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Let Me Upgrade Ya: Tips for Upgrading Your Rental

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | Jul 27, 2017 1:29 PM

You don't own it, and it's pretty standard issue. Sure, rental property allows for flexibility of location and financial planning, but let's face it: It's just not home.

Or is it? We've found countless ways you can upgrade any space to include personal, eye-catching touches without breaking rental agreement protocol. These upgrades will not only enhance your living space, but also the landlord/tenant relationship.

Replace Fixtures

Nothing says home more than walking into a soothing, restorative hot shower. You don't need high-order plumbing skills to replace a current shower head with one more to your liking. All you need is a wrench, Teflon tape and a little persistence. It's a screw-off, re-tape, screw-on deal. Keep the original shower head so you can reinstall it when you move on.

If you're up for a little more involvement, try adapting your new fixed shower head with a hand-held extender. This do-it-yourself project requires only a few hours of time and minimal cost.

Similarly, sink faucets that are dated or just plain unattractive can also switch out cost-effectively. You will need access to the water supply lines under the sink, a bucket for draining water and a couple of different-sized wrenches, depending on how tight your working space is.

Finally, while you're shopping for showerheads and faucets, why not consider a new toilet seat? For $20-$50, you can be the first to sit on your new throne, a little thing that can mean a lot!

Improve Lighting

Think layers. Overhead lights mixed with floor and various task lamps create a layered look that adds dimension to your space. Glaring fluorescent ceiling lights can be softened by tacking fabric underneath, like a floating half-orb, or you might want to look into any number of commercial covers.

Place soft white LED bulbs in floor lamps and save brighter bulbs for desk and table task lights. Is the kitchen darker than you'd prefer? Consider stick-on under-cabinet LED light strips to illuminate countertops. Many stick-on light strips have the added benefit of being battery-operated.

Adapt Window Treatment

Whatever blind or shade currently sits in your window can quickly take a back seat to personalized fabric drapes. You don't need to remove anything. Simply measure for a tension rod to hang over windows. Fabric block curtains are reasonably priced and available ready-made in several sizes and design, or feel free to create your own!

Consider hanging fabric curtains from ceiling to floor along the entire length of a windowed wall. Translucent materials enhance natural light.

Transform Ugly


An obvious catch-all category, you might feel some or all of the following rental space elements cringeworthy:

  • Kitchen cabinets? Take the doors off their hinges and create open shelving.
  • Floor coverings? Try peel-and-stick carpet tiles.
  • Tiny bathroom? Hang a tension second shower rod, and use it for hanging baskets of toiletry items.
  • Concrete porch? Consider snap-together deck tiles.

Know Your Rights

Now that you can visualize rental space with innovation and creativity, it's important to know your tenant rights and understand how potential upgrades benefit your landlord as well.

Your landlord wants to maintain quality housing and attract mindful tenants. A tenant whose apparent interest and intent is to protect the original condition of a unit while upgrading to increase its value and livability quotient is a great asset.

Don't be afraid to share alteration ideas with your landlord. She or he may have local resource recommendations for added benefit.

Save Money, Maximize Relocation Options

Renting can save you money on taxes, insurance, utility costs and repair expenses. It facilitates the possibility of future relocation. It's a great way to gain access to community resources such as fitness and recreation facilities, and may very well provide a sense of collective citizenry.

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