5 Rental Tweaks That’ll Feel (Almost) Better Than Therapy

published Sep 28, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

Rental homes often come with some less-than-ideal features. (Boob sconces. Teeny closet setups. Yellowed kitchen cabinets. Shall we go on?) And landlords don’t always make it easy to work around these quirks.

That said, with a little research and creativity, you can make rental upgrades that will totally improve your quality of life at home—just check out the ideas below.

Credit: Minette Hand

Add colorful touches—lots of them!

Renters Adrianne and Seth weren’t drawn to their kitchen’s modern bones, so they completely transformed their cooking space with the addition of wicker bar stools, a fun hanging basket, and the pegboards and brightly colored artwork you see on the wall. A pop of orange paint also packs a punch. (Just speak with your landlord before grabbing that paintbrush!)

Credit: Small Fry

Hang bold wallpaper

Removable wallpaper is everywhere these days—like in this bathroom makeover—and that’s for good reason. You can use it to add a ton of personality to a rental, and switch it up whenever you feel like it.

Design your own shelving

Brooklyn resident Becca Freeman worked with interior designer Emma Beryl and furniture maker Soil & Oak to create the magnificent reader’s paradise you see above in her rental. “I’d always wanted a wall of bookshelves but also wanted something that wouldn’t cover up the amazing brick wall behind it, so I had something custom designed,” Becca explains. “The piece is screwed into the wall, so it can easily be moved if and when I move on from this apartment. And, even if the exact configuration doesn’t work in a new space, the piece is fairly modular, so shelves can be rearranged or new ones added to break the piece apart into multiple units.”

Go to town with wall decals

Wish your kitchen featured swoon-worthy subway tile? You can totally make that happen. Wall decals can do wonders in transforming a space. And truly, doesn’t that tile look real?

Switch up your lighting

Tired of traditional table lamps but unable to replace your overhead fixtures? Hang Edison bulbs or other pendants from the ceiling for a sophisticated and customized effect.