.

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