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10 Ways to Give Your Rental a Modern Update

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Aug 12, 2015 8:54 AM

When renting, it's tough to make your living space feel like your own. There's always a lingering worry that, should you make any sort of alteration, you'll be dealing with an enraged landlord and bidding adieu to that hefty security deposit. That doesn't have to be the case. Below are ten different ways you can spruce up your space:


1. Paint the walls.

A change in wall color can absolutely transform a space. Even altering just one wall can make a difference. Painting will not only customize your rental, but it will also be an affordable means of doing so. Ask permission from your landlord first. If she just had professional painters come in and cover the place in eggshell, she might not want you rolling over it with greens and browns. If you have the go-ahead and are feeling more adventurous, you can explore removable wallpaper, too.


2. Incorporate rugs.

I've lived in some rentals that - without a doubt - have not seen new carpet since the 70s. Not only are these varieties completely out of style, but they also show evident signs of wear and tear. Re-carpeting is neither allowed nor worth the cost when renting. Rugs are the solution. New, room-sized rugs can be expensive, but you can at least take them with you when you move.


3. Hang artwork.


Photo by Don't Erase


If painting is forbidden, here's a loophole: hang lots of stuff on the walls. From tapestries to collages to smaller pieces, wall hangings can take a drab, generic wall and turn it into something entirely your own.


4. Invest in new window treatments.

Old rental blinds or drapes can be absolutely dreadful: missing pieces, dysfunctional, ugly in general. While it's probably not the best idea to simply tear down the old, it's always a good idea to craftily hide them behind something newer and more attractive. Make your own window treatments and hang them in front of those nasty things that have been hanging there for the last twelve tenants.


5. Plant flowers.

window plants.jpg

Photo by Unsplash

Who doesn't like flowers? They'll add some colorful cheer to your space while also giving you something to nurture. Ask before digging up your yard, or invest in out-of-ground planters to be safe. Window planters will forever be cute and classic. There are also a number of different DIY planter ideas that are easy, affordable and cool.


6. Hang shelves.

A practical rental addition, shelves will allow you to showcase possessions and personalize a space. There's nothing homier than placing old pictures on shelves for everyone to see.


7. Change the lighting.

lighting 2.jpg

Photo by Unsplash

If the chandeliers and built-in lights are totally outdated, consider changing them. When it comes time for you to move again, it won't be hard to reinstall the old ones.


8. Cover countertops.

When my parents recently redid their countertops, it made a huge difference. Their kitchen now looks completely revamped. Unfortunately, replacing countertops is neither easy nor cheap, and thus not encouraged in any place you are renting. Luckily there's another way to get a new look: cover those things up. You can try painting them, investing in wooden blocks, buying place mats or getting creative with tablecloths. There are a number of ways to cover your countertops and get them looking more modern.


9. Incorporate trendy furniture and decor.

The landlord can't stop you from bringing in your most stylish furniture and décor. They're permitted and effective. Even a white-walled, ugly-carpeted space can benefit from cute couches, trendy pillows and interesting floor lamps.


10. Go green.

Being eco-friendly will forever be in style. Swap old incandescent bulbs for LED ones in order to cut energy usage. Switch to non-toxic cleaning products to cut the chemicals being used in your space. Consider making a small compost pile in your backyard to rid your space of natural waste and also feed those flowers you'll be planting. Be open to anything that creates a greener space.

And that's how you make a house that isn't technically yours into your very own home.


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