The Inspector

By NPI, Inc.



Renter-Friendly Interior Design Hacks: How to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

 August 14, 2023 |  DIY, Home Decor |  kitchen, floors, walls, lighting, painting

We’ve seen people make their homes in all sorts of unique and strange places. From trendy tiny homes to flat-out bizarre spite houses, homeowners seem to have tons of freedom to personalize their spaces into something that is totally unique to them. Owning a home comes with plenty of work, but this ability to remodel, redesign, and remake is one of the things that makes homeownership such a sought-after goal.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why renting can be frustrating. Too many apartments lack character, and many tenants find themselves living in drab, cookie-cutter flats of uninspired architecture. Finding ways to tailor these spaces into something that feels a little more “homey” without making any permanent changes can be tough. The good news is, creative renters have found ways to have fun with decor, even while keeping to their lease agreements. To make your rental yours, here are some transformative, renter-friendly interior design tips.

Hang Some Temporary Wallpaper
The first step to truly transform the overall look and feel of a room is to figure out what to do with the walls. Landlords tend to prefer keeping their walls in shades that are inoffensive to avoid turning away tenants, but this also leads to thousands upon thousands of neutral off-whites to choose between. In units that do not allow painting, removable wallpaper is a fabulous answer for this common issue.

There are so many designs and styles of wallpaper available that come designed for easy application (and easy removal for renters). Just remember to clean the walls thoroughly and always hang wallpaper from top to bottom for a smooth application process. You’ll be shocked how much this simple step alone will make your rental feel yours.

Paint When Possible!
Alternatively, some landlords can be shockingly amiable when it comes to paint (usually with the caveat that you repaint everything back to its original color when moving out). Painting a room can seem like a big undertaking, but a weekend’s worth of work might be the most impactful change that you can make on your space’s overall appearance. Even re-painting your walls the same color will make your rental feel fresher and cleaner.

If painting isn’t listed as an option, try asking about adding just an accent wall. Painting only certain areas can create a sense of separation in rentals where space is limited, and the original wall color is still there for comparison when repainting later on. Check out this article from interior design experts at The Spruce to learn more about accent walls! Don’t take a landlord’s allowance for paint for granted.

Invest in Your Own Tile and Backsplash
Flooring is one area where renters can feel limited in their options. Again, landlords tend to choose more conservative, muted flooring options to not scare away the average renter. This naturally leads to uninspired, tired floors that can drag down an otherwise satisfying floor plan. What most renters don’t realize is that rugs aren’t their only option.

Peel-and-stick tile flooring can be laid right on top of any existing flooring, and there are plenty of more affordable options that add color and style to rental properties. Likewise, temporary backsplashes are an underrated kitchen upgrade worth exploring. When stuck with something that doesn’t quite resonate with your style choices, cover it up with something that does!

Replace Your Hardware With Something Distinct
For this next move, all you need is a screwdriver and a place to store the old fixtures. Doorknobs, cabinet handles, and power outlets can all be easily exchanged for new options of your choice. Even lights and faucets could be switched out with the right know-how (though proceed with caution). Although some of these purchases can get pricey, the great thing is that all of these items can be packed up and reused at your next home.

As an extra note, electrical replacements can involve interacting with exposed wiring in some situations. Always err on the side of caution in these situations, and refer to the advice of an experienced electrician when possible. Lamps and adhesive, stick-on lights can do the trick of adding stylish lighting that these more direct replacements might have done.

Ready to make the move from renter to homeowner? It’s best to be informed before making a big purchase. Always be sure to order a home inspection with every home purchase - call NPI before you buy.

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