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The Best Rental Upgrades

We talk a lot about home-ownership on this blog, but home "ownership" comes in many forms, even in not actually owning the home!
Being custodian and inhabitant to a house/apartment has its own sense of ownership and making that space feel your own is a big part of that.

Further, renting for a longer time is becoming more and more common. And while The American Dream of owning your own home still makes financial sense for most people who put down roots someplace for 5+ years, if you are jumping around more often, or could only afford a home that will take more repairs than the neighborhood can justify, renting can make more financial sense.

So how do you take what someone people consider a "temporary" home and make it feel more like the real thing?

I'm running down on my favorite ways to renovate your rental!
(And if its not obvious, of course, please always run this by your landlord and get approval in writing!)

Low Cost/Work

Paint! (Duh)

A little obvious, but a lot of renters are nervous to paint because they think or know they'll have to paint it back. Often, as long as the paint job is well done and in neutral colors, landlords are open to a leaving a fresh coat. And if you do have to paint it back, if you are going to be there for a number of years, its well worth it to make the space your own.

Also, painting isn't just for walls.

As long as your landlord is agreeable, you can paint...


This is a fantastic idea for both old hardwoods in small areas that have seen too much wear
or over cheap linoleum or vinyl floors (or even over tile!!)

Painting the tile also works well for kitchen backsplashes! 

And if you are really tidying up, even bathtubs, sinks and tile can be resurfaced with tile paint 


Not my favorite if you are trying to go for Stainless Steel, though this tutorial seems to have gone well! 
However, white or even funky colored appliances can make a statement and look better than off-color ones. 


We aren't talking the permanent kind. I mean the wonderful world of peel-and-stick and removable wallpaper. There are SO many options out there now! 

This can make a huge statement on a feature wall behind a bed. 

Image result for removable wallpaper behind bed

It works well in bathrooms 

Image result for removable wallpaper bathroom

It can define a space in a small area 

Image result for removable wallpaper defining dining area

It can even be used for a kitchen backsplash! 

kitchen DIY backsplash wallpaper

Faux Subway Tile Backsplash... this is WALLPAPER! Looks like real tile, get the easy how-to which is perfect for renters or those on a budget!

And it also works well in the back of cabinets 

Image result for removable wallpaper cabinets

Changing Out Light Fixtures 

I spoke about this before, but as long as its ok with the landlord and you are working with newer electrical, a new light fixture can transform an entire space! 

Image result for new light fixture before and after

This is particularly true if you've been given builder-grade lights like this 

But even if you can't change out fixtures, adding fixtures with plug ins is also a huge change with little impact to the space and your wallet 

Image result for plug in sconce

More Detailed Kitchen Makeovers

If you have a bit more time on your hands, I also love covering over old counters with a Feather Finish concrete.

And taking off cabinet doors, especially older styles, can make a small kitchen feel both less dated and more open.

Image result for rental makeover

Image result for feather concrete countertops

Concrete Countertop DIY

With these small updates, a little elbow grease, and the right decor, pretty much any rental can become a Pinterest-worthy space that will make you feel right at home, whether for a couple of months or a long time to come! 


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