Yes, we dared to do it. What’s stopping you?

One definition of order is leaving a place better than how you found it.
All it takes is asking the landlord! A little paint, we were sure, would go a long way.

This was our reasoning at the time:

1. It would brighten the room so much.

2. It would give the entire kitchen a much classier look.

3. It would improve our outlook of our home.

4. It would improve the overall value of the place.

And the landlord said yes! Actually, he was quite indifferent to the whole thing, even to the paint swatches I tried showing him for approval. Whatever works, I tell you: ask, tell or don’t tell if you have enough confidence . . . anything but an outright “no” will do!


We couldn’t get over that shade of green! It made the room so dark! It also made the uneven tile stand out. That wooden trim separating the kitchen from the dining area also had to go. It would be a small change with a large impact. It was all probably a fast job when they added the extension (the dining room and the deck) since half the trim in this window and in the edge of the pantry door were unpainted.


I’m not going to lie. The kitchen was a pain to paint, especially with all the corners, cabinets, appliances and counters, not to mention all the priming that the wood trims needed. But what an impact!


Replacing tile, countertops, the floor or painting cabinets are obviously out of the question for us renters, homeowners on a tight budget, or for the ones who like to make do with what they have. Besides paint, there are plenty of other small touches that can really add impact:

1. Trim. If you can’t paint the whole room or an accent wall, go for the trim!

 2. Accesorize with an accent color, but just be sure to do it purposefully and keep it light to avoid clutter. I picked white, of course.

3. Window treatments. Get rid of the plastic seen-better-days blinds and get curtains instead. We added tablecloth curtains on cheap, painted rods to the windows.

4. Max out the space. We’re using the top of the cabinets and the fridge to store larger items such as large ceramic bowls and pitchers so they are also easily accessible. Get creative with arrangements or with hanging plates on the walls. (I’m still working on simplifying, switching things out, and adding  more character).


Generosity is a wonderful thing. Not only did we do all this work ourselves and not ask to be reimbursed for the paint (though you certainly could ask), it really worked out in our favor in another unexpected way.

We noticed our appliances weren’t the greatest. The oven door wouldn’t latch closed, and the dishwasher didn’t really clean those dishes. We got used to it after 3 months. . . old apartment, old appliances. I used the dishwasher as a drying rack (haha). One morning I was doing major cleaning and when I dropped off the rent I happened to mention I was sorry if running water was disturbing (the landlord works downstairs- there are a few businesses down there) and that I was almost done washing the dishes since the machine doesn’t do as well a job. . . and one week later he called to set up a time for installation of new appliances!


And it’s a GAS stove/oven! It’s so much more efficient and easier to cook with! No more worrying about crooked electric burners and wobbly pots with uneven heating! They’re not anything fancy, but still- new appliances- what a luxury it felt like for us unassuming newlyweds trying to make do with what we had!

Lesson learned: Embrace the quirks and/or take initiative!
All it takes is creativity.