Upgrading your apartment doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. With some strategic DIY projects and affordable tweaks, you can personalize and improve your rental space. This comprehensive guide covers creative tips to upgrade every room of your apartment.
As the heart of your home, a few simple upgrades can help revitalize your rental kitchen.
Add Under Cabinet Lighting
Install battery-operated or plug-in LED strip lighting under cabinets to illuminate your countertop workspace. Choose warm white light to reduce eye strain. Dimmer switches allow adjusting brightness.
Fresh Paint or Wallpaper
If your landlord permits, paint the kitchen walls in an uplifting color like sage green or sunny yellow. Or apply removable wallpaper with fun prints or patterns for quick transformation.
New Cabinet Hardware
Replacing dated cabinet pulls and knobs with modern brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze handles adds style. Coordinate with sink and light fixture finishes.
Organize Pot and Pan Drawers
Use drawer organizers to neatly store pots, pans and lids upright and accessible. Label organizers and group cookware types together.
Door Storage Rack
Affix a sturdy over-the-door rack on the back of a cabinet door to stash cutting boards, baking pans and other bulky kitchen tools.
Furniture Risers for Appliances
Place refrigerators, stand mixers and appliances on furniture risers to make cleaning underneath easier. Risers also allow taller storage underneath.
Freshen up your bathroom with these easy rental-friendly ideas:
New Shower Curtain
Hang a new shower curtain in a modern pattern or material like fabric, bamboo or stain-resistant cloth. Add whimsy with playful motifs.
Install hanging wall storage, under-sink organizers and sliding drawer dividers to neatly corral toiletries. Label clear bins.
Swap in a backlit LED mirror to provide better visibility applying makeup and grooming. Some mirrors include demisting heaters.
Treat yourself to ultra-soft, absorbent bath towels in colors complementing your new decor. Fold neatly on shelves or in hampers.
Air Purifying Plants
Add mini palm, orchid, aloe, bamboo or ferns to naturally filter air and provide tranquility. They thrive in humid bathroom environments.
Electronic Bidet Attachment
Bidet toilet attachments improve hygiene infinitely. Look for self-cleaning models that attach easily without tools or plumbing alterations.
Build your dream sleep sanctuary with these bedroom upgrade suggestions:
Swap outdated lamps for stylish midcentury or modern bedside tables lamps. Pick adjustable height and position to customize light direction.
Reduce light and noise pollution with dual layered blackout curtains. Hang rod-pocket curtains over regular drapes. Select sound dampening fabric.
Enhance sleep comfort with a high-quality memory foam, latex or hybrid mattress topper adding plushness to an existing mattress. Some companies make rental-friendly removable versions.
Mount framed artwork, floating shelves or large mirrors above the headboard. Curate with favorite photos, objects, hanging plants.
Display candles with relaxing aromas like lavender, eucalyptus or cedar on nightstands. Light as part of a calming pre-bedtime ritual. Just never leave unattended when lit.
Living Room Improvements
Reinvent the main communal area of your apartment with these enhancements:
Statement Wall Décor
Makeover boring walls by affixing modern floating shelves, 3D wall panels or vibrant wallpaper. Paint an accent wall in an energizing hue.
Upgrade Furniture Legs
Swap squat boring legs for sleek tapered wood or metallic legs. This visually lightens sofas, tables and chairs.
Convertible Coffee Table
Functional convertible coffee tables transition from coffee to dining height at a flip to allow eating meals from the sofa when entertaining.
Media Storage solutions
Tidy media clutter with a combination of concealed storage like baskets and open display shelves. Manage cords discreetly.
Layer plush new pillows, throws and shag rugs over furnishings for quick cozy transformation. Faux sheepskins and sherpa bringTEXTURE
Sleek Floor Lamp
The right angled floor lamp can provide task or ambiance lighting. Look for adjustable swing-arm styles. Dimmer switches control light levels.
General Apartment Improvements
Some upgrades give benefits throughout your whole rental space:
Remove or Replace Doors
For an open concept feel, take doors off closets and rooms. Or update existing doors with modern panel designs. Check apartment rules first.
