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Apartment Hacks To Upgrade Your Rental Without Redoing

Sometimes you have to settle for a cheap rental apartment in order to affordably live in the neighborhood of your choosing. This could mean moving into an older building with outdated units, or a basement apartment. Regardless of your circumstances, you want to make the best of things.

The trouble is, the things you might want to do to improve the place would break or void your rental agreement and you definitely cannot afford to do that. So, you might have to tolerate the ugly carpet and clapboard cupboards – but you can make some minor improvements that don’t involve any major renovations.

Paint the walls

One of the easiest (and most reversible) updates you can do in your rental apartment is paint the walls. Most apartments come painted some shade of off-white, which is nice and neutral, but not all that interesting.

Most landlords don’t mind if you paint the walls, just as long as you paint them neutral again before you move out. So, go bold by trying a bright hue, such as the Pantone colour of the year: Living Coral . You could also try a soft shade that’s just a touch more interesting than the greige colour currently there.

Removable wallpaper

One trend that has picked up steam over the past few years is removable wallpaper. These vinyl sheets can be safely applied to walls (or cupboards) and then peeled off when no longer needed or desired. There are many online retailers selling beautiful designs with chic patterns. As long as you follow the instructions and line the sheets up properly, you will end up with a stunning final look. Talk about going from drab to fab!

If you have old wooden kitchen cabinets, the same vinyl wallpaper can be cut to size and placed either over the whole flat surface or in the centre with the original wood bordering. This is an easy way to give those ugly cupboards a bright and fun makeover without painting.

Cover and clean carpet

Unfortunately, many dated apartment units come with wall-to-wall carpeting. The trouble is, it’s not always a nice or neutral color. You cannot remove it, so that is off the table, but there are things you can do to minimize its offensiveness.

First off, before moving in ask if the landlord will be shampooing the carpeting before you move in. Who knows who lived there before you, so there could be pet hair, dirt and other debris hidden below the surface. If you have a good landlord, they will ensure it’s cleaned before you move in, or at least offer you reimbursement if you do it yourself.

Cleaning the carpet only takes care of the hygienic concerns. The next issue is that it might just be ugly, or not your personal taste. Here’s a tip that might seem strange, but it works. Put a larger area rug on top of the existing carpet. Sure, it won’t cover it completely, but it can break up the color. Try to get rugs in complementary colors that will also pull from your furniture and other décor. This is a great tip for living rooms and bedrooms, where the carpet is most likely to be found.

Wall art

You don’t have to be a wealthy art collector to have nice pictures to hang on the wall. There are plenty of stores that sell affordable art prints and other wall décor. Just like painting, hanging art is a pretty low-impact way to upgrade the look of your cheap rental apartment. You don’t even have to use nails if you don’t want to, as there are other ways to hang pictures.

Cool wall art can distract the eye away from the eyesores in the unit. Instead of looking at the drab paint or old cupboards, you will look at visually interesting pieces that personalize your place and make it feel more like home. Try a large-scale picture over the couch or create a gallery wall with your own photographs. Hang a big mirror in a key area to make the room look larger. There are so many apartment hacks worth trying to give your place a makeover!

If you’re looking for a cheap apartment for rent, search for a place within your budget using Don’t let carpet or outdated fixtures scare you – you can design around those! Many units will have photos along with their listing, so you can see what you’re working with before you apply.