One of the downsides of rental homes is that they are often decorated with only the most basic colors and serviceable but simple appliances, flooring and cabinetry. Because you probably signed a lease where you agreed not to make any permanent changes to your rental, it can be difficult to make your home feel personal, much less give it an upgraded look and feel. Fortunately, there are several ways that you can add to your home without compromising your security deposit.
1. Shower Head
A fancy shower head can make all the difference in your bathroom and changing it out is fairly simple and leaves no permanent trace. Do some research before you undertake the job and make sure you understand how to make the switch without causing leaks or issues that might end up being costly. It doesn’t take much to temporarily change out an entire shower hardware kit for someone with know-how.
2. Floor Rugs, Curtains and Throw Pillows
Few things can transform a living space more dramatically than carpets and rugs. You may not be able to do much about that old carpet or the unattractive laminate floors in the kitchen, but you can still take action to make your home more comfortable and stylish. Area rugs are an ideal way to cover unsightly floors. You can also add curtains to just about any window using a non-permanent adhesive hook and rod system. Dramatic patterns and colors around a window will really brighten up a living space. Of course, colorful throw pillows on sofas and beds will add your own flair into your home décor.
3. Update Hardware
Nothing can date your cabinetry more than old pulls and handles and changing out the hardware and putting in new ones can put fresh life into them. The cost will depend on how many you need and what type you buy. Make sure the new holes line up with the old ones already drilled into the cabinets, and never drill new holes. This semi-permanent change will only last as long as you live in the unit because you can take them all with you when you go as long as you reinstall the originals.
4. Bathroom Grout
Grout is one of those household things that needs replaced now and then. Because grout is protective as well as cosmetic, your landlord should be responsible for renewing and repairing the rubber grout that seals any water bearing vessel to the wall. But, what about the dingy concrete grout in between the tiles in the shower or on the floor? Steam and bleaching agents can help, but in some cases you may need to replace it or simply repaint it. Some hardware stores carry paint pens specifically for brightening grout and while the job can be time consuming, the end result is a cleaner, fresher looking bathroom.
5. Electric Fireplace
Space heaters are a nice way to save on your utility bill but you can get the look of a fancy fireplace when you get an electric version. Electric fireplaces can save you money during the cold winter months, and can be installed temporarily. Bring warmth and beauty to your living space with electric fireplaces. From ultra modern to classic stone or wood, the styles and designs of an electric fireplace will change the look of any home from standard to upscale.
6. Add Crown Molding to Bathroom Mirrors
In the rental world, homes are generally outfitted with only builder grade bathroom mirrors. Crown molding around the mirror can add individuality to your bathrooms and give it a more upscale look. If you don’t have the required carpentry skills to do a temporary faux mirror frame, there are many prefabricated kit options that you can easily mount using removable adhesive tabs.
7. Light Fixtures and Dimmers/Switch Plates
Light fixtures are another area in rentals where landlords usually stick with the basics, but a unique or beautiful piece can easily change the look of the room. Some light fixtures are easily switched out, but some require a little more electric know how to get them hooked up. If you have no experience in this area, it is best to hire a professional. If you aren’t feeling adventurous enough to completely replace the light fixture, installing a dimmer switch in main rooms can reduce the glare of regular lighting, increase ambiance and even help you save money on your utilities. Just be prepared to change it back when you are getting ready to move.
8. Contact Paper in the Kitchen
New appliances are a significant investment, but there is an easy and inexpensive way to update the look of the the ones that you already have. Stainless steel contact paper can be purchased at most major hardware stores and will help you match or update the look of your kitchen appliances. There’s even faux marble contact paper for the counter tops and faux brick and tile for a back splash. The changes will have a permanent look but will actually be an illusion because contact paper can be easily removed when you leave the rental if your landlord prefers.
9. Removable Wallpaper
If you crave the intricate or bold print that you can only get from wallpaper, permanent installation isn’t your only option. Removable wallpaper has a strong adhesive backing can be cut to measure and will peel off when you leave the rental. Another option is words and images using peel and stick vinyl. From your favorite quotes to silhouettes of birds, trees and more, there are hundreds of ways to dress up walls in a rental property.
Updating the paint in your home is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for personalizing and updating your home. Of course, only do this with landlord permission. If you aren’t up for painting an entire room, you can paint an accent wall in a bold color and still change the look. Keep in mind that darker colors will make a small room look even smaller and that you get what you pay for in terms of paint and supplies. Check with your landlord in case he has a preference on the brand of paint that you use.