How to Upgrade a Rental Without Losing Money


When you’re living in a rental apartment, there might be limitations on the upgrades and changes you can make. There are usually a lot of rules in place when you’re a tenant; you can’t even add any decor to the walls if it involves hammering in a nail. Any damage to the walls, flooring, or other aspect of the home can result in you losing your deposit. In some cases, the lease you signed might even give your landlord the right to terminate the contract. 

verify the drower

Since its hard enough finding a decent place to live these days, you might think of making do with what’s been handed to you. The tiles might be ugly, and the storage limited, but it’s still home. Plus, any permanent renovations that you make on a rental are likely to be equivalent to throwing money down the drain. 

On the upside, though, there are some ways to upgrade your rental without the risk of losing your investment.  Below are some expert tips for sprucing up the place without risking anything:

1. Look Into Removable Wallpaper

Most of the time, rental apartments will have strict rules and not let tenants paint any walls. Even if you can manage to do so, you’d probably be limited to neutral shades. If you want to go with a more colorful or interesting option, removable wallpaper is your best friend. 

Removable wallpaper is not only affordable, but they add some color and display your personal taste. This way, you’d feel like the place is completely yours for the duration of the lease. You can also keep the costs even lower by just getting enough wallpaper to make an accent wall.


2. Change the Knobs

door knob

Among the easiest methods of making a bathroom or kitchen more attractive is to change out the hardware on the cabinets, drawers, etc. Make sure to put the original ones in a safe place; you can reinstall them when moving out. 

The same practice might apply when it comes to doors. New, personalized knobs or handles can really upgrade the interior of a place without breaking the bank. At the same time, you won’t have to compromise on this investment when it’s time to move on to the next place. You might have to learn a little DIY for this swap, but the effort is worth it. 

3. Layering the Rugs


If your rental has an ugly and tacky carpet that’s stuck to the floor, it’s probably not possible to rip it up. Fortunately, you can go with a rug layering method that will act as a band aid to the problem. 

Adding a rug on a carpet might seem strange, but this might be the only way to add your own touch. This will also cover up any existing eyesores on the carpeting. If there’s any sign of wear and tear on the tiles or wooden flooring either, a large area will also cover that up. With plain area rugs, you can create a customized look and also divide up a large space into different zones. 

4. Go for New Window Treatments


With a proper window treatment, you can get a lot of color and texture to any room. Rentals are usually temporary homes, so one doesn’t want to go for high-end options. It’s better to go for the more reasonable options available at a big box store or home center. Even store bought drapes can add some softness. 

Drapes and curtains are also easy to take down and pack when you want to move into a new place. There are also blinds that seem fancier than their actual quality. Go for some cut-to-measure options, and you can also choose either blackout or sheer material according to your needs. Your rental might not have any blinds at all; even if it does, they’d probably be old, neglected and outdated. Getting window treatments is a great way to upgrade within a budget.

5. Get Some Indoor Plants

Indoor plants will introduce a bit of life, color, and nature in an otherwise dark and depressing apartment. House plants will also add a bit of beauty into the place in addition to improving the air quality inside. Studies also show that such plants can have a positive effect on our emotions, so it’s a good idea to have at least a few of them at home. 

In case you don’t have a green thumb, there are several plants that don’t require much maintenance. Aloe vera, snake plants, and various succulents are just a few examples that you can try out before  moving on to the more challenging species (if the hardy ones survive). 

If you simply don’t want to have real plants in your home, artificial plants might be the next best options. However, be sure to select the models that actually look realistic and classy; it’s all too easy to get a tacky-looking fake plant. 

6. Get Some Large Mirrors

home decor

Renting a tiny apartment might be good for your budget, but living in a cramped space isn’t very good for your physical or mental health. While making any extensions is impossible, a few large mirrors in strategic positions might make your surroundings a little more bearable. Place them at the far end of a room to make it seem bigger. At the same time, these mirrors will also make the spaces seem brighter in every corner. 

7. Use Tile Stickers in the Kitchen

If the kitchen has chipped, old, or unattractive tiles or splashbacks, it can ruin your whole mood. When you’re living on your own, it’s usually necessary to cook at least a few meals per week at home. This will save you a few bucks and also be the healthier choice in the long run. 

Fortunately, there are tile stickers available in the market that can cover any unsightly tiles on the kitchen walls or the splashback behind the stove. These are not expensive and can even be installed by a layman as a first DIY project. They’re also usually waterproof, so you can wipe off any oily or greasy stains the minute they occur. 

These removable tile decals are also easy to peel off when it’s time to leave. You can also change up the designs when it’s time for a change. The same solution will also work for the tiles in the bathroom, or for brightening up any boring wall. 

8. Get Creative With Artwork


Hanging any kind of artwork is a no-no in most rentals, but it’s still possible to display your preferences without any nails. If you lean a few of your favorite canvases or frames against the wall, it would still look trendy and interesting to boot. You can use a shelf to display them, or lean them against the wall right on the floor. 

In case a painting is on paper and not framed, there are also double-adhesive tapes available. With these hacks, the art pieces will be able to upgrade the place and even make it look more expensive.


Upgrading a rental without losing any money is probably not possible, but the tips above will certainly make the process financially safer. Just a little effort in this direction will hopefully help your rental look more like a proper home. The results will also have you more comfortable in your surroundings, so start with one project and go from there. 

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