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Before & After: This Renter-Friendly DIY Added a Personal Touch for Only $43

updated Aug 8, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Peter J Lindsey; Stylist: Danielle Wood

Do you love checking out photos of home makeovers — but feel overwhelmed by the idea of actually doing them? In our DIY Makeover Issue, we offer project inspiration, instruction, and helpful tips and hacks for every DIYer, no matter your skill level or budget. We can’t wait to see what you create with your new skill set — find it all here.

When you’re a renter, it can be challenging to make your home a true expression of yourself. But Cyn Moreno has a knack for adding personality to any home. She created a bright and utterly distinct apartment by focusing on DIYs that add individuality to her Los Angeles rental — without putting her security deposit at risk. And she teaches others how to do the same.

“If you’re an apartment dweller, you have so many limitations on what you can do,” Cyn says. “I was a set decorator for eleven years, so when I started DIY-ing things, I just took my knowledge of working on set, because no set is permanent. It changed everything.”

We tagged along as Cyn tackled her latest project: a picture rail for displaying artwork and photographs inspired by her family’s Cuban heritage. She got everything she needed with the help of the new Ford Maverick™, the first standard hybrid truck built for city living — and city doing. With its FLEXBED™ — a versatile storage and hauling space — and a sporty profile, the Maverick™ has room for all your DIY supplies, while still being slim enough to parallel park on a busy street.

Cyn’s plan? Mount crown molding to her wall, then use decorative hooks and a combo of thin chain and key rings (!) to hang her artwork. The result is a gallery wall that’s fully adjustable, meaning she can easily move and swap pieces without putting more holes in the wall. It’s just the kind of renter-friendly project Cyn loves, and at $7 for the molding, $6 for the hanging clips, $25 for the chain, and $5 for the key rings, the whole installation only cost $43!

Credit: Photo: Peter J Lindsey; Stylist: Danielle Wood

Although Cyn does two or three apartment DIYs per month, this one has extra special significance. When Cyn’s grandparents passed away last year, she set an intention to decorate with more family photographs and other reminders of her Cuban lineage. “I realized there wasn’t enough of that in my home,” she says. “I wanted to create a space where I could celebrate where my family comes from.”

This picture rail also has one of Cyn’s favorite qualities in a DIY: It can move with her. When you’re looking to liven up a rental, “there are so many options other than just adding a coat of paint,” Cyn says. Adding a picture rail or upgrading your light fixtures and hardware makes a big impact without permanently altering your space. “When you move out, you can just take your pieces with you.”

Credit: Photo: Peter J Lindsey; Stylist: Danielle Wood

From building renter-friendly home projects to toting them to your next abode, the Ford Maverick™ is an urban DIYer’s dream. The unique FLEXBED™ system can handle any project, with segmented storage, false floors, 10 tie downs, and a create-your-own bike rack — there are even vertical and horizontal slots for wood boards! The two 110V outlets also let you charge your phone or fire up your jigsaw and get to work on your next vision.