How to decorate a kitchen on a budget

DIY, Kitchen

My galley kitchen in my new apartment is definitely an upgrade from my NYC kitchen but I wanted to give my generic white rental kitchen an upgrade and a little bit more personality with some color. I’ve always wanted a blue kitchen so I added a touch of blue with a temporary DIY backsplash and you’ll see how I managed to also paint a feature wall blue without actually painting the wall using temporary wallpaper. Lighting is also very important so I’m going to show you how to install under cabinet lighting using IKEA LED lights for better task lighting at the counter. With these changes, and few more tweaks, I now really love my kitchen and actually like to spend time in it!


  1. I swear each episode is better than the last and always jam packed with useful ideas, and solutions! Please keep the vids coming!

    • That’s so nice of you to say! Thank you for watching and yes, I’ll keep them coming!

  2. My rental kitchen is all white too, and this post give some ideas for a new change with out damage the walls. Thanks.

    • Glad my kitchen makeover has given you some ideas!

  3. Bonsoir Isabelle
    I was really glad to see your new episode tonight (I check every few days). I think the blue backsplash is ingenious and very pretty. Thank you for taking the time to answer our comments. It must be time consuming but it’s very much appreciated! À la prochaine!

    • Bonsoir Chantal! Merci! I’m the one that really appreciates you and others that take the time to write to me – helps keep me going! A la prochaine!

  4. You are so amazing. You made your last apartment look so classy. Maybe you will motivate me to start using the most basic of tools and not always wait until someone can help me. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much! Sometimes you just have to jump right in 🙂

  5. Hi Isabelle, I love your webisodes! Great ideas! When I was a renter I got very tired of the white walls too! I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this but I wallpapered with fabric and cornstarch. I used a cheap colorful sheet behind my sofa and on a dining room wall. It came off very easy when time to move. Thanks again!

    • Hi Jan, Thank you so much! That is a great idea, the fabric/cornstarch on the wall. I’ve seen it done, but I haven’t done it myself – it’s on my list of things to try! Thanks for watching 🙂

  6. Very nice transformation. Really enjoy watching your videos. Now if I could just motivate myself to make some changes!

    • Glad you like my kitchen makeover and thanks for watching! Just start with baby steps and that might help get the ball rolling 🙂

  7. I love all your ideas and creativity. This kitchen looks amazing & put together. I can’t wait to see the rest of your place. Love the backsplash idea, I need to try that as well. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Priscilla! I’m so happy you like my new kitchen and my backsplash idea. I love my backsplash – it’s so much nicer to look at than the boring white tiles!

  8. Also, you could have used clear contact paper over the fabric backsplash for a lot less money.
    Nice job !

    • Sure but I went with glass because I have a gas stove so I wanted something that would be fireproof. Thanks!

  9. Hi Isabelle,
    I’m really excited about the options for the kitchen. I stay in a rented apartment so I would like to ask if the wallpaper you painted on is really removable without any damage to the walls.

    • Hi Tosin, According to the manufacturer, it is supposed to be removable without causing damage to the wall, as long as the wall has a glossy finish (not good on matte paint). I haven’t removed it yet so I can’t say for sure if it’s easy to take off without damaging the walls. My kitchen walls have a glossy finish so it should be fine but I’ll be sure to update everyone on the removal process when I move out. Isabelle.

  10. I love all your ideas. I am so happy that I came across your channel a while back. I have been hooked and watch your vids every night 🙂 I love the sailboat colour and since i watched your vid on making a bench for the dining room, I am definitely going to try it out and paint some furniture with the blue.

    You are an inspiration Isabelle. Keep it up 🙂

    • Thank you so much Delphine 🙂 Isn’t that sailboat blue great? It’s such a happy color and it actually makes me want to spend time in the kitchen LOL!

  11. I realize colors can be “off” when viewed online, however, the color as it appears on your kitchen wall is nothing like the “Sailboat” color I find on the Behr website ( so I am wondering how come the color on your wall is such a dark, jewel toned blue, while the Behr site shows more of a dull color?

    • What can I say? Paint colors are tricky – different computer monitors and video cameras will impact how a particular paint color looks. I can tell you that the sailboat blue looks very different on my dining room chairs (it looks closer to the color on the website) than on the kitchen wall. The only way to truly know how a paint color will look in a room is to paint a swatch on the wall.

  12. Can I ask where you got that fabric or who made it. I love that pattern and would like to try using it myself if possible.

  13. Hello Isabelle.

    I really enjoyed your video, this Was my first time ever watching one of your YouTube showd. Where did you happen to find the removable wallpaper. I do apologize in advance if you mentioned it and I just overlooked it. I’ve been searching for removable wallpaper but have not had any luck.


  14. Isabelle, you’re my hero! I love all your videos, and I keep watching them whenever I get a chance to. I’m going to the Bosch DIY Workbench in Bangalore this week. I’m hoping to make a headboard.
    Can’t wait to see what you have in store next!

    • Thank you Chinmayee! That sounds like an amazing workshop, send me pics of your project, I would love to see it!

  15. Did the contact paper come off ok? was wondering if the paint dyes ran through the paper onto the wall/

    • Hi Angela, I haven’t removed the wallpaper yet but when I do, I’ll make sure to share how it turned out!

  16. I have a very limited amount of storage in my kitchen. Any ideas? I am thinking of using a chest of drawers/dresser in the, small as well, dining room area. Help pleaseptic. Thank you

  17. OMG very usefful ideas, your imagination is amazing, very nice ideas, and easy to do. Thanks for sharing. Where can I get the paper that you put in the wall? Regards.

  18. Hi!
    Thanks for the nice video.
    I would like to know, where is the “modern art” painting from? I love it.

  19. Hi Isabelle,

    I love your website and YouTube channel! Quick question do you think the wall paper could be used for apartment kitchen cabinets ? They are hideous dar brown color and my walls are textured so I think this is my only option.

    Thank you!!


    • Thanks so much Audrey 🙂 Since most kitchen cabinets are glossy, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, especially if the doors are flat and don’t have any details on them. Good luck! Isabelle

  20. Do you think contact paper would work the same as the removable wallpaper you put up in the kitchen? I just love your ideas, your a genius!

    • I’ve never tried but I think so – the only thing with contact paper is that it’s very thin. I would test it out in a small area first to see how it looks.

  21. I was thinking of using fabric like you did for above the stove and small wall area, but didn’t know how to secure it. The molding idea was very helpful. I wanted to use plexiglass instead of glass. Do you think that would work? Thanks! Great ideas…

    • Glad my idea was helpful! I don’t recommend plexiglass…the safest thing to use is tempered glass, especially with a gas stove.

  22. Thank you for the ideas for the kitchen decor. I positively like the idea to consider your needs and goals for a kitchen decoration. That helps you set a budget and design your idea around that budget. I like your video and that was great.


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