Updating a rental kitchen

I'll be honest. After making a few necessary purchases for our kitchen way back last summer (see the post about our no-drawer kitchen here) we pretty much stopped working on the kitchen at all. It's a rental, and it has decent bones, but that's about it. Until we renewed our lease last month, we weren't completely sure how long we'd want to stay here, so making a lot of changes or decorating (especially ones that we couldn't take with us) seemed unnecessary. But now it's looking like we'll be here at least another year and very possibly two, and the little things that bug me about the kitchen are finally on the fix-it list. Because I don't think renting means that you have to give up all style or hope of improvement.

But since I haven't shared any kitchen photos in a long time, let's review what we're working with, 360 degree style...

Cabinet of shame and uselessness:

 

As you can see, it's fairly small, but has really classic elements. It's lacking storage and counter space. A lot of open space is cluttered due to the lack of storage, but we have that totally useless half-empty cabinet that only has one shelf!

On the to-do list...

  • Put additional shelving inside the cabinet of shame to hide small appliances, food, and make it about 100% more useful.
  • Reduce clutter by finding new homes for things or getting rid of them.
  • Hang some art and do a plate wall arrangement above the stove and fridge.
  • Possibly add another island/cart next to the stove (if we can find something for cheap).
  • Recycling bin that isn't a paper bag...
  • New rug.
  • Window treatment (probably a roman shade).
  • Change out cabinet hardware.
  • Paint footstool.
  • Possibly refinish island base (depends on how ambitious we're feeling).

 

Any other suggestions for updating a rental kitchen? What would YOU do in here?