Making Over a Renter’s Kitchen

the right corner up there with the mixer is where I do half the kitchen work, in the evening it was DARK as night

This is the second nicest kitchen I’ve ever had.  But it’s not mine.  It’s not mine because we rent, but it’s also not mine because it is simply not what I would choose for a kitchen.  Although some of the materials are lovely, they aren’t my taste.  I’d almost rather have a kitchen with old stuff so I can fix it up and not feel bad about it. Almost.

Some people won’t see a difference, some people will think I”m crazy for covering up “perfectly good tile”, some people will think it looks much worse.  I think it looks more like mine.  This was an easy way to claim a kitchen that we are going to be living and cooking in for the next few years.

a new box of frosted flakes on the floor doesn’t even phase him

Our kitchen doesn’t have a window but, the adjoining breakfast area is all windows. However, because of the black {and pink} granite, when you get to the far corner of the kitchen where I actually work and roll out pizza dough and measure ingredients, it was really dark.  Plus, everything in the kitchen has a pink undertone, the wood cabinets, the floor, the granite and the backsplash.

We decided to put up some white beadboard to break up and neutralize the pink.  Beadboard is inexpensive and we had all the measurements cut at Lowes/Depot, I can’t remember which.  We came home and took off the outlet covers.

My husband used a dremmel or something to cut the holes for the outlets.

Perfect fit.  The beadboard was such a good fit that it almost stayed in place by itself.  However we did need to secure it.  This is the part where some of you will file a lawsuit against me.  Because we are renting, and because this is just to be a very temporary cosmetic change, and because in a few years when we move out, I will want to re-expose the tile again because I think the owners would prefer that look, I needed to put the beadboard up in a way that it could VERY easily be removed.   Most of you can guess what I did.

Or actually, what I had him do.  We hot glued it.  Once again, hot glue serves as a perfect temporary holder of things.  It will stick as long as you want, but, when you are done, it peels right off.

You will want to do what I did and test an area first.  A few weeks earlier, I globbed on some hot glue on a hidden part of my tile and let it sit for a week or so.  Then, I went an peeled it off.  I used the end of a metal spatula.

The glue came off all in one piece, and it was really easy once I got a little edge up. Don’t underestimate the qualities of hot glue.

Here’s another example of my hot gluing ways.  Three years ago I hot glued some scrapbook paper to the back of my hutch.  Last month I tore it all off so I could paint it.  The scrapbook paper stayed on through two moves.   See all the places where the glue was?

Here’s the same hutch 5 minutes later. I used a spatula to help pry up the dried glue. It just popped right off and didn’t damage the wood at all–so it for sure will not damage the hard tile in my kitchen.  Hot glue is a good friend, it is very forgiving.

When you are working with hot glue and something you think you might want to remove later, make sure you apply the glue in a few large globs.  It’s much easier to remove an inch circle of hot glue than a million tiny little dots and lots of thin lines of glue.  For each of the pieces you see here, we did a glob on each corner, that’s it.

The beadboard is more calming and just white as opposed to the light sucking, diagonal multi-toned tile. We did put a coat of paint on it to help protect it and make it easier to wipe down, especially over by the sink.

We also put up these little lights from IKEA.  They were less than $30 for a set of 3.  And they make a world of difference in my dungeon corner.

edited to add:: the cords for the lights are up in the cabinets–we {he} just drilled a hole and pulled all the wires through to the cabinet above the microwave–go check, most people have a hidden outlet in that cabinet above the microwave.

Ahhh, much better.

And for the record I don’t always have a large, overly ripe watermelon setting out on my counter.

I think the kitchen feels a little more like the rest of our house now.

I had to force my husband to allow the beadboard to be imperfect.  See that place up there where it ends at the end of the counter?  We could put some molding or trim there but, I’m ok with it how it is. If it drives you crazy and it’s worth it to you, by all means, finish it off.  You can also see where I have yet to finish painting the wall of the kitchen {just a little whiter shade than before}.  I’ll get to that very soon.  For now, I’m enjoying a kitchen that is more me, for less than $100 that can easily be changed back when we move out.

For those of you who want to put your beadboard up permanantly and correctly, Thrifty Decor Chick can coach you much better than I can.


  1. When I saw the first picture I thought you were crazy. But the pictures that show the kitchen along with the rest of the house really shows how perfect it is! Great idea!

  2. I had no idea that hot glue is so forgiving. Hmm. Now some projects that I’ve had on the back burner don’t feel quite so out of reach! Merci!!

    • Can hot glue be put on painted walls? My Mom lives in apartment, behind the stove and sink are painted walls and they won’t let us attach anything to them.

  3. Has it really been three years since you scrapped the back of your hutch?! The bead board looks ab fab, of course.

  4. dude. is there anything hot glue can’t do??

    i’m pretty sure all the world’s problems can be solved by hot glue.
    it for sure could bring world peace and end world hunger. i just know it.

  5. Hi there. I’m reading your blog from australia. Its one of my favorites. I’d like to suggest changing the knobs on your cupboards to white china/porcelain to go with your clever splashback(funny how we say that word around the other way) Keep up the great ideas. Love it!

