Rentals are often more exciting in theory. You find a place, then immediately fill a Pinterest board with inspiration, and build an Amazon cart full of stuff you may or may not buy. The year goes by quickly, and students aren’t usually able to shell out tons of cash to invest in their rental or aren’t allowed to make any major changes (i.e. nailing, bolting, painting, adding wall shelves, tiling, etc.). Your rental should be cozy and a place you love to be for the school year. Here are 20 ways to make your apartment feel like home!
1. Removable wallpaper
Removable wallpaper is available at most home improvement stores and is an easy, low commitment way to update a rental. It can be more time-consuming than other upgrades, so if you have a weekend when you find you cannot continue studying, you have a golden opportunity to stick on some wallpaper. There are even textured wallpapers available online to give your walls a luxe vibe: like brick, or wood.
2. Or opt for a wall decal set for an easier, lower commitment option
In the same vein of interior decorating, wall decals are another great option. These take much less time to install than wallpaper, unless you’re doing it for a large pattern. They are also easier to adjust, fix, or replace if you get tired of the design by the winter term. There are TONS of options on Amazon.
3. IKEA HACKS
When you know you’ll be apartment hopping for a few years, getting some practical, inexpensive furniture you can change out is a must. Cue Ikea: a place where furniture meant to be swapped out every few years is sold. Ikea products are easy to install and look great. Of course the brand is the best possible canvas for DIY projects. There are thousands of ways to customize any piece; with paint, new legs or knobs, or unconventional usage. Check out Pinterest for more amazing ideas.
4. Update your curtains, and then move them up
The easiest way to make a room look brighter and make your windows look bigger, is to get some curtains. Covering up some basic blinds with a chic pair of curtains can help you adjust the light in the room and can hide an unsightly window, wall damage, or boring blinds with minimal effort.
5. Contact paper can work wonders on just about anything
Tables, fans, dressers, or even table legs and shelves – there is almost nothing that can’t be upgraded with some contact paper and a little creativity.
6. Use command hooks
Command hooks are awesome and can be used for everything. These can be bought in varying sizes and strengths so you can hang up anything you might normally put on a shelf. Try using them to hang plants, art, or even kitchen utensils for easy access, or as makeshift art.
7. Try some adhesive wood to cover up headboards or furniture
This is what cheap headboards dream of.
8. Use temporary tiles to update your bathroom, kitchen backsplash, or, you know, floors.
Renters with beat up carpets usually dream of better flooring; quirky tiles, cool concrete finishes, elegant hardwood, or even just new carpets. Use some leftover tiles or buy a sample pack and get creative!
9. Fix your bathroom
Replacing an old shower curtain, or simply covering it up with a pretty new one takes two minutes and can change the look of your whole bathroom in one swoop. Adding some over the showerhead storage is also a great way to get your shampoo of the tub ledge/overflowing from the window so it isn’t a hazard.
10. Use large blankets or furniture covers
For the first time ladies and gentlemen, I have a couch for my apartment! A relative was getting rid of an older leather sofa which was in great condition, but didn’t work for her living room, and this was a major score for me. However, the faded red leather full of tiny cat scratches isn’t my aesthetic either. The solution? A slipcover. Alternatively, throwing a large blanket over the sofa is a great idea. If you are willing to go the extra mile, changing a sofa’s legs can breathe new life into a beloved chesterfield
11. Update your lighting
What is it with rentals and darkness? Even if you are lucky enough not to have a basement apartment below an early-rising family or restless students, most rentals have inadequate lighting. Adding some floor lamps, string lights, or even replacing old bulbs can brighten up your space.
13. Replace anything that can be fixed in 30 seconds
You’ll be amazed at the difference a new light cover, doorknobs, dresser knobs, drawer liners, etc. can make. The rule of thumb is if it will take $5 and 30 seconds, do it.
14. Use what you have
Instead of buying expensive décor from a retail store (the kind of décor everyone has, so it has little individuality), use what you have. In my room, I have a pair of (gifted) Quidditch goggles, stacks of books, and even beakers used to water my plants on display. Using your own decor makes a room feel much more lived in.
15. Washi tape
Washi tape does not damage paint, furniture, or rental deposits, and can be used at the owner’s discretion.
16. Deck out your fridge
Again, washi tape. Or wallpaper, wall decals, and yes, you can buy fridge covers.
17. Make a fashion statement
Use your jewelry displays, wall hooks, or a clothing rack to make a statement in any room, and add more closet space.
18. Rugs, rugs, rugs
Rugs make any room 482% comfier.
19. Bring in the outdoors
The easiest way to pretend to be a responsible adult? Keep some plants alive. Not only do they look chic, plants also purify the air, so your apartment might be a little less musty.
19. Consider open shelving or upgrade ugly kitchen cabinets
Open shelving: a phrase which hereby means cabinets with no doors, which may be better than some disagreeable doors in a rental. Other options can include more washi tape, contact paper or chalkboard paper, or a curtain to hide unsightly cabinets.
20. Don’t forget your doors and entryways
There are so, so many ways to redo doors. One of the most-loved door hacks is to glue on some photo frames and then repaint the door for a professionally modeled look. Adding a corbel or a pop of colour in a door frame is a great subtle update to any room. You definitely cannot forget an awesome door mat!
Do you have any other tips for making a rental feel like home!? Share in the comments below!
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