Many leases contain provisions against making any permanent changes or significant alterations, and some include restrictions against even minor “damages,” such as drilling holes in the walls to hang curtains.
One of the most significant contributing factors to our ability to relax and feel present in our homes is designing them to reflect our personalities through color, lighting, furniture, and other materials.
Fortunately for renters everywhere, there are a surprising number of things you can do to a rental space to make it feel more your own that are also budget-friendly and won’t break your lease.
- CHANGE YOUR CURTAINS
Adding simple curtain panels or a Roman shade can completely dress-up a room and add warmth. We love bamboo blinds too: They’re cheap, they soften sunlight without blocking it out, and they basically make any room feel like a sun porch at the beach.
The same goes for showers! A fresh curtain can spruce up your bathroom, too.
- ADD PLANTS
“Buy something that likes to live the way you do”
First, evaluate your space. See what areas would look better greener. Once you have identified the spots that can accommodate plant life, consider your climate.
Multiple studies have proven that indoor plants keep you healthier and happier, offering both psychological and physical health benefits
- PAINT THE WALLS
Typically, landlords use a very basic white paint, choose a white that feels right for you and your space. Paint a few samples (several coats of each) directly on the wall before choosing one. It always looks different on the wall than in the store!
Unfortunately, painting can be problematic for renters. Many landlords don’t allow it, and those who do will require you to repaint the walls back to their original color on move-out. Luckily, there are still a number of ways to add personal touches to a rental wall.
If you plan on painting your walls, be sure to get the name and brand of the original paint color from your landlord so you can paint the walls back before moving out.
- LIGHT UP A DARK CORNER
With a good hook and a long cord, there’s not even any hardwiring required. (Though we do encourage you to get creative with the cord configurations.
- USE A RUG
Rather than splurging on a runner that perfectly fits your uniquely-shaped, try thrifting a handful of small rugs to lay one after another in a row.
Aside from breathing necessary warmth and homeliness into any room (even in modern and minimalist homes), softening even the most sterile environment, they also have the power to tie together a room and color scheme, inject color into an otherwise bland room, help tone down an otherwise cluttered space, can be used to divide large spaces into cozier areas in loft and open plan living spaces, and they can even make a room feel smaller or more spacious – depending on their size and where you place them.
- SWAP UP BAD LIGHTING FEATURES
Switching out your light fixtures is one of the easiest changes you can actually get away with in a rental. Just store the original fixture somewhere safe for the duration of your tenancy because you’ll have to put it back before you move out. Make sure to turn off the electricity when you’re installing it, though, so you don’t put the apartment at risk.
- LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT…..
You know, the kitchen where you can hardly anything? A super-long strip of stick-on LED lights can be found for about $20, and affixed right underneath the cabinets it kind of changes everything.
Layer the light
By positioning your lamps at various heights (some on the floor, some on desks, some on shelves, in various bulb strengths (dimmable, if possible), apartment will have a welcoming glow rather than a hash feel.
The most flattering light falls in the warmer temperature range; think how you look in candlelight. Take a look at the lights in your house and see what temp they are. Switching out lighting is an easy fix to make that room feel a little less like a hospital waiting room and more like your favorite restaurant. Taking ambiance even further, Petty also prompts you to consider dimmers—a real mood enhancer.
Most of us are used to living in a space where our home numbers are probably pre-existing, whether they are on the front of our apartment door or a standalone home. But changing out your home or apartment numbers is a quick way to set the tone for your home’s style. Modern options or DIY options are always great, but it’s also a nice place to get creative and work in things like plants or antique hardware.
- BATHROOM SHOWERHEAD
Possibly one of the simplest upgrades with the most bang for your buck, switching out your showerhead for one with a more pleasant, spa-like feel can be relatively inexpensive, while making a definite impact on your daily experience.
Swapping out your showerhead is a simple DIY. Just unscrew the old showerhead, wrap some Teflon (PTFE) tape three to four times around the threaded end of the showerhead pipe to keep the seal watertight, and screw on the new showerhead.
It may be possible to have someone from your complex’s maintenance staff make the switch for you. Soon after we moved into our townhome, we received a letter from management informing us they would be happy to swap out our showerheads. All we had to do was buy new showerheads and let management know, and maintenance swapped them for free.
- MAKE A SPACE FEEL BIGGER WITH A MIRROR
If your space feels too cramped, you can instantly trick the eye into thinking it is bigger than it is with mirrors. Position the mirror so that it reflects the most light, and it will add dimension to the room. Mirrors – especially large ones – can be pricey at retail stores, but if you browse local flea markets, you are likely to find some affordable options.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.