12 Renter-Friendly Upgrades to Make Your Apartment a Home

apartment upgrades

One of the challenges of renting a home or apartment is making it feel like “home.” After all, you’re only living there for the short term, so it’s impossible to make wholesale changes to the space. However, there are some changes you can make without driving your landlord insane. Whether you’re renting a house in San Francisco or an apartment in Providence, here are some renter-friendly upgrades to transform your living space.

1. Add an accent wall or a splash of color

If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your apartment without spending a lot of money, you should consider adding an accent wall. An accent wall can add color and interest to a room and make it feel unique. What if you used temporary sticky wallpaper to make your apartment look better? You could choose a design that matches your furniture or go for a bold pattern to match your personality. It’s an easy and affordable way to update your space, and when you are tired of it – just peel it off and switch up the look. 

2. Use rugs to cover up an unsightly floor

Existing floors in rentals aren’t often in the best condition. One of many renter-friendly upgrades to transform the space is to buy a sizeable rug that you can fit in the room. Not only will this mask the floor underneath, but it will also give the space a luxurious feel. Natural fiber rugs such as jute and sisal are ideal as they are durable, cost-effective, and very on-trend.

Visit your local carpet shop to see their selection. Most carpet retailers will offer a rug-making service, allowing you to set your exact size. Plus, it’s also often cheaper than buying off the shelf. You can also add a creative touch by selecting a border for your rug in various colors and materials (i.e., leather, suede, or cotton). When deciding on your rug, remember that this is a piece you can take with you when you move, so make sure your choice is something you can live with for a while. – Studio Jeandre

3. Repaint the walls to make a rental look brand new

For any investment property, the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom are the three areas that need to impress. A great, cheap way to make those rooms pop is to repaint the walls in those rooms to a neutral color. Repainting walls can make a property feel brand new and is a relatively cost-effective way to make a property pop, even if you don’t repaint the other walls in the property – Keyrenter Houston

4. Get creative with your storage to get the most out of your space

Rental properties sometimes do not have the most storage, so utilizing creative storage methods can help organize space and improve its appearance. Under-bed storage, hanging storage in garages, on backs of doors, and inside closets can improve organization while getting rid of the clutter. – WILMOTH Group

5. Opt for removable decor for a short-term upgrade

Focus on makeshift or removable décor. Small hacks of customized wallpaper, lighting arrangements, throw cushions, fake backsplash, open cabinet ideas within the wall, removable flooring, etc., can make for beautiful decor. One can also add some plants while personalizing your apartment through photo memories of travel, friends, and tailor-made paraphernalia that can accentuate your identity. DIY ideas can help you in gaining ideas and lowering your budget. – PropertyPistol Realty

renter friendly upgrades

6. Personalize your space with temporary add-ons

When looking for renter-friendly upgrades, think character but temporary. For example, try painting an accent wall. Use peel-and-stick wallpaper on a wall or a section, or install new cabinet pulls. While they’re minor changes, they’re easy, quick, inexpensive, and if you don’t like it, easy to revert to what you had before. These are all ways to make a rental property yours without breaking the bank. Real Property Management

7. Install some drapes to liven up a dull home

If your new rental looks like a white box, give it some life by adding semi-custom drapery. You’ll soften the look of the space, and you can easily incorporate different tones and textures that make the space more attractive. Be sure to hang your drapery rods 6″-8″ above your windows and 6″-8″ outside of the edges of the windows to make your space appear larger. Order off-the-shelf drapery that is longer than what you need. Measure from the curtain rod or drapery ring to the floor to know how long the curtains need to be to hit the floor exactly or hang 1/4″ above the floor. Take your off-the-shelf drapery to your favorite tailor or seamstress for hemming, and voila! You now have semi-custom drapery that looks custom, won’t break the bank, and you can take it with you. Rose Lake Design

8. Update walls, flooring, and lighting

Rental kitchens and bathrooms are often tricky to update/decorate and ignored. Our go-to solution for renter-friendly upgrades and treating these spaces is updating the walls and flooring. Peel and stick wallpapers and floor tiles give it an instant uplift. They’re easy to install, maintain, and take off. Besides this, lighting plays a significant role and is often restricted in rental spaces. Plug-in wall sconces, stick-on LED strip lights, and chandeliers replaced with puck lights go a long way in transforming the space to create the most beautiful mood lighting. – Dwellistic

9. Replace old hardware for options that fit your style

Swap out old hardware. This upgrade is almost too easy to be true. Exchange your rental’s outdated pulls and knobs for hardware that suits your style. Keep the original hardware on hand—before you move out, change it back and take your new hardware with you. Restyle Living

10. Take steps to prepare for the unexpected

The best upgrade you can do for your rental home is to upgrade your experience while living there, especially when accidents happen. When you spill wine on a carpet, lock yourself out, or break the garbage disposal, companies like Latchel make sure you get a full refund for the bill you paid to hire a carpet cleaner, locksmith, or replace a garbage disposal. Latchel also makes sure you can schedule an appointment with a service provider in 60 seconds or less. If your property manager uses Latchel, perks like that will come with your lease agreement. Latchel

11. If you own a rental property, avoid superficial improvements

Whether you have a newly purchased or already own a rental home or apartment, when considering upgrades to the bathrooms, always update with complete construction – never just cover up what was previously there. This will save you extra expense down the road by eliminating any hidden water damage or mold findings early. Anew Bath Concepts

12. Check with your landlord before making any significant changes

Before making any changes to the property, check the lease to make sure it is allowed and if you have any questions, be sure to run it by your landlord or property manager first. One of many renter-friendly upgrades can be as simple as just laying down an area rug. Others can be more labor-intensive and this includes using a peel-and-stick wall, floor, and counter decor. When making minor alterations to your rental, consider first what is allowed, and how much effort you are willing to put into any changes. – Ziprent


Whether you’re just starting out in your first rental or you’ve been living in the same place for years, it doesn’t hurt to give it a little facelift. These 12 easy upgrades are perfect for any budget, and they can make your apartment feel more like home.

What are some of the upgrades you made in your rental? Leave them in the comments below – we’d love to hear about them!

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