There are a lot of advantages to renting. You don’t have the responsibility of major repairs, you have flexibility, and it may allow you to live in a better neighborhood than you can afford to buy in. The only problem is you don’t have the freedom to do whatever you want to the place. However, there are plenty of ways you can make your rental into a home you love without losing your security deposit.
Improvements in your Rental Kitchen
There’s no need to live with a blah kitchen in your rental apartment or house. One easy fix is to change out your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. You can quickly unscrew your knobs and replace them with something more modern, but remember to keep your old knobs and pulls in a safe place to replace them when you move out. You can find fun options at your local hardware store or hit an online home retailer for more fancy options.
With a little elbow grease, you can also do something about outdated or dingy kitchen floors. Peel and stick flooring tiles are a great option to add some life and color to your kitchen. Just clean the floor thoroughly, start from the middle of the room, and work your way out. Before you know it, your kitchen will be transformed.
You can do essentially the same thing to an ugly, stained countertop with contact paper. Pick out a decorative, self-adhesive film in a marble pattern and you’ve instantly got the look of granite countertops. They are easily removable when you’re ready to leave.
If you don’t have enough lighting in your kitchen, you don’t have to live with the problem. Solve it by picking up a strip of stick-on LED lights. Long strips can be found for under twenty dollars, and sticking them under your cabinets gives you perfect task lighting for whatever you’re up to in the kitchen.
Your Living Room, Your Sanctuary
Window treatments can be your best friend in a rental. If you have a plain wall that you don’t know what to do with, jazz it up with some curtains and blinds. Instead of hanging your curtain rod at the top of the window, consider putting it about a foot over the window frame, and extending it out a bit from the windows. This trick will make your ceilings look higher and your windows look bigger, and patterned curtains that coordinate with your furniture will add a lot of interest.
You can also make your rental living room more cozy and inviting simply by adding several plants. Consider a tall, tree-like plant in a corner to bring a room to life. You can put a small light under it and aim it up into the leaves for a dramatic effect at night.
Brighten up the Bedroom
Have a plain wall in your bedroom? Dress it up with fabric. Buy a bolt of bold fabric and a staple gun, and cover one accent wall with it. You’ll have instant results that can be pulled down easily when you move. While you can use this trick anywhere, it’s especially effective in the bedroom where patterned fabric creates a more intimate atmosphere.
It’s also a great idea to swap out the ugly overhead lighting fixture in your bedroom. Get creative and choose a chandelier or something funky from the thrift store, and your bedroom will get a brand-new life. Sconces that can be mounted on the walls with a cord are also a good choice for soft lighting in the bedroom, and they add an architectural effect.
Adding a full-size area rug to the bedroom is a simple way to cover ugly carpet or flooring. Of course, this is another idea that can be used in any room of the house. Not only does it transform the look of the room, but it also keeps it warmer and cuts down on noise coming from occupants below you.
Tips for your Rental Bathroom
One of the easiest and most dramatic improvements you can make to your rental bathroom is to replace the showerhead. Most rentals have a skimpy little showerhead in the bath, which does nothing to make rinsing off fun. Head to your local home improvement store and browse the selection of glamorous shower heads like a rain shower, or even a double shower head with a hand-held feature. You’ll immediately add class to the bath and will certainly enjoy your showers more.
Another easy upgrade for the bathroom in your apartment is to change out the toilet seat. In fact, this might be the first improvement you want to make in your rental. Toilet seats are inexpensive and come in a variety of styles, and do make a big difference in the bath.
You can also change out the hardware in the bathroom the same way you did in the kitchen. Pick up a new set of towel rods and a stylish toilet paper holder, and the bathroom gets an instant upgrade. Remember to keep the old hardware in a safe place for the day you move out.
Ideas for the Rest of the House
For improvements throughout your rental house or apartment, consider switching out the light switch covers. You can find interesting brass or black switch covers that install in two seconds with a screwdriver. If you’re feeling more ambitious, do the same thing with the doorknobs. Tacky door knobs can really bring down the look of a place, so replace them with antique-looking glass knobs or high-quality brass doorknobs.
For more storage and to disguise ugly radiators, put a shelf on top. Just have a piece of wood cut to size and you’ve instantly got a new spot to put books, pictures, or collectibles. Adding a picture rail along your walls is a great way to display your favorite pieces and add drama to your walls. It also has the added bonus of helping you avoid making a bunch of nail holes in your rental.
Use one or all of these tips to transform your rental space into your own personal sanctuary. You can express yourself in bold, creative ways and still keep your landlord happy.