By Sarah Bracy Penn

Published on October 18, 2016

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Photography by THE INSPIRED ROOM

Sometimes, an apartment or starter home kitchen is flat out unattractive. But when you’re renting a space or designing on a dime, a total remodel isn’t practical or, in some cases, allowed at all. Not to worry, there are over a dozen easy hacks to upgrade your generic kitchen.

take off the cabinet doors

One of the easiest ways to streamline and style your kitchen is to install open shelving When a total demo isn’t an option, just remove the doors on your existing cabinets!

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Photography by LAURE JOLIET FOR DOMINO

funk up your hardware

The standard hardware in your apartment kitchen is probably nickel or chrome and the cheapest knobs that the owner could find. Replace them with something that suits your taste! Just remember to store the hardware that came with the place, as you’ll have to reinstall it if you move out.

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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK FOR DOMINO

add additional storage without drilling

Shoe racks, desk shelves, and other small storage pieces will do the trick. Here, a tiny shelf fits perfectly behind the sink for additional storage space.

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Photography by NINA CHOI FOR DOMINO

hang your pots and pans

There are several ways to hang and style your pots and pans. Overhead hanging grids are one option, or try a chic color-blocked ladder. The best part? More cabinet space for your baking essentials and dry groceries!

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Photography by JUSTIN BERNHAUT FOR DOMINO

style your dishes and counter appliances

Don’t sacrifice style just because your space is small. Pare down to just the dishes and serving platters you need, then stack and style them as you wish. Don’t try to cram everything in!

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Photography by ROLAND BELLO FOR DOMINO

hang a gallery wall

If your kitchen wall color is a bit heinous, hang a gallery wall to cover it up! Art in the kitchen is always unexpected and inspiring.

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Photography by JASON PENNEY FOR DOMINO

embrace the cabinet color (even if it’s unattractive!)

If you live in an outdated space, chances are your cabinets could be, say, burnt orange or mossy green. Don’t fret… just embrace the shade! Here, chinoiserie-style platters and orange accents were chosen to accentuate the blue cabinetry.

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Photography by BONNIE SEN FOR DOMINO

try a small-scale island

If your space is wide enough, add an island for more counter space. They come in stainless steel, wood, and even acrylic! You can even scoot benches or barstools beneath for additional seating when guests come over.

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Photography by DOMAINEHOME.COM

don’t forget a rug

If your kitchen tile or wood floors need to be covered up, consider a bright patterned rug or runner! They’ll add texture and color to your neutral kitchen, for sure.

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Photography by MONICA WANG PHOTOGRAPHY FOR DOMINO

hide those outdated counters

Hiding counters can be tricky, as you don’t want to clutter your surface too much. Try a larger cutting board for size. That way, you can use it as an everyday surface and cutting board if you’re preparing a meal!

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Photography by MOLLY WINTERS FOR DOMINO

conceal your outdated backsplash

If your kitchen has an unsightly tile patterned backsplash, you can easily hang a cutting board to conceal it! Try removable plastic hooks so you won’t damage the tile.

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Photography by JUSTIN BERNHAUT FOR DOMINO

consider pegboard

If you’re stuck with minimal cabinet storage, install pegboard to the walls. It’ll give you an excuse to find cute and colorful cookware to display!

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Photography by WHITNEY LEIGH MORRIS FOR DOMINO

greenery makes everything better

If all else fails, add a small houseplant to your open shelf Greenery adds a bit of cheer to any space!

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Photography by KRISTA KELTANEN

hang your produce

For dry produce, try a hanging basket! Storing it this way will free up more counter space for small appliances or fresh flowers.

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Photography by ANITA CALERO FOR DOMINO

hide your old appliances

Nobody really wants to look at your circa-2003 refrigerator. Take note of this kitchen and cover it with cork! You’ll still be able to display photos, recipes, and invitations, and say goodbye to kitschy magnets and that fridge exterior that’s seen better days.

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