Living in a rental – whether an apartment or a rental home – comes with a lot of regulations. Your landlord may not approve of painting over the boring beige color on your wall, and replacing hardware or updating the kitchen comes out of your pocket.
However, you can cheaply and easily add your personal touch to your rental to make it look like a brand new place. Remember to check with your landlord and read the lease carefully before starting any project.
Check with your landlord and the lease to see what the terms are for painting. Even if your landlord approves, be sure to ask questions. For example, will he or she withhold your deposit, or will you have to pay a per wall fee if you move out without painting over it? If you receive the OK to paint, choose a color that suits you, but also be sure to choose a color that can be easily painted over when your lease is up (i.e. don’t paint the walls black, dark red, etc.).
Wallpaper will take a lot of convincing, and it’s a lot of work to put up/take down. A few easy solutions include:
Ripping up the carpet and replacing it with wooden floors will probably be frowned upon by your landlord. An easy “renovation” for this is to add area rugs. They're great for adding your personal style to a room but can also conveniently cover up stains. Additionally, area rugs absorb sound, which is beneficial in an apartment with thin walls. The best part of having area rugs is that you can take these rugs with you to your next place.
Lots of kitchens come with little counter space, which is inconvenient. Adding a solid table into the space can create more space and act as a kitchen island. Get one on wheels or lightweight so you can get it out of the way when not in use. Similarly to the items mentioned above, this can be taken with you when you move.
Sometimes just moving furniture around makes a space feel new. Changing the layout can also add space to the room. Take a few room measurements and furniture measurements to accurately place the furniture where you envision it going.
Other items you can take with you are hardware pieces. You can replace your kitchen hardware quite easily. All you need is a screwdriver and replacement hardware. Keep the current ones in a box so you can put them back when you move out. You can find interesting knobs and pulls from craft stores and stores like Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters.
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