This TikToker Transformed Her Rental Kitchen Using Dollar Tree ItemsProjects & Improvements
You can add your own flair with just a few bucks and some patience.
Mar 6, 2023

Our Best Renter-Friendly Transformation Ideas

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B&A: This Dramatic Kitchen Redo is the Work of Creative, Budget-Savvy Renters
"As renters sometimes we feel powerless to improve our spaces," this apartment dweller says. She and her husband (and their landlord) came up with some quick fixes for this once-dated kitchen.
Jan 9, 2023
B&A: An Artist's Rental Redo Features Gorgeous IKEA Hacks and Much MoreTours
The best decorating advice artist Ben Cuevas ever received came from Amy Sedaris. "...[S]he says that she viewed her rental deposit as her design fee — which I think is just brilliant. If you’re renting, but plan to stay put for a while and want to really make your space your own, consider your deposit the fee you pay for being able to live in a space you truly love and can call your own."
Nov 8, 2022
Before and After: This Small Rental Apartment's Renovation Only Cost $3kTours
Tessa started Tessa Ariane Design, which focuses on affordable design work, in "response to how out of touch the interior design industry can be with what most folks actually need. We are all impacted by our environments, and I really believe we need to prioritize providing solutions for renters, folks in small spaces, and within realistic budgets that don’t leave anyone behind," she says.
Mar 9, 2022
B&A: A Designer's Oakland Rental Gets a Soothing Refresh for the New YearTours
When interior designer and artist Sophia E. Aguiñaga realized she'd be moving out of her Oakland rental apartment, she took the opportunity to pare down and refresh the home's style. She re-homed almost everything and used minimalism, ease, and traveling light as a style guide.
Jan 4, 2022
6 of the Best Rental-Friendly Makeovers We Saw in 2021 — Starting at Just $85Projects & Improvements
Let these creative redos inspire you to take a fresh look at your own rental.
Dec 19, 2021
B&A: A 300-Square-Foot Studio Has Tons of Smart Storage & Renter-Friendly IdeasTours
The only thing that came in Julie Gordon's rental studio apartment was a small stove, fridge, and three cabinets. But after some major TLC, a few great peel and stick finds, and lots of patience, she's turned this shoebox-sized into a cozy, beautiful, and organized home.
Dec 15, 2021
B&A: A $250 Project Adds Character and Elegance to a Plain Dining Room
This renter wanted to add some detail to her dining area, but there wasn't enough space for a buffet or other table, and, as a renter, she couldn't find any removable wallpaper she loved.
Oct 4, 2021
10 of the Best Renter-Friendly Home Transformations We've Ever SeenProjects & Improvements
These redos are proof that you don't have to own to make your place feel like home.
Oct 4, 2021
Before and After: An Ingenious Fix for Ugly Rental Bathroom TilesProjects & Improvements
It looks great and costs very little.
Sep 30, 2021
B&A: A 500-Square-Foot Rental's Budget Redo Includes a Now Unrecognizable EntryTours
It's not just the entryway (which was turned into a cozy and much more functional spot) that got a refresh... every room was updated without breaking the bank.
Sep 1, 2021
B&A: A Small Harlem Rental Transformed a Surprising Spot into a Home OfficeTours
Adam worked with Kim White to design this 715-square-foot rental apartment that came with a unique element: a small platform bed area that instead got transformed into a perfect home office.
Aug 16, 2021
B&A: A 1920s Bungalow Gets a Groovy, Earthy Update Fit for a Family of 3Tours
Musicians Jacki and Jacob Warren-Bullard, of the band Major Murphy, helped refresh this 1920s rental bungalow in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's full of renter-friendly ideas and inspiration.
Apr 7, 2021
This Renter Refreshed a Bland Apartment With Terrific (Temporary) UpdatesTours
This renter was able to refresh her apartment with DIY updates that were all temporary and very cost effective.
Dec 15, 2020
B&A: A Dull Dorm Apartment's Remarkable Makeover Cost Less Than $1000Tours
This utilitarian dorm apartment was transformed entirely into a cozy home... without making any permanent changes AND spending as little money as possible. It's PACKED with DIY ideas!
