The rental life comes with plenty of high points: free maintenance, a built-in community if you live in an apartment and the freedom to live year-to-year rather than settling down for good. One of the challenges of living in a rental property, however, is the lack of freedom to fully customize it to your needs. But instead of settling for outdated carpet or inadequate storage space, try these clever workarounds to make your rental truly feel like home.
Buy Area Rugs
When you tour a new house or apartment, one of the first things you notice is the flooring. Few people would opt for beige carpet when choosing their ideal type of flooring, but that seems to be the standard for many rental properties. Rather than resign yourself to disliking one of the major features of your home, invest in unique area rugs to give your space instant color and texture.
Improve Your Lighting
Bad lighting influences you in ways you don’t even realize. It can strain your eyes, cause headaches and even negatively impact self-esteem if it spotlights every pore and wrinkle when you look in the mirror. But you don’t have to live with poor lighting in your rental. Choose softer light bulbs so that harsh light is out of the picture. Buy a shade to fit around an unsightly fixture and diffuse the light. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, replace the fixture altogether with one that’s more “you.” Just make sure to keep the old fixture so you can reinstall it — and keep your fancy new one — when you move out.
Hang Temporary Wallpaper
Maybe your property manager has placed limitations on repainting the walls. Or maybe you’ve decided that painting isn’t worth the trouble due to the semi-temporary nature of your living situation. Either way, if paint isn’t in the picture, you can still spice up your walls with temporary wallpaper, which can be easily removed when you move out. Before you commit to a pattern or color, request samples so you can test different ones out on your wall. It may be temporary, but it’s still a stylistic commitment.
Freshen Up the Hardware
Even the smallest reversible upgrade can make a difference. Case in point: hardware. Outdated drawer and cabinet handles, door knobs and towel racks may not seem like big aesthetic problems, but installing new ones can completely transform a room. They’re easy to remove and install — just make sure to keep track of the original ones.
Use Your Vertical Space
One of the biggest challenges renters tend to face is a shortage of storage space. If you’ve gotten rid of all unwanted items and implemented an organizational system and still don’t have enough storage space, don’t get discouraged just yet. You can use vertical storage to declutter your home. Start by hanging your pots, pans and kitchen tools on hooks along the wall or ceiling. This will free up cabinet space for other necessities. Use hanging organizers for shoes and accessories. Hang up a mail sorter to keep your kitchen counter clear of papers without losing important bills and documents. You can also hang decorations down the length of a wall to create the illusion of more space.
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