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You’ve moved into a rental. You want to make the space your own, but you don’t want to invest in a bunch of permanent fixtures – or break your lease. What’s a renter to do? Fortunately, you actually have quite a few options. You can spring for nicer upgrades that you can pack up with you when you move out, or you can choose some more affordable, non-permanent ways to improve your apartment.
Sure, there are probably some things about your rental that you want to change but can’t. (We’re looking at you, drab carpet and weirdly colored walls.) Even so, adding your own personal touches can help cover over the things you less-than-love and transform your new spot into a place in which you enjoy spending time. Here are four landlord-friendly things you can do to improve your apartment without breaking the bank or your lease.
String light under your cabinets
Most rental kitchens could use a little TLC. Any space that looks a little drab or cramped benefits from an influx of light, but in a kitchen, it can be hard to find places to add it. You don’t want to give up valuable counter space for a lamp. Good news! You don’t have to – if you mount your light in a place you wouldn’t otherwise use. Adding lighting underneath your cabinets helps your kitchen feel bigger and more welcoming, plus it’s trending.
Installing new lighting might sound daunting, but thanks to affordable strips of LED lighting (like this one from Amazon), it can be a snap. Use removable stick-on hooks to affix the lighting underneath your cabinets and give your kitchen a warm glow.
Hang plants without creating holes
If you’re a regular Freshome reader, you already know that we love houseplants. There’s no better way to turn a house into a home than by filling it with living things that you love. And because of many apartments’ pet limitations, plants are a great way to go. The only hiccup is that you only have so many windowsills. Fortunately, you can still maximize your greenery by hanging it without hammering nails into your walls or ceiling.
A simple solution to add hanging space for your plants is to use a tension rod. If you have inset windows, your rod can go up inside of them. The space above your kitchen sink is another great spot for your rod if you don’t have any cabinetry or shelves there. Once it’s secured, use S hooks to string up as many hanging plants as you’d like. Or, if you’re looking for a higher-impact, bigger-footprint plant area, buy an affordable hanging garment rack. Fill it with plants for a verdant way to improve your apartment.
Revamp lighting fixtures
You don’t have to deal with electrical hazards to improve your apartment’s lighting. Instead of swapping out entire fixtures, look for lower-investment ways to transform them. Wall sconces might have glass that can be interchanged once you remove the bulb. And if you have one of the dreaded rounded, flush-mount ceiling fixtures (commonly known as the “boob light“), you can cover it with a cylindrical lampshade. Just look for one with spider fitting and a circumference that’s slightly bigger than the circumference of the fixture itself. With some pliers, a sheet of acrylic and strong magnets, you can mount the lampshade over the lighting fixture for a fresh, new look. Check out the full DIY with detailed instructions from the DIY Maven on Curbly.
Get (back) into stickers
Kids love stickers. You can – and probably should – love them as an adult, too, especially if you’re a renter. Sticker-based solutions can help you completely transform your apartment in a non-permanent way. And they make stickers for just about everything! Hate your backsplash? There’s a sticker (or series of stickers) for that. Think your Formica countertops are hideous? Transform them into faux marble beauties with a stick-on sheet. Wish your appliances were chic stainless steel? Fix them with a sticker.
The trick with these stick-on solutions is getting a clean, smooth finish with no air bubbles. Choose a smaller sticker project to start, like covering your dishwasher. There are a bunch of options on Amazon you can use. Once you feel comfortable, you can move on to larger projects like covering your countertops or walls.
How will you improve your apartment?
Do any of these ideas catch your eye? Or do you have another landlord-friendly way you plan to spruce up your space? Share your tips for renters in the comments!