5 Ways To Upgrade Your Rental

Above: A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to instantly upgrade your apartment (Photo: Syda Productions/Shutterstock)

You may not own it, but there’s no reason why your rental apartment can’t look and feel like home. Here are five simple ways you can upgrade your pad this weekend.


The most obvious way to freshen up a space is with a fresh coat of paint (just check your lease first). To make the job easy and pain free, consider painting one focal wall in a great colour. Best walls for this is the wall behind your bed or the most focal wall in your living room. Just remember, a focal wall should always be a bold colour. If you are planning on staying there for a few years, then go for it and hire a painter to paint the whole place. Just plan on repainting it back to the dull white when you move out. Remember to think outside of the box, consider painting out an element in your apartment like the staircase.

Switch up Lighting

Landlords like to install bad cheap lighting but you don’t have to stand for it. Swap it out. Look for something modern and stylish. Don’t worry about the cost; you are going to take this light with you. And wiring it in is dead easy. Bonus: consider installing dimmers.

Drawer Pulls

This is one of the easiest ways to upgrade your rental kitchen, switch out the dated cabinet knobs and pulls with something new and sleek. Check out places like IKEA for inexpensive options and remember to take them with you when you move out.


If your apartment came with bad wall-to-wall carpet or terrible 80s parquet hardwood flooring, consider covering the floor with several large area rugs. For more visual interest, try mixing different styles of rugs; an antique Persian can be layered with a cowhide rug. Best practice is to ensure cohesion and not exact matching. For really bad wall-to-wall carpet, get several inexpensive sisal carpets and overlap them to create your own new wall-to-wall carpet.

‘Custom’ Built-Ins

Most apartments lack great storage and rarely do they come with great built-ins. But you can create them with ready-made shelving units. The key is to ensure that it will cover the wall from end-to-end (either its entire length and/or its floor-to-ceiling height).

BONUS: Temporary Wallpaper

Yes there are some great temporary wallpapers out there and they are quite affordable. Pick a focal wall or entry wall to cover with a great pattern. If you are willing to commit to a big project, consider wallpapering your powder room.

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