Potentially controversial opinion alert: I think apartment improvements are pretty much always worth the time and effort.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I like my living space, I spend less money going out, I’m more likely to have friends over, and I’m generally more productive and happier. I even sleep better! All because I spent a weekend painting or swapping out handles!
Today, I brought in ASID-certified interior design Liz MacKeigan to share her best, most affordable rental-improving tips and tricks!
I can’t think of a valid reason to wait until “someday” to make yourself feel at home somewhere. Sure, ripping out a bathroom or replacing flooring surfaces is likely out of the question, but it doesn’t mean you can’t inject your personality or creature comforts into your landlord’s place.
Cheap apartment improvements: Living room
Blank walls make me sad. And because I don’t have a fabulous art budget, I’ve gotten creative over the years about hanging things on my walls. Here are some ways to get big art on a small budget, without utilizing your old NKOTB posters:
- I made a pretty intense wall mural in college through The Rasterbator.
- Aunt Peaches shows us how to turn wrapping paper into legit art.
- If geography is your thing, blow up or photocopy a map and break out the Mod Podge for an inexpensive oversized map. I made something like this for a first-anniversary gift to my husband and now we paint the route of every road trip we take together. Awwwww.
- Washi tape can make magical things happen to your walls.When hanging art, remember to keep it relatively at eye level, and hang pieces in groupings on large walls if your frames are less than 36”.
Cheap apartment improvements: Kitchen + bathroom
Kitchens and bathrooms in rentals typically leave a little to be desired. Without causing damage, you can typically make some small changes to make cooking feel a little nicer. Here’s how:
- Upgrade your back splash
- A few rolls of temporary wallpaper or a quart of paint and a stencil can make a huge impact.
- Swap out your knobs & pulls. Knobs are easy because they have one screw, but did you know there are adjustable pulls on the market? They’re great because you can haul them from place to place. These are my favorite.
- Take off some cabinet doors! My teeny apartment in college had two-toned kitchen doors that were peeling, so I yanked them down and installed pretty contact paper the back of the cabinets. The kitchen felt larger and the doors were no longer mocking my sensibilities.
Cheap apartment improvements: Bedrooms
- Need extra storage? A few inexpensive wall shelves and a can of gold spray paint might just solve all of your problems.
- If you’re having trouble locating the right furniture for your space, check out my old post on tips for selecting pieces that can move with you from place to place.
- And finally, check out my tips for giving your lighting a boost and installing good window treatments, all on a budget.
If you have any other suggestions for giving your apartment a little love, please share in the comments!