Aug 17, 2020
Can We Make Over This Rental Bathroom for Less than $500?Projects & Improvements
Erika’s young and doesn’t spend an arm and a leg on rent. Sure, her bathroom is functional, but all those shades of off-white are a style travesty that could make even the most stalwart of tenants cry beige tears. It’s a rental, so nobody wants to go nuts and spend a lot of money to renovate it, but Erika wanted something a little more fun and befitting her age. So, the goal is to give her an entirely new, bright, amazing bathroom for $500. Think we can do it?
Jul 16, 2020
Before & After: Washi Switch PlatesProjects & Improvements
Light switch plates aren’t something I give much thought to. Until I see a really cute one. Mari, who blogs at Crab + Fish, used washi tape (the craft material du jour) to transform plain light switch plates in her home. It’s simple, cheap and super renter-friendly.As you can see, she didn’t just do one or two switch plates, she liked the look so much that she kind of just kept on going.
Mar 11, 2020
B&A: A Dated Powder Room Makeover Is Fantastic and Full of Ideas for RentersTours
The powder room of a young downtown Toronto family got a colorful floral makeover.
Nov 7, 2019
Before & After: A Boring, Bland Rental Apartment’s $20 (and Temporary!) Fireplace FixTours
Caroline made a small, affordable (only $20!) and gorgeous update that elevates her fireplace, complements the rest of her decor, and adds a touch of elegance to the entire home.
Sep 13, 2019
Before & After: How One Renter Upgraded Her Basic Bungalow With Easy DIYsTours
Just some of the renter-friendly upgrades to this rental bungalow are a new pendant lamp for the dining room, removable wallpaper in the bathroom, and faux grass in the back patio.
Aug 23, 2019
Before & After: Create a ‘Bedroom’ in a Studio Apartment with Ikea PanelsProjects & Improvements
What do you do when you’re living in a small studio apartment, but don’t want people to be able to see your bed immediately upon walking in the door? Apartment Therapy reader Christina was faced with this particular dilemma when designing her friend Ann’s apartment and decided to get creative.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: A Rental Gets Color in the Living Room Without PaintingProjects & Improvements
How do you add color to a rental without painting? That was the challenge this client posed to Lisa of Olive Juice Designs. She responded by creating an inviting living room, perfect for entertaining, without pulling out a single paintbrush. From Lisa: A single apartment dweller in San Francisco contacted me to help her with her living room. She admitted that her apartment was lacking in many areas, and she was embarrassed to have friends over.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Rental’s Dirty Carpeted Stairs Get a Welcome ChangeProjects & Improvements
This week Camille is sharing her real life rental challenge and how she transformed her dingy carpeted entryway stairs (with her landlord’s permission!) into something more welcoming, yet still temporary. If you want to start by hearing all the plans, check out the before photos here. Updating an old home is filled with challenges.
May 3, 2019
A Beige Rental Bathroom Gets a Major Boost on a BudgetProjects & Improvements
My friend Joseph has a beige bathroom and asked me to come over and help him do something — anything — to make it better and I jumped at the chance. Because one less beige bathroom in the world is no bad thing. He’s a renter, so it couldn’t cost a lot, and everything needed to be 100% temporary. (You know those pesky security deposits and how they don’t get returned when you make permanent changes.
May 3, 2019
A 100% Reversible Rental Bathroom Makeover For Under $500Projects & Improvements
Joseph's bathroom had some decent bones, but needed a light and renter-friendly makeover. See what we did...
May 3, 2019
Seriously Smart Rental Upgrades We Loved in 2017Projects & Improvements
Bland rental kitchens and bathrooms are about as common as noisy upstairs neighbors, but at least you can make small temporary fixes to transform your space. Take some serious inspiration from these clever renters, who invested a little bit of time and very little money to make changes they could live with, then reverse when they moved out. This awkward bathroom — with a seashell-shaped sink — got a weekend facelift that only cost $350 (also lead image above).
May 3, 2019
Before and After: This Small Balcony Was Turned into a $700 Second Living RoomPlants & Yard
When you live with four other people, you might need to escape the close quarters from time to time.
