According to a recent report released by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, 43 million households in the United States were housed in rental homes by early 2013, the highest rate in a decade.
Renters often experience the conundrum of wanting to spruce up the pad, yet simultaneously feeling reluctant to sink loads of money into something they’ll ultimately walk away from. They may want a fresh new look but aren’t about to redo the cabinetry or remodel the porch.
If you find yourself similarly torn, here are 5 easy, inexpensive improvements that can help to rejuvenate your rental:
1) Lights: One of the brightest ideas I’ve ever had was to install dimmer switches in the dining room, living room, kitchen, and bedroom lights in my apartment. Good lighting is so important, yet not high on a landlord’s list. It’s easy, and you’ll notice an immediate upgrade in your quality of life. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, consider changing any ghastly fixtures that may have come with the rental. Again, lighting is key!
2) Doors: One simple way to dress up your house is to replace any old, tired looking doors. If that’s forbidden by the management, consider wallpapering a door or two. A little wallpaper can go a long way.
3) Tile: The experts at Apartment Therapy suggest using wall tiles, "like the FASTBO from IKEA" to cover unsightly kitchen tile. It can be applied for temporary wall use with sticky-backed velcro.
4) Hardware: Knobs, tie-back, handles: Go through your rental and determine if a hardware makeover is in order. Anthropologie has a great selection of charming accoutrements that may make you love your home anew.
5) Everywhere: It’s all in the details! You can add a little moulding to your walls or ceiling to give a bland rental some character. Millwork is a bit of a time investment, but it can be done. Watch this video for an idea of what you may be getting yourself into.
Of course, make sure to check your lease and clear any major changes with the landlord. You don’t want to lose that security deposit!
Do you have any tips for fixing up a rental unit? Tell us in the comments or in a blog post.