5 Ways to Instantly Modernize an Old & Dated Apartment

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Your apartment. It’s not quite a dream home. The floors are terrible and the kitchen is in need of an overhaul. Your rental might not be Mr. Right, but it is Mr. Right Now. If the place you call home feels a little dated, here are some easy ways to modernize your apartment.

While a full remodel is out of the question due to your rental status, each of these low-touch and high-impact cosmetic projects should be OK by your rental agreement–and easily reversed when it’s time to move out.

Install a new faucet.

Fresh hardware for the sink is like eye cream for a kitchen or bathroom–it’ll make the whole thing look 10 years younger, at least.

Change out light fixtures.

The bathroom is a huge offender for terrible rental lighting. It’s easy to learn how to replace a fixture in the bathroom, or anywhere else in the space, with a brand new one that’s just your taste.

Replace the cabinet pulls & knobs.

Unscrew what you’ve got, secure them into a few ziplock baggies, and take them to the hardware store in search of new knobs to modernize your cabinetry. A cheap collection of sleek and modern drawer pulls can do wonders for many different styles of outdated cabinets.

Cover up the floor & tile.

For floors, that might mean a big ol’ area rug (or a patchwork of them), or maybe an array of carpet tile, or you could try roll-out vinyl floors with removable adhesive. As for the tile on the walls–in the bathroom or part of a kitchen backsplash–those can get a makeover with this peel and stick solution.

Change up the window coverings.

If you can safely remove your mini blinds, do it (many of them will just pop out from the fasteners at the end). Otherwise, just leave the blinds all the way open (so they visually disappear) and hang your own curtains or window shades.