Kitchen and Dining

Kitchen + Dining

Kitchen + Dining

Simple Kitchen Apartment Updates

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Ways to Spruce Up an Apartment Kitchen_1_650 PX
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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 3 Articles

Jazz up your apartment kitchen in ways that won't cause you to lose your deposit. Use temporary decals or washi tape to dress up the walls, make your own portable backsplash or replace the cabinet hardware to show off your style. All of your handiwork is easily undone when it’s time to move out.

A Boost for Bland Walls

Even if painting your apartment kitchen walls is out of the picture, you can still spruce them up with splashes of color in the form of removable wall decals or washi tape.

  • Add a large decal such as a chef's hat or loaf of bread shape to a wall for a focal point.
  • Decorate the top row of tiles for a wall that's partly painted, partly tiled, for a custom tile border look. Add decals such as a fleur-de-lis, a coffee cup or fork and spoon design for a kitchen theme.
  • Print or write out a kitchen-themed word such as "cucina" (Italian for "kitchen") on a piece of large paper, cut it out, then place it face down on the back of a sheet of clear contact paper. Trace and cut out the design, then peel and stick it on a kitchen wall for your own homemade decal.
  • Apply strips of colorful, patterned washi tape to a few areas around the kitchen, such as the area of the wall between the sink and a window. Create stripes or chevrons on white cabinet doors or drawers for another simple way to update your surroundings.

A Portable Backsplash

A backsplash protects the walls from splatters, but it also adds a hint of color and decor for otherwise unadorned walls. Create your own backsplash for an area above and behind your cooktop surface, or for the space between a countertop and the bottoms of the kitchen cabinets.

The backing material for your portable backsplash can be made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or even foam core board. Your homemade backsplash fits into place over a plain wall or over an existing backsplash that is better off hidden. Since it is made from a magnetic metal, you can use it to hold notes or recipes. If you prefer another look, cover the backer board with glass tiles or tin ceiling tiles instead.

Swap Out Hardware + Fabrics

If the hardware and curtains in your kitchen look like they went out of style several generations ago, replace them with new options more suited to your sense of style.

  • Measure the spacing between screws for drawer handles or pulls that have two posts, otherwise the new hardware may not fit.
  • Purchase all the knobs, handles or pulls in the same basic style and color to maintain a cohesive look.
  • Keep the old handles and their respective screws in small zippered bags, stored inside the drawers or cabinets they belong to. This way you can reinstall them before you move out, taking your hardware with you.
  • Replace old cafe curtains by making your own out of tea towels, or sacks designed to hold coffee beans, flour or grains. Hang the new curtains up using curtain ring clips, allowing you to swap out the fabrics at any time with ease, no sewing required.
  • Add decorative tea towels or dish towels, hung from the oven door or drawer handles, to add bits of style and color to the kitchen.

How to Install Portable Backsplash

Step 1: Remove Outlet Covers

Remove outlet and switch plate covers from the backsplash area using a BLACK+DECKER SMARTECH™ 20V MAX* Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver. Set the materials in a safe place, such as a drawer.

Step 2: Measure the Area

Measure the length and width of the backsplash project area.

Step 3: Mark the Dimensions

Mark the dimensions out on a large sheet of kraft paper. Use a large straightedge to recreate the basic backsplash shape on paper, then cut the paper out using scissors.

Step 4: Create Cutouts

Press the kraft paper sheet up against the desired backsplash area to ensure it covers the space completely, adjusting the paper as needed. Crease the paper, if too large, where it meets the countertop or bottom of a cabinet. Press the paper inward along areas where you've removed cover plates, then mark the paper with pencil along the same areas, so you know where to cut it. Carefully cut out the outlet and light switch areas.

Step 5: Trace Around the Paper

Set the kraft paper cutout atop a sheet of foam core board or MDF and trace around the paper with pencil.

Step 6: Cut the Foam or MDF

Cut out the foam core board or MDF along the lines. If cutting foam, score it with a utility knife, then bend it to snap it along the score marks. If cutting MDF, prop the material up between sawhorses and cut it out with a BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Cordless Lithium Jigsaw. Cut the outlet and light switch areas out by first drilling a hole inside the lines. Then position the jigsaw blade within the drilled hole to get it started. Test fit your backer board along the backsplash area to ensure it fits.

Step 7: Cut the Metal

Place the cut backer board atop magnetic metal sheeting and trace around it with a permanent marker. Cut the metal out with tin snips.

WARNING: Wear heavy work gloves when cutting and handling the metal sheet.

Step 8: Glue the Metal Sheeting

Glue the metal sheeting to the backing material using construction adhesive suitable for both surfaces. Place a few heavy books over the surface in several areas as it dries for the time recommended on the adhesive package. Once it is dry, hammer down any points or edges that stick up using a mallet.

Step 9: Position the Backsplash

Push the backsplash into place; if it needs help staying put, use double-sided removable adhesive pads designed to hold objects on a wall. Replace the light switch and outlet covers.

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