10 Renter-Friendly Upgrades That Make Any Space Feel Like Home
Personalize your rental and make it feel like home with these clever upgrades.
Just because you live in a rental doesn’t mean you can’t add personal touches to make the space feel like home. Many people are choosing to rent long-term as they wait for the housing market to become more reasonable. But whether renting an apartment, house, or townhome, you can still make the space uniquely yours with a few creative projects.
These renter-friendly upgrades offer ways to customize a leased property in non-permanent ways so you still get your security deposit back when it’s time to move. From peel and stick wallpaper and self-adhesive kitchen backsplash tiles, to switching out cabinet hardware and light fixtures, these clever ideas will make your rented space feel more homey without breaking the bank or angering your landlord.
1. Removable Wallpaper
Peel and stick wallpaper has risen in popularity in recent years and is readily available in a huge variety of styles. “It’s a great option for those in rentals because installing it is mess-free and it’s easier to take down once you’re finished with it,” says James Mellan-Matulewicz, CEO and creative director at Bobbi Beck. Not only is removable wallpaper much less expensive than the traditional wall covering, it also doesn’t require the installation cost and hassle—all you need to do is peel off the backing and stick it on the wall!
When it comes to choosing a peel and stick wallpaper, Mellan-Matulewicz says it’s ideal for achieving a variety of styles. “The designs and patterns available are as comprehensive as any other wallpaper, and it’s especially useful for achieving ‘faux’ looks that would be difficult to implement in a rental, such as brick walls, cladding, paneling, or other texture effects,” he says. Once you’re ready to move out of the property, simply peel the wallpaper off the wall and there should be practically no touch-ups needed.
2. Area Rugs
Hide questionable stains and damaged floors left behind by previous tenants with a beautiful area rug. An oversized rug is your best friend when it comes to transforming a room and setting your own tone for the space. You can layer it over wall-to-wall carpeting or place it on hard flooring, and not only will it make the space cozier and conceal ugly spots, the room will feel extra cozy and comfortable.
3. Peel and Stick Kitchen Backsplash Tiles
Update your kitchen and prevent walls above countertops from turning into a splatter-covered mess using peel-and-stick backsplash tiles. Most rental kitchens have builder-grade or outdated fixtures and finishes, and since you can’t change the cabinets themselves, a small renter-friendly upgrade you can make that packs a big design punch is adding a peel and stick backsplash. It offers a removable way to add a pop of color and pattern and to personalize and elevate the heart of your rented home.
4. Faux Crown Molding
Architectural details such as crown molding instantly add character to a room, and yes—installing it in a rental is absolutely an option thanks to faux crown molding. It’s typically made from foam and has self-adhesive backing, but you can also attach it to walls and ceilings using command hooks given its lightweight construction as this genius TikTok hack proves. Faux crown molding is available in a variety of styles, from modern and streamlined to more ornate and traditional, and can easily be cut down to size with scissors instead of needing expensive tools. To take it off before you move out, simply pull the pieces off and discard it (or reuse it in your next place).
5. New Light Fixtures
An outdated ceiling fixture can be a perpetual eyesore. Instead of living with it throughout the length of your lease, carefully take it down and replace it with your own light fixture. Safely store it in a closet to prevent any damage so that you can return it to its place when your lease comes to an end. Lighting is one of the best ways to convey a design style, make a statement, and add a personal touch to a room, and replacing a standard fixture with one that you actually like and that speaks to your personal style will make a world of difference. Plus, you’ll be able to take the purchased light fixture with you when you move out.
6. Updated Cabinet Hardware
New cabinet hardware is an inexpensive but highly impactful way to add your own personal style to your rental and update a kitchen or bathroom. Rented homes are notorious for having tacky, outdated cabinet hardware that ages the space, so if that’s the case in your home, use this renter-friendly hack. Measure the size of the existing pulls or knobs to know what you’re looking for when purchasing new hardware. Then, carefully remove the existing hardware and place it in a ziplock bag, adding labels when necessary, so that you can install it back onto the cabinets when you move out.
7. Fresh Coat of Paint
Most rentals will allow you to paint the walls as long as you return them to the original color when you move out. A fresh coat of paint is one of the fastest, cheapest, and easiest ways to update a space and give it a brand new look. It also goes a long way in making the rented space feel cleaner. If you’re worried about the cost and work of repainting the walls before you move out, check with your landlord or leasing company whether that’s actually necessary. Additionally, you can show them paint color swatches of options you are considering to see if they will allow you to leave it up after you leave.
8. Window Treatments
Replace flimsy mini blinds with a more stylish window treatment option such as roman shades or woven wood blinds. Thoroughly clean the rental blinds before taking them down, then safely store them in order to be able to put them back up when it’s time to move. Clean the windows and window frames, then take careful measurements. You don’t need to invest in expensive materials or custom window treatments in a rental—there are affordable window blind, shade, and curtain options available for most standard size windows. A colorful kitchen blind will immediately cheer up a drab space and a bamboo shade paired with floor-length curtain panels will elevate the space, add a textural element, and an elegant finishing touch.
9. Wall Mirrors
Most rental properties include multiple mirrors, sometimes on medicine cabinets, whether in the bathroom, powder room, or entryway. They are often not the most design-forward choices, and chances are, not your style. If the mirrors are easily removable, take them down and hang up your own mirrors. This is a clever trick for customizing and elevating a rental bathroom and giving it a custom designed look in a non-permanent and affordable way.
10. LVP Flooring
If you’re planning on being in your rental longterm and your landlord agrees, installing LVP flooring is a great option to warm up the space and make it more homey. “I love using LVP flooring as a renter-friendly ‘wood look’ floor option,” says Laura Williams of ATX Interior Design. “It’s a much simpler installation than real hardwood, can handle wear and tear well because it doesn’t scuff or scratch easily, and gives the beauty and warmth of wood,” she says.
If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell or rent, contact The Connolly Agency today! http://www.theconnollyagency.com
Article first Appeared in Better Homes and Garden Magazine- January 2, 2024 Written by Maria Sabella