Your rental apartment may be in a convenient place for your commute and have other features that made you choose it—but it might also have features you don’t love.
Rental design is often chosen for neutrality and durability. Your landlord, for example, may have covered nearly every floor with wall-to-wall carpet in a shade of dark brown you don’t like. Your walls also may be a neutral, stark white, and you are dying to add a little color to them.
If you want to renovate your rental apartment in any way, be prudent. Yes, the space is yours to live in, but the space isn’t really yours for keeps. It belongs to your landlord. They choose neutrality and durability for a reason. After a year or two, the space may be accommodating someone else—with very different tastes than yours.
5 Simple Ways to Update a Rental
However, there’s also no reason for you to suffer for the duration of your rental. There are many simple, easy ways to make your design mark on a rental. Here are five of the best:
1. Use Area Rugs for Pizazz
In a rental, you can’t make permanent changes in flooring, but you can neutralize and enhance the flooring, whether it’s carpet, wood or tile. Also, if the floor is less than perfect in some way, rugs are a good solution.
Bright area rugs can be placed over nearly every type of flooring. Choose rugs with colors like red or turquoise if you want to counteract the neutrality of the current flooring. A Persian style pattern can be a terrific focal point for an entire room. Sisal rugs in neutral colors could also be a nice choice for a room with colorful paintings or images on the walls.
2. Make Wonderful Wall Designs
Chances are, the walls of your rental are white, off-white or beige. You may be grimacing about the color, but it’s a perfect backdrop to get creative! You can put up posters, your own photographs (make a collage of selfies!) or bright repeating vinyl stickers.
You could even design your own vinyl wall stickers and enjoy them for the remainder of your lease. Each room can get a different design. Try flowers for your bedroom and coffee pots for the kitchen. These are easy to make and easy to remove, so they are perfect for rental spaces.
3. Paint Your Furniture Bright Colors
One of the nicest ways to personalize your space is to paint your furniture bright colors. If your kitchen appliances and walls are in neutral colors, try painting your table and chairs a beautiful cerulean blue enamel. Paint your bedroom dresser a deep red. The living room coffee table would look good refinished in a shade of green.
Bursts of color give the space personality without overwhelming it—and can enhance any white walls rather than making them uninviting eyesores.
4. Buy Lamps for Both Décor and Lighting
Rentals can be a bit lacking in the lighting department. You probably aren’t going to be able to install a bunch of overhead lighting, but you can brighten up your space with lamps.
Even if you do have overhead lights, they may not be great for say, watching television or reading. Or, maybe you’ve moved beds and sofas around to places existing light doesn’t reach. Lamps are excellent solutions to needing light in certain areas the landlord didn’t anticipate and are great opportunities for adding good design.
Buy an abstract lamp as an accent piece. Get a freestanding lamp with colored lights. Choose shades that enhance your furniture colors. Lamps can add functional style to your space, and you can take them with your when you leave.
5. Create a Garden With Window Boxes or Pots
You may have—or want to develop—a green thumb. There are two ways to garden in most rentals. The first is window boxes. You can fill these with begonias or even fresh herbs, like basil and bay leaf, that will make your home-cooked meals taste great.
The second is to grow plants in pots. This is ideal if you have a patio or a back yard with space. The number of plants that can be grown in pots is amazing. You can try produce such as green peppers with a pepper tree. You can enjoy beautiful dwarf plants such as a Japanese maple. You can try even try your hand with a bonsai.
There are a number of ways you can use to make your rental space bright, livable and a place you are happy to call home. Work with these options for a start, then build from there. The possibilities are endless—and you can still get your security deposit back after you’re done, too.
What’s your favorite way to upgrade a rental?