It can be hard to make a rental apartment reflect your personal style thanks to rental rules and landlord laws. Still, it’s your home and there’s no reason your space should feel lackluster; it’s where you spend much of your time, so it should be a space you really love. Here are 10 simple things you can do to instantly improve your apartment, most of which you can accomplish with a small budget and a little creativity.
Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Most landlords won’t mind if you paint your apartment as long as you return it to its original state when you move out (or fork over the money for them to do it). Consider choosing different colors for different rooms (go bold in the dining room, but pick a tranquil color for the bedroom) and maybe creating a fun, feature wall using painters tape or wallpaper. If your landlord won’t let you paint, look into vinyl wall stickers or decorate with colorful garlands and charms.
Dress Up Your Windows
Window coverings can completely change the way a room looks by adding drama, warmth, texture, and also helping to soften light. There are lots of options: valances, shades, blinds, curtains, so you’ll want to factor in what kind of look you want and how you want the covering to function.
Replace the Hardware on Cabinet Doors
The biggest change you can make in a kitchen apartment is painting ugly cabinet doors, but you’ll have to get the okay from your landlord. If you can’t do that, try replacing all of the knobs with something that better fits your aesthetic, but still matches the style of the room.
Update Bathroom Fixtures
Fixtures are easy to take with you if and when you move, so feel free to splurge on a new shower head and faucet. Just save the old ones so you can replace them when you leave. While you’re at it, consider replacing the towel hangers and even the toilet seat if it needs updating. These little changes can make a huge difference.
Create a Living Wall
Bringing in plants is an easy way to add life and color to any home. A living wall takes that to a whole new level. Framing cuttings of assorted succulents is one of the easiest ways to do this, especially if you purchase an all-in-one kit.
Rearrange the Space
You don’t have to use spaces the way they’re intended to be used; instead, make the space you have work for your needs. Just because a room is meant to be a dining room, doesn’t mean it can’t be your office. Try to look at your space with fresh eyes and see if maybe you can’t create several zones in one room. Move the furniture around to see what works best for you: pull couches away from the wall, move decorative items, and don’t be afraid of empty space.
Cover the Floor
Yes, rugs can be expensive, but they’re also a great way to completely change the look of a room, cover up ugly carpet or scratched wood floors, while also providing a sound barrier between you and your downstairs neighbor. A rug can also be a good investment piece and something you keep for years and years, so don’t be afraid to splurge a little and choose a classic look that won’t go out of style.
Change the Lighting
Good lighting is so important and yet ugly, outdated fixtures and lackluster lighting seem ubiquitous in rental units. Luckily, light fixtures are usually pretty easy to swap out and stylish, affordable ones are not that hard to find. You’ll want to make sure each room has three kinds of light: ambient (the main source), task (to help out with specific duties), and accent (for visual beauty). Each room may need or more or less of one, but experiment to find what you like best. Think of the lighting as art and go from there.
Hang Mirrors to Make a Space Feel Bigger
A huge mirror can act not only as a piece of art, but as a way to make a room seem larger. Scour flea markets to find one that’s affordable and don’t be afraid to paint or stain the frame. Then position it so it reflects a window; that way it will catch light and add dimension to the room.
Decorate with Art and Pillows and Books
Bring color and texture to every room with accessories. Arrange bookshelves with books, photos, and mementos. Pick out oversized pillows and a soft throw for the couch. This is really your chance to have fun and make your apartment reflect your personality.