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Rental Upgrades: 5 Easy Things You Can Do Today

Photo: Jonas Berg
Design: Stadshem

Rental apartments certainly come with their own set of challenges (like linoleum floors and compact floor plans). And while we can’t help you out with more square footage, we can let you in on some easy ways to improve your space.   

It doesn’t take a lot of time (or money) to really make an impact in your home, even if you’re renting. Whether you’ve got a bedroom that needs a boost or a kitchen in need of some care, there are simple solutions that can switch your space from run-of-the-mill rental to dreamy dwelling.

And with the holidays fast approaching, why not give yourself the gift of a rejuvenated rental home? It’s a gift that keeps on giving, no matter what time of year! Keep reading for our 5 tips on how to easily upgrade your rental, and get ready to get going!



When in doubt, go green! Plants instantly bring life to a space, and there’s enough variety to suit just about any level of light and design style. Whether it’s a towering potted tree or just a succulent on a side table, it’s a great way to bring the outdoors in. And in addition to being beautiful, living with plants has also been proven to make us healthier and happier!)


Don’t have a green thumb? No problem! We share other ways to incorporate the outdoors in How to Bring Nature into Your Space




Nothing can change the mood of a room more drastically than lighting. By replacing your existing light switches with dimmers, you can instantly alter the way a room looks and feels. The glow of soft, dimmed lighting (especially in the encroaching winter months) can also make you more calm and relaxed, as we pointed out in our post 5 Ways Your Home Can Make You Feel Better Right Now.


Love the idea of a dimmer but don’t have a clue how to install one? Check out this video to get you started. (It’s easier than you think!)

Photo: Jonas Berg
Design: Stadshem



Let’s face it, most rentals just don’t have great lighting. It’s usually standard, uninspired, and with not much personality. So why not change it out for something stylish that reflects your design style? You can change out pendants, flush mounts or wall sconces, or even install plug in versions for even easier upgrades.


Check out Lighting Upgrades: 36 Ways to Brighten Up a Rental for tons of great affordable lighting options for every room and style.



Don’t love the look of your kitchen cabinets but can’t paint or alter them because you’re renting? Try swapping out the hardware for something more your style. It will only take a few minutes of your time, and will actually have a big impact. Plus, when you move out you can just put the original hardware back and take the new knobs and pulls with you to your next place!


Check out our picks for stylish cabinet hardware in  8 Easy Ways To Update Your Kitchen Cabinets.



Wallpaper might seem like an impossible dream for a renter, but it’s actually totally possible thanks to temporary, peel and stick paper! It’s as simple as prepping your walls, peeling off the backing, and applying. And because it’s temporary, it can be removed easily with no residue. It’s a great way to bring color, pattern and personality to your rental, with none of the fuss or permanence of traditional wallpaper.


Looking for great temporary wallpaper? Look no further than Bobby’s Wallpaper Line with Tempaper. 


  1. Hi Bobby! Do you have any tips on how to style around that ugly brown high pile carpeting that so many apartments seem to have? What kind of a rug would work to cover the carpet and still allow you to put furniture on top of the rug? Suggestions on how to embrace it would also be appreciated!

    1. If you have a thick carpet that you are working with then I’d suggest using a flatweave rug on top of it so that you don’t add too much bulk, we have quite a few affordable options linked up in the shopping section:
      Good luck! xx -B

  2. I would love to read a full fledged article on the right lighting! And Also how to nail soft lighting but still have the room be bright enough. All the Love to Bobbers ❤️

  3. Hi Bobby!! My new office in my rental art studio is very long but shallow, 12 x 7(ish) and I’m at a loss how to pick colors for such a strange layout. I was thinking a navy accent wall and white floating shelves/trim but I keep reading dark colors dont work in small rooms. Do you have any tips on how to make a creative and whimsical space in a confined space?

    1. If the space gets lots of natural light, then a dark color could work well. It also depends on the height of the ceilings. If you have low ceilings, painting your walls darker and ceiling lighter will make them appear higher, and the room larger. I would steer clear of a dark accent wall is such a small room though. Hope that helps you out! xx -B

  4. Hi Bobby,
    I’m living in a rented space and my bedroom which is also my workspace has no sunlight. I often get up groggy to a pitch black room cause my windows are facing the inner parts of my condo. Is there anyway I can improve the lighting to make it feel like I’m waking up to sunlight/being productive with some fake sunlight on a budget? Since I’m renting, I’m not allowed to do any forms of drilling 🙁 Any suggestions would be of great help! Thanks Bobby! Love ya tons! xx

    1. I think the best idea is to get yourself a lamp that mimics sunlight. I love this option and have used it to help adjust to new timezones when traveling. All the best. xx -B