6 Creative Ways to Make a Rental Your Own

  • 6 Creative Ways to Make a Rental Your Own

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    moving into a new rental
    There's no doubt, renting can be an advantage over owning in certain scenarios, and at certain phases in life. If you travel a lot, don't want to deal with maintenance, or know you'll be relocating in the somewhat near future, renting can give you a freedom and relief from responsibility that's very appealing. On the downside, you don't have the freedom to decorate or remodel your living space to suit your personal style. Most leases prohibit making any permanent changes to the structure of your residence, and even restrict painting and hanging pictures on the walls. But your place doesn't have to feel generic just because you're renting. There are lots of creative ways to make a living space, no matter how temporary, vibrantly your own.

  • Upgrade the Shower Head

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    shower head
    Most rentals are outfitted with the cheapest shower head available from the big box home improvement store. But you can buy yourself some spa luxury by purchasing your own, and doing a simple DIY install with a kit from the hardware store. Put that basic shower head in a box in the closet and replace it before you move out. Take your spa shower head with you to your next abode.

  • Wall Decals and Removable Wallpaper

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    You may not be able to paint your living room in the latest trendy color, but you can still have fabulous walls by installing wall decals or removable wallpaper. Yes, that's right. Wallpaper that is not permanent. There are new, no-paste, wallpaper products that can be hung and removed multiple times without losing their adherence. And the selection in wall decals -- which are also non-permanent -- is stunning. From modern art motifs to inspirational quotes, vinyl wall decals are easy to install, and just as easy to remove when you decide to move out or move on.

  • Make a Room Divider

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    hanging curtain
    Most rental spaces will not perfectly suit your needs. Even if you can't make structural changes, you can transform it by delineating the space with room dividers. Whether you butt several tall bookcases up to each other, create a screen by repurposing window shutters or pallets, or make a curtained wall with a tension rod, you can customize your space without compromising your lease.

  • Swap Out Light Fixtures

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    Light fixtures
    The right lighting can make a big impact on how your space makes you feel. Not only does the illumination produce atmosphere, but a fashionable light fixture can add a lot to a room's design. Swapping out a light fixture is a simple DIY project even a beginner can accomplish with a few basic tools and the right instructions. Just like a spa shower head, you can take that fixture with you when you leave, after swapping back in the one provided by the landlord.

  • Add a Kitchen Island

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    kitchen island
    No, you can't install new kitchen cabinets in a rental. And who wants to invest that much money in a place they'll eventually leave? But you can increase your counter and cabinet space by buying a rolling cart or free-standing table and using it as a kitchen island. Add a couple of counter stools and voila -- you have a bona fide breakfast bar. These kinds of small, multi-functional pieces can be utilized in new and different ways when you move to your next address.

  • Plant a Windowsill Garden

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    herb garden
    Even if you live in an apartment with no yard, you can do a fair bit of gardening in a rental. All you need is a sunny window and a few pots or planters. Create a culinary herb garden in your kitchen to indulge in when you cook. A windowsill full of succulents is easy to care for, and will brighten even the dullest winter day. Plants can instantly bring a fresh look and a homey feel to your rental digs, and are a relatively inexpensive way to add character and life to your space.

    So, don't settle for living in a place that looks and feels temporary, even if you've only got a month to month lease. With some smart shopping and a little entry level DIY effort, you can make any home -- even a rental -- your own.