Living in a rental apartment comes with a lot of limitations. For the most part, you'd need to work with what you've got - the kitchen cabinets and bathroom tiles would probably need to stay put, and those white walls need to stay pristine after your lease period is up. But having those limitations shouldn't scare you away from bringing in colour and life into your rental home. Here are 12 foolproof/super renter-friendly design tips that will help transform your space from drab to fab in an instant! And did I mention they're all budget-friendly too? Scroll down the list to find out more!
1. Backsplash Decal
Want to a make a splash on a dated kitchen backsplash? Why not try sticking some decorative decals on tiles! Inexpensive and so easy to apply over/peel off tiles, these decals will put smile on your face every morning, even if you'd need to grab-and-go your overnight oats or cup of joe on your way out.
2. Vinyl Carpet Flooring
via Beija Flor
Vinyl gets a bad rap for looking tacky AF, but you'd be surprised to find out that there are beautifully designed products out there that make it look so much like the real thing. This vinyl carpet from Beija Flor for example gives off that on-trend vintage cement tile look for a fraction of the actual price. All you need to do is lay out the vinyl (and cut around the edges of walls or built-in fixtures, if necessary) on the floor of a tiny bathroom/powder room or as a decorative spot on the kitchen floor. So easy to clean and low maintenance too? I say that's a win all around.
3. Adhesive Faux Tiles
If you're up for a bit more DIY, an alternative would be to apply these adhesive faux floor tiles instead. They're waterproof and can withstand a whole lot of foot traffic too.
4. Frame Hanging Strips
Can't drill holes on the wall? No problem. Command strips are your friend, and many local hardware stores carry a version of them. Now you can go ahead and create that designer gallery wall of your dreams *wink wink*!
5. Integrate Versatile Storage Furniture
Adding adequate storage is a must in small space living. One way to do that is providing a freestanding shelving unit you can put over the water closet or under the sink . You'll find versions of these in Ikea or can improvise with cupboard shelving.
6. Find the Perfect Table/Floor Lamps ( or dare to change the existing fixtures with your own!)
Playing around with different light sources is a great way to add depth and interest, whilst creating a cozy atmosphere to a space. Rather than just relying on a single overhead light, why not spread the warm glow all around by incorporating floor lamps or table lamps (maybe even a few candles here and there) in spots that need of extra illumination, like the bedside or sofa/lounge chair corner. If you're feeling a little adventurous, try changing an existing pendant/chandelier yourself with something that's more your style. There are so many great tutorials out there on how to rewire and install a new lighting fixture to guide you through the process. Simply store the old fixture aside (or better yet, ask your landlord to have it removed and stored for you if at all possible), and remember to reinstall them back when you move out.
7. Peel-and-Stick Temporary Wallpaper
Most wallpapers require some form of commitment. That's just a fact of life. But what if I tell you that there are wallpapers out there that are easy to install AND remove, and would work perfectly for rentals too? Peel-and-stick wallpapers, otherwise known as temporary wallpapers, are just the sort of decorative solution for the non-committed. Etsy offers a wide array of designs and styles for you to choose from, pretty soon you'd be wishing you weren't so picky either!
8. Replace the Window Treatments
If your rental comes with curtain rods (along with some not-so-flattering curtains), you can opt to change the treatments with something pre-made. Many pre-made curtains available in the market are at a standard 2.8 m in height so you may need to use an adhesive or to hem them to fit the right length. This may also require a bit more time and effort, but the effect of a thoughtfully considered window treatment is undeniable, and can really tie together a room beautifully.
9. Get a Radiator Cover
If you intend to live in a rental for a long time, those old unsightly radiators will probably start to get on your nerves. Luckily, there are affordable solutions to tuck them away, and even add shelving space for your books and decors. Radiator covers come in different styles as well: you can opt for something more modern and sleek, or a more traditional latticework.
10. Layer Those Rugs
Putting rug over another rug seems to be all the rage these days, and for a good reason. Not only does it make the room feel lived-in, cozy, and for lack of a better word, layered; it's also a great way draw the attention away from the parts of the room that you, as a renter, can't really do anything about (those exposed pipes. those outdated tiles. *sigh*). One technique to a good rug layering is having a large, sweeping, oft-neutral foundation (like sisal or jute), then play it off with a smaller-sized vintage or patterned rug over. For good measure, add some pretty floor cushions in the mix for extra seating.
11. Change/Add a Shower Curtain
Need a refresh in the bathroom but too lazy to do any DIY? Opt to just change your shower curtain instead! Try to go for zesty colours and fun prints even, if you want to take it up a notch. Your tiny shower area will definitely thank you for it!
12. Bring the Outside In
There's nothing quite like having a touch of nature indoors, especially in a hectic urban setting. Plants are known to promote positive wellbeing, purify the air we breathe, and work their inherent charm and beauty in just about any area in a home. But if you're anything like me with barely a green thumb to boast about, maintaining indoor plants can be quite the challenge. Fortunately, this isn't a deal breaker and that there are many indoor plants out there to choose from. And with proper care and maintenance, adding a few more surely wouldn't hurt.
Hope these tips help you find your way into a more personalised rental home. Happy decorating!