Just because you’re renting your apartment or house doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest time and energy into personalizing your living space. Temporary or permanent, everyone’s home is an extension of their identity. As your refuge, you should feel comfortable in your living quarters.
Here are some simple ways to upgrade your rental space to help you get a sense of coziness in a temporary unit. By improving the décor, you can raise your standard of living and add your personal flair. If you intend to make permanent or semi-permanent alterations to the rental unit, you should consult your landlord first.
Major repairs or renovations involving tile tools like those from Contractors Direct and other equipment are better left to the property owner rather than the tenant. If what you do to the apartment or house breaches the tenancy agreement terms, you risk losing your security deposit and being liable for any damages or repair work that’s needed.
1. Camouflage Your Countertops
Your landlord is unlikely to perform any major remodeling work like replacing your kitchen countertops, but you can update dented, cracked, or unsightly counters by using a temporary adhesive film that you can remove once your lease expires.
You can find film for countertops in a huge range of faux finishes, from granite to marble. This DIY is a simple fix and can last years, as long as you don’t cut food directly on the countertops and use a trivet under hot pots and pans.
2. Change Your Furniture
One of the least labor-intensive ways you can change the décor in your home is to switch out the furniture. Sofas, chairs, stools, coffee tables, end tables, nightstands, and dressers can make or break the style of an apartment or house. If you can’t afford to replace the furniture, consider adding throws, quilted blankets, and rugs to freshen up your space.
3. Paint Your Walls
Depending on the terms of your tenancy agreement, you may be allowed to paint the walls, provided that the paint color can be easily covered. For example, black paint is more difficult to cover up than lighter colors, so landlords typically choose white, cream, or beige paint, which is more inviting.
If painting isn’t an option, many companies now produce removable wallpaper that sticks to your walls with reusable adhesive. They come in a huge range of colors and patterns, so you are sure to find wallpaper to suit your décor style.
4. Switch Plates
Light switches in your home are protected by wall plates or switch plates — metal or plastic panels that screw into place. However, the switch plates in the house when you arrive may be mismatched or conflict with your taste.
Fortunately, these are simple to replace, requiring only the removal of one or two screws. Changing these to white or black plastic, brass, stainless steel, or some other material can make a significant difference to the accents of a room.
5. Hang Wall Art
If you own one or more pieces of artwork that you’re proud of, don’t keep them in storage. They deserve a place of honor on display in your home. Artwork can significantly improve your home’s style, enrich your surroundings, and allow you to express yourself fully.
This is also a good solution for tenants who are not permitted to paint the walls of their homes. There are various fasteners to choose from, such as clips or washi tape, that you can use to fix art pieces to your walls without creating holes for nails.
6. Change Door Handles/Knobs
Door handles and knobs can tarnish over time, or they may be dated, diminishing the appearance of your rental unit’s kitchen or bathroom cabinets. If this is the case, consider swapping them out for something that feels and looks more modern and aesthetically pleasing, such as porcelain, bronze, brass, or nickel.
This is an affordable and quick fix that can make a significant difference in how your rental looks. If you’re concerned that your landlord won’t love the upgrade, keep the old knob and hardware on hand to switch back before you move out.
7. Disguise Unattractive Home Furnishings
White home appliances that have become scratched, stained, or damaged don’t have to be an eyesore. You can disguise them using temporary contact paper or Washi tape in a wide variety of colors to change the exterior color to something that better suits your taste.
You can also update your cabinetry by removing the upper cabinet doors to create a modern open shelving look and adding contact paper on the rear walls and base for a colorful addition to your kitchen or laundry room.
8. Replace Light Fixtures
The light fixtures in your home are your landlord’s responsibility, but if they don’t match your style or are out of date, you can talk to the property manager about switching them out at your own expense. If you’re going to be living with them for a prolonged period, it’s likely worth the investment to buy light fixtures that better complement your sense of style.
9. Add Plants
Houseplants do more than add color to your home. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which improves the indoor air quality, and can lift your mood and reduce your stress levels.
Being close to nature can often help you focus, and some plant species also produce a pleasant scent. The best part about using plants to upgrade your rental unit is that this is an investment that you’ll benefit from even when you move out eventually because you can take them with you to your next home.
10. LED Lights & Candles
LED string lights, fairy lights, and candles are not only for the holiday season. They can illuminate and enhance your living space year-round, adding coziness to any room or balcony.
Available in various colors, energy-efficient, and safe to the touch, you can string LED lights in your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or on your patio. Investing in some LED candles for evenings by the TV can help set the mood and relax you without the risk of a fire hazard.
11. Dress Windows
Your windows are a critical part of your home’s look and feel. While simple blinds or curtains are often necessary for privacy or to reduce direct sun exposure, there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of the decorative opportunities that window treatments afford. Use bamboo blinds, patterned curtains, or automatic shades to increase the privacy in your rental home and add character simultaneously.
Personalizing Your Rental Unit
If you’re a tenant, there may be times when you feel like you can’t personalize your home to your exact liking. Some tenants think that because their home is a rental, it’s temporary; however, it’s common for people to live in rented apartments and houses for years — even decades. Whether that’s by choice or circumstance, you shouldn’t be afraid to do what you can to make your rental house feel like a home with a few personal touches.