The Best Small Home Upgrades That Are Rental-Friendly

BY Kristen Fowler | Mon Sep 11, 2017
The Best Small Home Upgrades That Are Rental-Friendly

It can be frustrating when you’re not able to make changes in your home as a renter. If you want to make the space your own, but can’t paint or knock down any walls, consider these small home upgrades. They’ll change the look and feel of a room without any drastic construction or irreversible changes being made.

At the end of the day, you’ll spend a little, do a little—and get a lot.

Upgrade your lighting.

Lighting upgrades can quickly and easily change the appearance of a room as well as improve your energy bills. A new fixture can make a bold statement, completely changing the feel of a room. Don’t just replace your lamps. If you can screw hte lighting fixtures off the walls or ceilings, replace those two. A new overhead fixture in your kitchen will completely change the feel of the room.

If you’re changing lights, you might as well switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs. They last for 10,000 hours (versus 1,000 hours for a regular bulb), so energy costs dip to just $1.20 for 2 hours of daily usage, versus nearly $4 with standard bulbs, according to

Pull a room together with statement rugs.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a simple area rug. Statement rugs are cost effective small home upgrades and can change the look and feel of a room immediately—all without spending a fortune. “Area rugs have a unique way of bringing together all of the elements of a room – for example, they can pull together various colors used in the décor,” says Cheryl Simmons with The

An area rug also has the added benefit of protecting the original flooring or carpeting, which can help you get your security deposit back when it’s time to move out.

Replace your fireplace doors.

You’ve likely never thought about your fireplace doors before—for most people, they’re strictly utilitarian. But if you want to change the look and feel of your living room, replacing your fireplace doors can do the trick.

“Most people do not realize that a fireplace door now can be a wonderful decorative accessory to your overall room decor. The wide variety of frames and custom paint colors allow you to highlight any color scheme your room may have. No longer are you limited to area rugs and pillows to add that nice touch to your room,” say Sam Wilhoit, of Brick-Anew.

The cost for a new set of doors stats at $150, and you can choose clear or tinted glass, what style frame you want and more. Wilhoit suggests that tinted glass is a sleek option that also hides the ash and grime inside the fireplace.

Use temporary wallpaper to give your walls a facelift.

When most people think about installing wallpaper, images of days spent trying to steam old wallpaper off of a wall or getting your fingers stuck together with glue come to mind. That’s why temporary wallpaper is a perfect solution when you want the look of wallpaper but not all the work—or permanence.

It provides all of the beauty of traditional wallpaper with no commitment. It’s easy to install, easy to remove, and leaves no trace of the glue when removed. Most temporary wallpaper is peel and stick, and there’s a wide variety of patterns available, from traditional to contemporary. It’s also reusable, allowing you to move it as often as you want to keep things fresh.

Replace all the little things.

There are so many small details that determine the look and feel of a space. Luckily, you can make small home upgrades easily, for little money, and swap them back out when you leave. Add the following to your list, and replace as you can:

  • Door knobs
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Toilet seat
  • Toilet paper holders
  • Bathroom storage
  • Light switch plates
  • Curtains

You can turn an apartment from dreary to light and friendly with these small home upgrades. Let your personality shine through every inch of your apartment, and get your security deposit back when you’re done. In the end, you’ll create a space you love and your landlord will be none the wiser. They may even love the changes you’ve made and pay you to keep them for the new tenants!

Guest Author Bio: Jessica Thiefels is a freelance writer.

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