Well, how about new counters in the kitchen? The counters by the sink are ugly blue while the counters on the built-in are across the room are a much more neutral black. As much as I love having a vintage kitchen, I hate the color blue. I did a little research and found several websites with great ideas for covering ugly laminate countertops. Some people suggested temporary measures like contact paper but you have to be super careful with it and it only lasts a short period of time. Not to mention the amount of time it would take to cover an entire counter, all the while making sure there are no air bubbles or wrinkles. Other people suggested using a laminate paint. You can do a solid color or go for a faux granite. From what I read, it's a relatively easy thing that just requires patience since you'll be without counters for a few days while each coat of paint dries. You'll also have to be careful to avoid heat and knife marks which can both damage the paint surface. On the upside, it's an easy enough project that you can do it yourself which will save you and your landlord from having to pay for labor and it requires little investment.
Ugly blue counters on the left...
Nice black counters and shelves in the built-in
If you're up for it, tiling over the laminate is another simple solution that you can do yourself. Pick out tiles that you and your landlord both agree on, grab a role of Bondera to make the job easy, and within 24 hours you'll have yourself a new kitchen!
Painted kitchen before and after (via Contractor Talk). Not a fan of the faux granite but still, great work!
Seeing as how I don't like tile counters (too bumpy) the best idea for us is to just get new counters! We went to Home Depot and talked to their kitchen specialist. It turns out you can get a 6' laminate counter top (just the size we need) for under $60. They even had discountinued and slightly damaged counters on sale for $14! Now that's a great deal. If you're in the same predictament as I am and desperately want to change your counters, try asking your landlord if they'd be willing to invest $75 for materials and a couple hundred in labor on something that will ultimately improve the value of the apartment. Or do what we're doing...offer to pay for materials and let them pay for labor, or do the work yourself if you're skilled and they trust you. In my opinion, $75 is a small price to pay to get rid of ugly counters, especially if you plan on living there awhile.
I'll let you know how it goes. If you have any other suggestions send 'em on through!
Now to find a solution for those blue floors...