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New Year, New Look: Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Apartment or Rental Property

March 12 2020

Living in a rental property can feel like your opportunities for self-expression are severely restricted, as does operating within a limited budget – but fear not! Tight purse strings and stingy landlords don’t have to hold you back from making a space your own.

There are myriad budget- and landlord-friendly ways to spruce up a characterless flat. From revamping your walls and floors to upgrading your hardware and daring to accessorise, all the following ideas are easy on the purse, easy to install, and easy to remove, so you can let loose and make your temporary house, a home. 

Before you launch into your DIY decor, there a few steps that need to be ticked off to make sure everyone is on the same page. 

  1.  Check With Your Landlord before you undertake any more permanent changes such as painting walls or hanging curtains. 
  2. Keep Everything You Remove and store it somewhere safe so that you can easily re-install it before you move out. 
  3. Concentrate Your Financial Resources on Reusable Items so that you can take them with you when you move. Good quality furniture, hardware, wall decor, fabrics and blinds etc. will make great additions to your next rental or your forever-home.  
  4. Save Complex Tasks for the People Who Know How rather than attempting them yourself. While it can be tempting to save on labour costs, working with professionals can save time, hassle, injury, and will probably make your landlord feel safer. 
  5. Use Removable or Temporary Items such as removable wallpaper, contact paper, vinyl tile stickers, washi tape etc. This means you can switch it out if you get bored of it! When reusing wallpaper or decals, it’s useful to keep the original backing paper. Peel the wallpaper or decal away (blast it with a hairdryer if it’s stubborn), lie it face down on the floor and attach the backing paper to the sticky side. Make sure to keep the adhesive dust-, dirt-, and fingerprint-free!

Easy Upgrades for Your Rental

Start from the Bottom: Dress-Up Your Floors

There’s nothing like unsightly tiling, a manky carpet or old lino to dampen the mood when you get home. Luckily, there are a few quick and easy options that will have your floors looking and feeling new! 

For hiding tiles or linoleum, vinyl tile stickers or snap-together flooring are hard to beat. Choose vinyl stickers with funky designs, or in bold colour blocks, and lay them on a clean floor in the pattern of your choice. These are handy because they can be customised to your floor plan. When you need to remove them, simply blast them with a hairdryer, and they peel away, leaving no trace behind. 

Snap-together flooring is less flexible, but if your room has a regular floor plan, this could be the ideal solution. Because the tiles adhere to each other and not the existing floor, they can also be used to cover up a carpet! Unlike vinyl stickers, snap-together flooring can be reused, so be sure to bring it with you when you move. 

Finally, never underestimate the power of an eye-catching rug to distract the eye from unattractive flooring. Layer bright and bold rugs over tiles, lino or carpet and see the whole room transform! Just like snap-together tiles, rugs can be used and reused, so pack them up when you move out. 

Have a Ball with Your Walls

Walls are usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think of revamping your flat, but living in a rental might deter you from creating the feature wall of your dreams. Nonsense! Let your landlord enjoy peace of mind while you enjoy your space with these nifty tricks. 

Removable wallpaper is your friend. Don’t be afraid to use it, and don’t be afraid to be bold and daring! After all, if you don’t like it or get bored with your choice, you can always peel it off and start again. It’s easy to apply and can really make a cold room feel like home.

If you’re not a fan of the wallpaper vibe, removable wallpaper is still your friend: instead of painting directly onto your walls (and giving your landlord a heart attack), apply removable, paintable wallpaper instead! Once it’s securely in place, go for gold with the roller brush and paint-splattered overalls. 

Want to create a tile illusion, tiled feature wall or bathroom and kitchen backsplash? Look no further than vinyl tile stickers. These versatile stickers can be used anywhere – the only limit is your imagination! 

If you can’t be bothered with this whole sticking or painting malarkey, simply arm yourself with a fabric of your choice and a staple gun. Tack the sides of the material in place along the corner, floor and ceiling, and admire your brand new wall! When the time comes to pack up and leave, simply pull the fabric down. 

Washi tape has quickly become a staple of DIY interior design. This versatile tape easily and safely peels away from any surface when the time comes, so use it fearlessly in creating bold geometric designs, patterns and prints. 

Removable and reusable decals are another great way to add character to your walls and make each room distinctively unique. Since they can be reused, you can take your favourite ones with you when you move on. 

Give Your Cabinets and Drawers a Face-Lift

Tired cabinets lead to tired rooms, so brighten yours up and don’t lose sleep over your security deposit with these easy DIYs.

Removable wallpaper, contact paper and wall decals can all be used on cabinet surfaces as well, so there’s no need re-paint them or install new doors. Simply give them a temporary, removable make-over that you can pretend never happened when it comes to move-out day.

If the doors are really offensive, remove them and join the growing ‘open storage’ trend that’s taking the design world by storm. Advocates of the style claim that it helps to reduce clutter because everything is always on display. 

Installing new doorknobs and drawer pulls is easy as pie, and can really brighten up a drab cabinet as well.

More uses for vinyl stickers, contact paper, removable wallpaper and decals

There’s really no end to the creative possibilities these handy devices open up for you. Here are a few more areas of your flat that can be easily upgraded with the help of these temporary solutions:

  • appliances: cover fridges, dishwashers and other machines with the design of your choice, and watch them transform from dull household objects to exciting elements in your design scheme
  • countertops: granite work-surfaces a little over your budget? Apply beautiful designs to your countertops, and no one needs to know.
  • Old furniture: bring outdated furniture into the modern era by dressing it up in the designs of your choice.