Living in a rental apartment with particularly dark wooden cabinets, I have lightened them up by applying small flowered plaques from the dollar store (reproductions of classic art) with adhesive putty which doesn't mar the surface. They can slip occasionally - but are easily re-applied and really make a BIG difference in the kitchen, establishing a flowered theme I continued in the wall decoration, etc.
another solution is to use wall paper, easily stripped when moving out. or use fabric dipped in wall paper paste or liquid starch, also easy to remove when leaving. either would require a good scrub down of the area where the paper or fabric was applied
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