A lot of renters think kitchen renovations are completely out of reach. As a temporary resident, you are just passing through, doing time in a space you hate while living with ugly features that don't work on any level. But here's the thing: talk to your landlord.
if the ceiling has to be lower in spots, The heated square footage doesn't count if under a certain height. See about utilizing those space for storage, bookcases etc...to make the space attractive and purposeful