Caulk and Paint Baseboards
Refinish scuffed baseboard trim with a fresh coat of semi-gloss paint. Neaten edges with caulk before painting.
Update Door Hardware
Install modern door levers or pull handles in brushed nickel, black or chrome. Coordinate with lighting fixtures.
Install Smart Home Devices
Connect your apartment with smart speakers, video doorbells, programmable thermostats and lighting. Look for removable versions without wiring alterations.
Choose coffee tables with hidden storage, stools that fold out into benches, ottomans with lids or nesting side tables to maximize functionality.
Define spaces and add privacy with patterned screens or shutter-style dividers. Hinge dividers allow adjusting positioning as needed.
Decor Touches to Elevate Any Space
A few simple decor upgrades give every room a lift:
Woven baskets in natural rattan or dyed colors corral everything from blankets to toys to firewood. Baskets instantly tidy plus add texture.
New Throw Pillows
Quickly refresh sofas, chairs and beds with new throw pillows. Choose patterns and colors complementing your existing palette.
Fuller Houseplants and Greenery
Bring nature inside with potted palms, snake plants, orchids, ferns or cacti. Accent with trailing ivy, ferns or succulents.
Scented candles infuse spaces with cozy ambiance. Display on sideboards, coffee tables, nightstands. Be sure to blow out after each use.
Place decorative trays on coffee tables, desks or dressers to neatly corral smaller items. Choose materials like wood, marble, metal or rattan.
Lean an oval mirror against a wall or hang small decorative mirrors to reflect light and create a sense of space.
With a little ingenuity, almost any rental space can be personalized and upgraded to feel like home. Take advantage of removable adhesives, freestanding storage solutions and furnishings on wheels to avoid permanent alterations. By implementing these affordable rental-friendly ideas throughout your apartment, you can cultivate a tranquil space showcasing your unique style.
FAQ About Upgrading Rental Apartments
What improvements can tenants make without consent from landlords?
Typical alterations renters can freely make include: using removable wallpaper or contact paper, installing temporary blackout curtain rods and window treatments, replacing cabinet hardware, adding freestanding storage furniture, updating lighting fixtures, repainting with approval, and adding decor items like plants, art and pillows.
What kinds of upgrades require landlord permission?
Permanent changes like painting, installing new floors, adjusting wiring, removing doors, applying wall treatments directly to surfaces, upgrading counters, sinks or appliances and mounting anything to walls typically require pre-approval from landlords for rental units.
What upgrades will landlords most likely approve?
Landlords tend to approve reversible upgrades like cabinet pulls, curtains rods, freestanding furnishings and decor items. Improvements that enhance livability like kitchen backsplashes, built-in shelving, shower upgrades, lighting improvements and automated apartment technology also often get approval.
Should you pay for apartment upgrades yourself or negotiate with landlords?
Renters should expect to fund cosmetic upgrades like decor items, movable furnishings, accent walls and window treatments themselves. But for more permanent functional improvements, especially those exceeding $500, it’s reasonable to approach landlords about cost sharing. This can benefit both parties long term.
What kinds of upgrades can increase rental rates?
Certain high-end upgrades like installing stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood flooring, built-in cabinetry, bathroom upgrades and smart home technology could justify slightly increased rental rates. Discuss potential rent increases transparently with landlords ahead of time so expectations align.
What improvements add resale value?
Upgrades renters make that increase apartment resale value tend to be permanent functional improvements like kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring, lighting fixtures, built-in storage, doors and windows and technology upgrades. These help a property command higher rents. Cosmetic décor generally does not impact resale value.
How can you take apartment upgrades with you?
Opt for freestanding upgrades you can easily remove like furniture, removable wallpapers or contact papers, area rugs, curtains, cabinet hardware, mounted TVs, and smart speakers. Also repair any walls and leave in original condition. Only make semi-permanent changes with landlords consent.
What are the best budget-friendly rental upgrades?
Affordable upgrades like peel-and-stick wallpaper, paint, drawer organizers, furniture risers, adjustable showerheads, grow lights, cabinet hardware, removable wall panels, adhesive tile backsplashes, programmable thermostats and accent lighting make high impact without big spending. Get creative within rental constraints!