Rental apartment improvements that actually make a difference

Have we ever told you we don’t live in perfect apartments?

You see, over the years, we both went through every imaginable stage of a home remodel – from quick fixes to entire home transformations. With a few too expensive temporary solutions and a lot of unnecessary purchases that, in the end, made no difference.

So either you live in a rental apartment, or you want to easily, and on a budget, fix up the one you own, stick around. Because we’re about to share with you home improvement ideas we know are good. The ones we tried and would do again. We’ll also include a few don’t-do-it/it-won’t-help remarks.

1. Fix your floor tiles

Imagine a floor covered with a random pattern of weird blue, grey and orange tiles in a hallway, kitchen and bathroom, in the apartment you’ve just bought. And, no, you don’t have the money to install new tiles. You imagined it, for some of us, it was a reality!

Fifteen years ago, the only affordable solution was linoleum, and that was a bummer. It was better than the tiles from the 70s – and they didn’t just look like they were from the 70s, they were literally installed at the beginning of that decade! But it wasn’t much better.

Today, the affordable solution is still linoleum, but without the bummer part. Have you seen the wonderful things people do with linoleum these days? And not just on the floor, but on furniture too!

algebra-kids-light-green-room-01
source: Atrafloor – Custom printed flooring, floor murals & bespoke vinyl flooring

Believe us when we say, linoleum is the new plywood!

So if you’re dealing with a similar tile situation, especially in an old apartment where all the effort of cleaning doesn’t even show, covering floor tiles is a great idea. It really makes the difference. You’ll have a new, warm floor that is easy to maintain, and you won’t ruin the existing one – which is important for rentals.

It’s an easy fix that can last for a decade – enough time to save up for gorgeous tiles and prepare for complete remodel!

But don’t DIY! The easy fix doesn’t mean you can do it yourself. Think of these type of improvements as if you were serving fruit plate for dessert. The only way to get away with it is to make it perfect.

2. Paint the furniture

This is a good one. From kitchen cabinets to chairs, bed frames, side tables and everything you could think of. Even doors and window frames!

But!

  • it’s not the best idea to paint anything you don’t own (because major fail is possible)
  • not all materials are suitable for painting (it is common sense)
  • don’t paint everything in the same colour, especially if you won’t get it done by a professional – it is easy to notice painted furniture and for some reason, having only the repainted furniture in your apartment looks weird (it is better to choose statement pieces)
  • painted dining chairs (any chairs for that matter) and kitchen cabinets are the best
  • don’t paint doors and windows by yourself (lesson learned the hard way)

3. Bring in the light

More lighting (daylight as well as interior lighting) is a to-do improvement, but good lighting fixtures are important apartment feature. It’s not even that hard to change the lighting fixtures (don’t DIY is unnecessary here, isn’t it J), and then to change them back (and take them with you) after you decide to move. Since the wires-left-visible is not just acceptable, but welcomed, you can place the pendant lamps wherever you want – check out this apartment on one of our favourite blogs My Scandinavian home.

Rental apartment | home improvement ideas

Also, curtains are something to think about. Replacing whatever you have with one-colour quality curtains is a good idea. Choose white or light grey if you feel like the apartment is too dark, or add a little dark mood with deep blue or green ones. Spreading it all over the wall instead just around the window is the simple way to paint the wall without actually painting.

BLACKHAUS Karol Cieplinski Architekt - Daniel Apartment
BLACKHAUS Karol Cieplinski Architekt – Daniel Apartment // photo: © Bartłomiej Senkowski

You can check out how the whole apartment looks over here.

And if there are walls in your apartment that are anything but white, talk to you landlords and get them on board for repainting. It’s really the easiest way to freshen up space. If the walls are white but you don’t like how that feels, maybe these posts can help:

4. Details sometimes make the difference

The power of knobs is amazing. Knobs are lipstick of the furniture. And it’s actually not too hard to find the ones that will match both the furniture and your style. Changing the knobs can transform the kitchen or a closet.

knobs_02

The other surprising thing is a soap dispenser in the bathroom. Just like the rest of the world, we are currently obsessing about amber glass soap dispensers (amber glass everything, to be precise) and usually it is not easy to convince us something like that can have any effect. But if you’re lucky enough to have an all white bathroom (or the one in neutral tones), pretty and functional little objects on your vanity are almost all you need to bring it to the next level.

Rental apartment | home improvement ideas

bathroom_01

And let’s not forget about bed linen. If you have a good bed linen, the bed frame is not even important. It’s really the only thing you need for a stylish bedroom. And maybe a nicely styled bedside table. Maybe.

But what about decoration? Well, don’t get crazy with it. The role of decoration is to attract attention to something (remember jewellery?). So placing it around the room you don’t like, on the furniture you don’t like, can be quite counterproductive.

In our opinion, a few meaningful photographs or prints are all you need to personalize the apartment. Quick tip: use the washi tape instead of the nails. Not only you won’t ruin the walls, but you’ll also be as hip as it gets.

Rental apartment | home improvement ideas

….

When it comes to a home remodel, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Little home improvements can unnoticeably add up to, maybe not a perfect, but an enjoyable apartment. And that’s really enough.
We know we sound like a broken record with this one but don’t forget to add plants, the more the merrier, they make the place feel like home.

Did you ever try an easy fix that turned out great? Or did you try a common suggestion you found on the internet, but it failed? We want to hear all about it! Leave us a comment with your experiences and tips. This post could use more than four ideas!

photos: © upgradesign

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