  6. I just like the picture of your husband at the end. It is as if he is looking at that baby wondering “do you think they are going to leave that little thing here”?!?!?! love it :)

  7. What a great idea and beautiful temporary re-design! I, too, love hot glue, it does work wonders :-)

  8. I LOVE you! We just moved into a rental and the tile is horrid!!! Beadboard here I come!

  9. Ah Nester, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You are BRILLIANT!! You and I ought to right a book on making a rental space your own. No seriously, we should. :-)

  10. Love it! I did that one time in a bathroom apartment (the beadboard on a wall) and then behind the stove as a backsplash, but for some reason I never thought to do the whole kitchen. I’m so going to remember this the next time we move overseas (seems like most places we rent have atrocious kitchens).

  11. hi! we are trying to beadboard in the laundry…so i told my hub about your hub using a dremel for cutouts. he wants to know: what kind of bit did he use? a router bit?? any way you could let me know? very interested. and LOVE your site, ideas, creations, philosophy, etc. God Bless!!!

  12. I love your attitude! And I TOTALLY get your dark corner dilemma. It’s better now. You make me feel like I can actually transform my house from dated mid 1980’s to Fresh Dixie. Thank you.


  13. Great idea and such a beautiful new look

  14. How is it cleaning the beadboard? My hubby and I are about to redo our kitchen and we’re worried that gunk (I’m thinking pasta sauce, etc.) will get in all the little crevices and be hard to clean. I love the look, though, so I’m hoping you’ll say it’s easy!

  15. I love it! I would love to do this in my kitchen as we are renters also. I’d like to use a pretty yellow or red in there and it would be great to not worry about painting it white when we move out! Thanks for sharing.

  16. I have a little pesky question. I’ve always thought good undercounter lighting had to be hard wired. I’m curious how to turn it off and on??? Do you just unlug/plug it in everytime??

    • Becky, I have a string of old style lights under my upper cabs and they have a switch. If I were installing some now I think I’d try stick-on lights that are pressed on/off.

  17. Hi! I see this is an older post, but I love this! I also love that green paint color in the last picture. Do you have the name of it on hand?? Thank you so much!

  18. I LOVE your ideas, and this one was especially fantastic! We are renters also and getting ready to move into and house from an apartment, so as you can imagine my excitement level is on the top scale. This is such a clever idea to possibly use to spruce up something that isn’t ours.. yet. Thank you for being so creative and down to earth… it’s refreshing :)

  19. Great idea to use beadboard pannelling and hot glue! I just asked a kitchen backsplash question to Kate Centsational Girl today at True Value’s Blog Squad Session and she referenced your post to show me how I could improve my blah beige tiled backsplash! It’s a great idea! I will be getting my hubs to help me put this in this weekend :)

  20. I read this post so long ago and was inspired to do the very same thing in our rental. It looks great!!! I also had my husband remove the upper cabinet doors and he carefully put them in a closet with the screw so when we leave, he will just put them back on. I so love the openness of the “shelf” look with them off. If it were our own house, they would have come down completely and shelves would have been put up in there place. But since we too rent, the doors removed are just as nice.

    Hugs From My Heart

    • Tasha McClam says

      I would LOVE to see before and after pictures! Such an awesome idea to take the front cupboard door off!

  21. I want to do this so bad! But our rental has that weird laminate lip at the backsplash and there’s no tile or anything on the wall. Any ideas how I can pull it off?

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  23. How do you turn those under cabinet lights on and off? And did you put any of them under the other cabinets? Thanks. I’m about to move into a kitchen smaller than that one and it needs help.

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  25. Tasha McClam says

    You are a GENIUS!! Thank you so much for this life changing post! I have completely loathed my horrid fruit tile back splash and I also rent. We plan to live here for a long time and I had to do something. I had no idea how or what to do. I can’t wait to do this!! It’s so important to have your home feel like YOUR home and reflect your style. I am happy to say because of you, mine will…YAY!!!! For all those renters with ugly back splashes, we THANK YOU!!! Can you tell me how you measured and got it so snug? I’m not experienced at all! Also, were the people at the hardware store good about cutting it for you? And one more thing, how would you recommend a first timer cut the holes for the plugs and switches? Thank again!

  26. I actually am going to be doing some major renovations. I really like these little things that I can do until then, it keeps me busy so I stay patient. There are a few rooms that I’m not renovating, the kitchen being one of them, so I should try something like this! I actually really do like your tile, but our tile isn’t nearly as nice. I was thinking maybe I could do the same thing, but with bigger tiles on top.

  27. How did the glue hold up over a hot stove abd oven?

  28. did you have any problem when water gets splashed and runs along the bottom? I imagine the breadboard is subject to warping. But I am intrigued and love the idea.

  29. Can you tell us more about this? I’d care to
    find out more details.

  30. So, it looks like you did a really great job, and I expect you are an amazing person, but since this comment box says “speak your mind” here it comes: It is completely wretched to write a DIY blog/post and NEVER answer people’s questions! Way to alienate readers and faithful followers! It would take you a few minutes each week to check and respond, or even a few seconds a day if you got notifications. You’re getting a lot of praise from people and you don’t even say thank you. People are trying to do what you do, which they say is the highest form of flattery, they love your idea so much they want to do the same – and isn’t that your point? To share this and help people with the same problem? But then they ask good questions and you don’t even bother responding. Like I said above, I think your idea and execution worked great and by your pictures (in this post, I’m not a stalker) you look like a lovely wife and mom, so don’t take offense because I am not criticizing your character, but ignoring readers/followers is a big blogging fail. AND it’s a super easy fix! It would be to everyone’s benefit to change this!

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