My Home  Office Motivator

My Home Office Motivator

Three Easy-To-Change Kitchen Cabinet Makeover Ideas For Rental Units

Allen Griffin

As a landlord, you want to allow your tenants to make themselves at home. While offering the ability to customize the interior can be a big selling point, it's often not so fun when you are left with the task of re-painting or changing it back when your tenants move out. Thankfully, there are ways to circumvent this--these three easy-to-change kitchen cabinet makeovers will help you to compromise with tenants more easily.

Contact Paper

It's highly affordable, easy to apply, and it comes in a wide range of patterns--contact paper is one of the easiest ways to customize while preserving the ability to remove the addition later.

Available at dollar stores, department stores and home renovation outlets, it comes in rolls that can be cut to size. Application is simple--just peel it from its backing and press it onto any flat surface. A light but strong glue keeps it attached until its time for removal. When it's time to remove it, it can be peeled off again with ease.

The easiest way to customize cabinets with this type of material is to apply it to the flat surfaces on either the inside of the cupboard walls or the door itself. Before you do this, paint the cabinets black or white--that way you're sure to match any color or style easily.

Once you're ready, take exact measurements for the sections you want to cover. It's important that your measurements be precise--even a millimeter or two can throw the placement off. Use a soft measuring tape for best results.

Next, cut out your contact paper to match the measurements. Peel back the corner from the backing on one side and press it onto the cupboard section itself. Use a rolling pin or other large, round, smooth item to roll it gently out over the rest of the surface.

Quick Tip: If you find you're getting bubbles under the contact paper, remove it and try again using a window squeegee. Work from the corner all the way down to the edge in smooth, firm strokes. 

How to Remove Contact Paper

Once you're ready to remove it, simply begin peeling it from any corner. If you have trouble, use a hairdryer to warm it for 10 to 20 seconds. It should peel off of the wall or cabinet with ease.

Fabric Cabinet Door Inserts

Fabric is another great way to add customizable style without creating a permanent change, but you'll need to buy a specific type of cabinet in order to take advantage of it. Specifically, you'll want to choose a cabinet that has a recessed section on each door. These are called shaker cabinets, and may also have a clear glass section in lieu of a recessed area. If this is the case, you'll be applying the fabric to the glass itself.

The fabric itself can be just about any type or style; however, you'll almost always have better results if you use a stiffer material.

Start the process by measuring and cutting out your fabric. Once it's ready, use your chosen starch to lightly coat the cabinet section you'll be applying it to. Next, soak the fabric itself in the same solution. This works best if you're using a spray can, but you can also dip it into a bucket of starch, too.

Quick tip: Be sure to buy a high-quality crafter's starch. Don't use sugar, cornstarch, or any other home DIY methods, as they won't hold up to the humidity and heat often found in kitchens. Food-based starches can also attract bugs--something you definitely don't want to welcome into your home.

If you decide to go with the bucket method, hold the fabric at the top two corners until the excess has dripped off before applying it to the cabinet.

Once both the cabinet and the fabric begin to get tacky, use a damp sponge to paste it down against the surface of the cabinet. Work from the top to the bottom to prevent lumps.

This blog offers an excellent step-by-step of the process if you need a visual guide.

How to Remove the Fabric

Once it's time to remove this customization, all you need to do is thoroughly dampen it with cold water. Peel it away just as you would a sticker, working from one corner to the opposite side. If you have trouble, continue to sponge it with cold water for 10 minutes and try again.

Peel-and-Stick Tiles

Nothing looks better in a kitchen than pretty tiles, but installing a permanent backsplash can be expensive and time-consuming. That's where peel-and-stick tiles come in. Your tenants can create a temporary look that's cohesive and beautiful by using them as cabinet backing and wall elements.

Quick tip: It is very important that you buy temporary peel-and-stick tiles. Not all styles are meant to be permanent. Temporary tiles can be removed with little more than a hair dryer and your hands. Permanent peel-and-stick tiles are much more difficult to remove. To ascertain whether your tiles are designed for easy removal, check the instructions on each package carefully.

The best way to make this work is to choose a shaker-style cabinet that uses a glass insert. Not only will this give the illusion of more space in small apartments and condos, it creates a light and airy feel.

Start by painting the cupboards a basic black or white shade. Then, the peel-and-stick tiles can simply be applied to the back wall inside each cupboard. To create a cohesive look, apply the same pattern to the wall directly underneath the cupboards, too.

Peel-and-stick tiles work like stickers, too--so you'll simply need to remove the backing and press them onto whatever surface you wish to apply them to.

If you need a rough visual guide, follow the instructions shown in this video

How to Remove Peel-and-Stick Tiles

When it's time to remove the tiles, warm them with a hairdryer for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not skip this step--failing to warm the glue backing can result in damage to the cabinet or wall.

Once they feel warm to the touch, simply peel them away from either side. 

Regardless of what customizations you choose to allow, starting with the right cabinet style is crucial. Ideally, you want something that's crafted from a durable material like oak or pine. Avoid particleboard and other processed materials, as they are less likely to hold up over time. If you have questions about how you can create a customization-friendly kitchen for your tenants, contact a cabinet maker today.


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About Me
My Home  Office Motivator

When I got married a few years ago, I moved into my husband’s home. The sparse home office included a large wooden desk and a tiny wooden rigid chair. After a few months of working at my computer while sitting in this chair, I was miserable. I visited an office supply store and purchased a sleek leather massage chair. Now, this comfortable chair is all the motivation I need to start working at my computer each morning. I can type while receiving a luxurious massage from my office chair. On this blog, you will learn how to shop for a comfortable office chair you will not want to get out of.