6 Steps To Personalize Your Rental on a Budget

Every house is incomplete without a personal touch as tempting as it may seem to staying on a budget is the simple key to success. Although the maintenance isn’t your problem, and you can move out without having to find a buyer. You’re usually dealing with standard-grade appliances, budget finishes, and that old classic, “Apartment White” walls. While it’s understandable that a rental is someone else’s investment (and thus needs to be kept as inoffensive to the average prospective tenant as possible), an apartment devoid of any personality can be a bit of a downer to come home to after a long day. To always play your cards right keep your rental renovations limited to our favorite apartment decorating ideas. 

Gallery Wall: Creating a gallery wall. An arrangement of photos and artwork that spans the wall is a relatively simple way to bring a lot of impact to a room without causing much damage. Sure, there will be nail holes, but those are easily filled before you end your lease. Another option is to use stick-on picture hooks that promise damage-free hanging, though they tend to work only with lightweight pieces.

Light Fixtures: Adjusting the light. Is the only source of illumination in your apartment coming from a sad fluorescent overhead fixture? Most overhead fixtures cast harsh light, creating weird shadows that make everything look odd. Incorporating more lighting at eye level or higher, whether in the form of table lamps, plug-in sconces, or floor lamps, makes a house feel more like a home.

Adding a rug: The floor is one of the biggest surfaces in a home. Bringing in a colorful element here has huge impact, maybe even more so than painting a wall. A rug also helps protect the floors from damage, which is a plus as far as your security deposit goes. Pick a large carpet that has either bold color, texture, pattern … or, hey, why not all three? And to use a terrible phrase, let the carpet match the drapes. Or at least pick up a color in the curtains. Most renters overlook window panels, which offer much-needed privacy and style without torching your budget.

Replacing hardware: Swapping out the handles and knobs of cabinets for more stylish options can be a simple task. It’s really just a matter of loosening a few screws and tightening a few others. The only downside: keeping track of the original hardware, or risking damaging the finish of the cabinet accidentally while installing the new knobs.

Decals: On the surface, adding temporary decals to the wall seems as though it should be a low-risk endeavor, right? They even have the word “temporary” in the product name! But with so many options on the market, it’s hard to be certain you’re not going to end up with the decal that acts more like duct tape and peels off a layer of paint when it’s time to remove that inspiring silhouette of a tree.

Painting: Paint is temporary but generally frowned upon by landlords. All it takes is one tenant with a penchant for highlighter-lime-green paint that bleeds through several coats of white primer to make a landlord flat-out refuse additional painting. However, the no-paint rule might not be as non-negotiable as you think. First, take another look at your lease. It might be that you could paint, as long as you clear the color with your landlord. Or you can paint, but it can’t be a strong color. 

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