6 Tips for a Renter-Friendly Apartment Makeover

A bland or outdated apartment doesn’t have to drag down your style — and an apartment makeover doesn’t have to break the bank. You’re in luck if you’ve been inspired by the major rental makeovers overtaking social media. Use this guide to transform your apartment with renter-friendly tips and tricks. Every change is reversible, so don’t worry about getting your security deposit intact. 

Take your apartment from drab to fab with these 6 apartment makeover ideas. 

1. Give Your Apartment a Thorough Cleaning

You’d be surprised what a bit of bleach — or Bar Keepers Friend — can do for your apartment! Whether your building is new or old, you’ll want to get started with a thorough wipe down. Thoroughly dust, sweep, and vacuum your apartment’s floors and surfaces. Then, get to work mopping. For that extra clean look and feel, pay careful attention to the grout, baseboards, bathrooms, and kitchen. 

2. Make Simple Swaps

Does your apartment’s kitchen look old and dated? It’s time to make a few rental-friendly improvements here and elsewhere. Start by swapping out the hardware on your cabinets and drawers throughout your home. Replace the existing hardware with an option that suits your style better. Then, bag up, label, and store the old hardware. Before you move out, simply swap back the old cabinet and drawer hardware. Your landlord will be none the wiser.

Much like how you can swap out and save your old hardware, you can exchange your old light fixtures, showerhead, kitchen faucet, or light switch plates for a more attractive or ergonomic option. Swap out your bland shower curtain for a funky shower curtain. Each option is relatively inexpensive and easy to do with just a few simple tools. Just be sure to hang on to the originals so that you can reinstall them when your lease is up. 

3. Minor Tweaks = Major Improvements

After a thorough cleaning, you may notice some dings and damage. If your apartment’s cabinets or walls are slightly damaged or scuffed, consider making minor touch-ups. Take photos of the area you’re looking to touch up. Bring your photos to your local hardware store to ensure you have the right match. Then, get samples or a touch-up pen to make your fix. Before you go all in, do a test spot in an inconspicuous area to ensure you have the right match. 

4. Create the Illusion of More Space 

Think there’s no remedy for a too-small apartment? Think again. While you can’t add to your unit’s square footage, you can make your space feel and appear larger — and create a space that will suit all of your needs.

Interior designers love to use simple illusions to make a space feel bigger, such as placing decorative mirrors, staggering furniture, or cleverly using vertical space. Decorative mirrors reflect light and can make any room instantly appear larger. Consider adding a few to a gallery wall or use them as stand-alone focal points. 

How you place your furniture can have a significant impact, too. While your instincts may have you believing that cozying your couch up into the corner will save space, it can cause your room to feel smaller. Instead, try to “float” your furniture off the walls by a few inches and create more negative space. The result? A room that feels more spacious. 

Finally, make use of your vertical space. Consider using bookshelves, pegboards, or even decorative ladders to increase your storage space while drawing the eye upward. Vertical lines will help your space appear taller and more expansive while getting your goods organized and off the countertops (or floor).

5. Walls that Wow 

Enhancing your walls pays off — especially when you get creative. Scuffed paint and boring beige are no match for peel and stick wallpapers or backsplashes. Choose your option carefully and ensure that you choose a pattern or color palette that suits your end goal. For example, if you’re looking to make your space feel larger, you’ll want to stick to lighter hues — perhaps with a touch of iridescence. To make a room feel cozier, you can go bold with deep moody hues and wild pattering. The result is ultimately up to you! 

Feeling apprehensive about peel and stick wallpaper or peel and stick backsplash? Reach for wall decor instead. Gallery walls, statement art pieces, or even your favorite posters or tapestries can liven up even the dullest rentals. 

If you aren’t allowed to drill or make holes in your walls, you’re in luck. Look into damage-free options and use peel and stick hooks and picture hangers — like Command Hooks. To ensure that you’re truly doing damage-free hanging, be sure to follow the directions and remove them carefully when your lease is up.

6. Fabulous Flooring

Unfortunately, not every apartment has gorgeous original hardwood floors or attractive tiling. That’s where floor stickers and rugs come in. 

Adhesive floor stickers can be used on any solid surface and come up clean — meaning you can cover that yellowing laminate flooring with anything you please! Choose a luxurious marble look for a spa-like bathroom, or make your living room feel rustic and inviting with a faux-brick peel and stick option. Be sure to thoroughly clean and mop first — and consider enlisting the help of a friend! Double-check your peel-and-stick flooring instructions before you get started. Ensure your peel and stick option is safe to use on your apartment’s flooring. 

Do floor stickers seem like a little too much effort? Try layering in area rugs. Area rugs can help you create comfort underfoot, define zones in a studio apartment, or tie two rooms together. In addition to being cozy, fun rugs are also a great way to showcase your style.

Upgrade Your Apartment with ApartmentSearch

When an apartment makeover won’t do the trick, find a new lease on life with ApartmentSearch. Our customizable search filters make it easy to find a great new spot with everything you need — like a balcony or gym — all within your price point.