May 3, 2019
Before and After: This Rental Galley Kitchen Gets a Total Transformation for Just $400Projects & Improvements
This yellow and brown cooking area felt outdated and not aesthetically pleasing to tenant Gabrielle Delaney and her boyfriend Dan Scura, who share a one-bedroom apartment in New York. Although they are renters and therefore limited with what changes they can make, this didn’t stop Delaney from transforming the kitchen that made her “unhappy.
May 3, 2019
Before and After: This $350 Kitchen Redo Is Filled with Smart Rental TricksProjects & Improvements
You know the drill: Any improvements made to this rental kitchen needed to be affordable and reversible, so that the renter could get the security deposit back. With just $500 in upgrades and some very clever re-styling, this kitchen now looks like a million bucks. I was all ready to gush over this ridiculously adorable wallpaper, when I realized that it’s not wallpaper: It’s renter-friendly removable decals.
Oct 18, 2018
Before and After: A Clever $400 Upgrade for Rental Bathroom TilesProjects & Improvements
In today’s Before & After, a Berlin guest bath gets a six-hour, $400, low-key upgrade that’s sure to inspire even the least DIY-inclined among us. Here’s a hint: If you can operate a sticker, you can handle this project. Before we ooh and aah, let me just say that the bathroom is already pretty nice. It’s black and white, which is a great palette for a rental bathroom, and I love that little black stripe.
Sep 9, 2018
Before and After: This Son Gave His Dad’s Rental Kitchen A No-Reno MakeoverProjects & Improvements
This kitchen was very nice—great cabinets, pretty paint, sleek black countertops, fantastic wood floors—but even very nice can use a little boost now and then. Peel-and-stick tiles to the rescue, for a polished, personal, and renter-friendly update. This looks so great! The mini subway tile from Home Depot is delightful, plus the color works well with the new appliances and looks amazing with the orange sink.
May 25, 2018
Before and After: A Bold $230 Rental Bathroom RedoProjects & Improvements
This rental powder room has bright white walls, interesting art, enviable jewelry displays, and very nice fixtures, but there’s just something missing. What could it be? STRIPES! The answer is stripes. This bathroom is now so bold and glamorous. I love the way the wallpaper highlights the interesting ceiling, and the way the lampshade echoes the shape of the skirt in the illustration.
Apr 11, 2018
Before and After: This $200 Peel-N-Stick Kitchen Redo is All Sorts of AmazingProjects & Improvements
This project has so much going for it: it was done for less than $200! It was done in a rental! It features faux DIY granite countertops and a covetable KitchenAid! (Mixer obviously not included in the $200 total.) Click through and get dangerously inspired. I love this! The pink + celadon + white + gold combination is comfortingly and charmingly vintage, but the clean lines of the cabinet doors, handles, and subway tiles keep things modern.
Mar 5, 2018
Before & After: A Subtle Yet Significant Bathroom UpgradeProjects & Improvements
About $100 can make a huge difference.
Nov 28, 2017
Real Life Rental Challenge: A Genius Update For A Bad ’80s Bathroom LightProjects & Improvements
There’s nothing worse than those builder grade vanity strips in bathrooms, the ones that absolutely scream “HI, I’M CHROME AND WAS SENT FROM THE ’80s TO DATE YOU!!” As a renter your options are limited, but I came up with a smart way to deal with these common eyesores. Instead of swapping it out with a new light fixture, I decided to instead embrace the challenge and work with what I had. I couldn’t paint it, because that was permanent.
Nov 9, 2017
Before & After: A Blank 250 Square Foot Space Becomes a Cozy HomeProjects & Improvements
"Every piece in my apartment has a double purpose."
Sep 12, 2017
Before & After: A Bland Rental Kitchen Gets a Personality-Packed UpgradeProjects & Improvements
Vi’s garden apartment came with a standard, if somewhat underwhelming kitchen. After getting their landlord’s blessing, they painted over the yellow cabinets that were giving the space a somewhat grimy patina and called in the help of one of our favorite renter friendly products…peel and stick tiles. From Vi: When we first rented this Brooklyn garden apartment, I absolutely was dreading the kitchen. It was dark and dull.
Aug 29, 2017
A Boring Rental Bathroom Gets a Totally Reversible MakeoverProjects & Improvements
Ladies and gentlemen, here is what my boring bathroom looked like up until the other day. I’ve lived in my rental for just over two years, and this place looked the same as it did the day I moved in (with the addition of some hand soap, my toothbrush and a toilet paper roll) for far too long. Is it completely offensive? Nah, it’s pretty passable, but boy was it dull.
Aug 15, 2017
It’s About Time: After 3 Years of Beige, My Bland Rental Bathroom Gets a RefreshProjects & Improvements
I have lived on my own for the last six years, slowly but surely acquiring furniture, art and decor that I really liked, which of course means that along the way, there were empty corners (and rooms) waiting to be filled. Finally, though, my apartment—which I’ve lived in for two years—has gotten to a place where I didn’t wonder if visitors thought I had just moved in. The guest bedroom has curtains (which I sewed and I’m quite proud of!
Aug 14, 2017
Before & After: An Eyesore of a Closet Gets a Whole New LookProjects & Improvements
A tale as old as time: you move into a new space and have to live with the questionable design choices of the previous tenants. Medina inherited a built-in closet/ wardrobe that left more than a lot to be desired. She got rid of the ugliest aspect almost immediately and tried to make do, but eventually enough was simply enough and she gave the closet an easy and affordable DIY makeover. From Medina: The before is a picture of a built in wardrobe in our bedroom.
Aug 7, 2017
Before & After: Embracing Minimalism in a Tiny BedroomProjects & Improvements
Susan’s teeny-tiny rental room didn’t offer much in the way of space or storage, but it did have a window to some of San Francisco’s charms. With some carefully calculated minimilasim, Susan was able to turn the room into a peaceful space, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. From Susan: I moved to San Francisco with a couple of suitcases and found a room that barely fit a bed and didn’t have a closet.
Jun 18, 2017
Before & After: A Rental Living Room Goes GlamProjects & Improvements
Chelsey’s living room was far from awful but it was missing the things that make a space feel like a home. Building on the glam that was already there, she created a space full of metallics, rich textures and one jazzy feature wall. From Chelsey: Plain-old boring! There was literally NO life in my old living room. From the bare colors, to the lack of decor, it was just a hot mess. I didn’t just want to have an apartment, I wanted to have a home.
Jun 8, 2017
Before & After: A Glammed Up, Totally Temporary Rental Kitchen UpgradeProjects & Improvements
Raise your hand if you’ve ever lived in a rental. Now raise your hand if you’ve ever lived in a rental with a lackluster kitchen. Underwhelming rental kitchens are about as common as noisy upstairs neighbors, but at least you can make small temporary fixes to brighten up your cooking space (if somebody makes peel-and-stick ‘quiet down and be considerate of others’ please let us know immediately).
May 9, 2017
Before & After: Bathroom Beadboard on a BudgetProjects & Improvements
We’ve seen Ariel work her renter friendly design magic before, and now she’s turned her energy toward the bathroom. In one weekend she added color, texture and style without sacrificing her security deposit. Check it out! From Amber: That folks, is what it looks like when bad spaces and poor planning happen to good people. As you can see, not terrible, but nothing that I’d call “Pinterest worthy.
May 2, 2017
Before & After: A Room With a View (and Some Unsightly Cabinets)Projects & Improvements
Lizzie’s upstairs bedroom came with a great view and some not so great cabinets. She’s a renter, so removing them was out of the question, but she found a creative way to make the space work for her. From Lizzie: We had two slightly tatty built-in cabinets either side of a Velux window. They didn’t look great, and the space in the middle was wasted. It became a catch-all for junk. Because the home is rented, though, we couldn’t make any permanent changes.
Apr 15, 2017
Before & After: A Basic Brooklyn Kitchen Goes MediterraneanProjects & Improvements
Fani’s Brooklyn kitchen looked like many a New York rental kitchen, small and kind of generic. One day she had enough of her brown kitchen and decided to take matters into her own hands, bringing color, texture and life to her Park Slope space. From Fani: My small Brooklyn kitchen had outdated old cabinets with lots of wear and tear. The style and color of the cabinets didn’t match the mid-century modern style of the apartment.
Apr 12, 2017