Feeling stir-crazy and want to spruce up your space but can't because you're renting? We've all been there. It can be frustrating to feel like you can't make your own mark on your home, and while it may be tempting to expand a closet and knock down a wall or two, the sad reality is that unless you own the property, your options are limited. Luckily, there are clever ways to majorly upgrade your crib without totally ticking off your landlord.
And while I can't guarantee you'll get your entire security deposit back, it definitely won't be because of the following 30 tips.
1. Swap out your drawer pulls.
via: ShutterstockThink you can't do anything about the dated and drab kitchen in your rental property? Think again! One of the easiest ways to give kitchen drawers and cabinets a quick facelift is by swapping out the knobs and drawer pulls. This is a great way to show off your personality without having to spend a ton of money. Want a splash of color? Trade boring black knobs for bright orange or turquoise ones. Want something sleeker? Pick chrome or metallic pulls for a more sophisticated look. Just make sure to save the originals and change them back before you move.
2. Make a chalkboard paint wall.
3. Add some stick-on tiles.
via: ShutterstockIf the kitchen in your rental has horrendously ugly tile, weird, tacky wallpaper, or simply an absence of anything (aka, totally boring), stick-on tiles are a great option for creating a backsplash that won't break the bank (or your walls). They come in long sheets that can be cut to size so installation is basically fool-proof. And while there are tons of options on the market to choose from, it's always nice to bring a pop of brightness to your space with tiles that are different shades of the same color.
4. Paint an accent wall.
via: ShutterstockSure, you could paint an entire room the same color, but where's the fun in that? Accent walls are all the rage these days, and you're going to want to choose a bold color that will create the focal point of the room. But what color is best? Think about the space itself. Does it seem dark and drab? Pick a warm tone like salmon or tangerine. Want to make an art-deco statement? Choose a deep blue and add metallic gold accents.
5. PLANTS. PLANTS. PLANTS.
via: ShutterstockHere's a tip I heard about from an interior designer friend of mine that I've always taken to heart: If you're renting a small apartment, add as many plants as possible. Sure, it might sound counterproductive, but it will help to bring the outdoors in and make your space seem larger. High-quality plants can be expensive, so it's best to start with just one or two and grow your collection over time if you're strapped for cash. Pick low-maintenance options like a fiddle leaf fig or an asparagus fern if you don't have much of a green thumb.
6. Paint some polka-dots.
7. Get weird with Washi tape.
8. Wall decals add major wow-factor.
9. Get creative with curtains.
via: ShutterstockI once heard someone describe window treatments as "the eyelashes of a room" and haven't stopped thinking of it since. It's 100% accurate since a window without curtains just doesn't have the same allure and "finished" look as one that does. It turns out, adding curtains to your windows isn't as expensive as you might have assumed. You can find affordable options at places like Target and Amazon, and the various color and texture options allow you to customize your look to your exact style.
10. Switch out those switch plates.
11. Try out some tile tattoos.
12. Find a fun rug.
via: ShutterstockIt's crazy what a difference a rug can make to pull an entire room together. It not only adds personality to a living room or bedroom, but it can even make it look larger and add comfort to hardwood floors. Yes, area rugs can be expensive, but if you know where to look you can find some great deals. Places like The Home Depot and Lowes usually have basic rugs for under $200, and Ikea is a great place to look for rugs that are big on style with not-so-big pricetags.
13. String lights make everything cozier.
14. Score a new showerhead.
via: ShutterstockHere's a tip that most renters might be surprised by: You can switch out your showerhead even when you don't own a property. It's an incredibly easy upgrade to make, and you won't even need to recruit your handiest friend to help you do it. Just unscrew the old, clogged one and replace it with an oversized rain shower option that will turn your bathroom into a relaxing spa. Just don't forget to screw on the original one before you leave. Why let the new renters keep your fancy shower head?
15. Find smart storage solutions.
16. Make a DIY headboard.
17. Your shower curtain doesn't have to be boring.
18. Open up your space with a mirror.
via: ShutterstockI've stayed in some ridiculously small rentals in the past, so I know all too well how suffocating it can feel. Luckily, I discovered this tip when I was living in a 500-square-foot studio: Hang some mirrors on the walls. It's almost magical how much larger even just one mirror can make your apartment feel. Plus, mirrors are extremely trendy right now, especially circular ones with a simple wooden frame. This style goes well with a variety of home decor types and looks great in any room.
19. Make your outdoor space extra inviting.
via: ShutterstockSick of your rental property but can't figure out a way to change it? Head outdoors. If you have even a small outdoor space that you're allowed to use, take full advantage of it by creating an inviting atmosphere that you'll love spending time in. Add seating, an outdoor dining area, and plenty of lighting to make it as cozy as possible. I love how an outdoor rug makes a patio feel even more like a livable space. Ask your landlord before adding things like tiki torches or a fire pit to make sure they're allowed.
20. Give dated appliances a stainless steel makeover.
via: ShutterstockOne of the main complaints from renters about their kitchens tends to involve the appliances. Obviously you can't replace old, dated white or black refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves with stainless steel ones, but there is a way to give them a sleek upgrade. You can buy shiny silver decals that are designed to make any appliance look stainless steel, and it's as easy as peeling and sticking. I've told countless people about this trick and am always amazed when they send me their before and after shots.
21. Hang art the smart way.
via: ShutterstockSometimes, you move into an apartment or rental home that has awful wallpaper that you can't remove or wall color that you're not allowed to paint over. The solution? Find as much art as possible and cover the walls with it. This is another great way to show off your personality through your favorite pieces. If you don't want to spend the money on art prints, head to your favorite thrift stores and antique shops, which usually have an eclectic blend of artwork to choose from.
22. Add a room divider.
23. Add a luxe touch to countertops.
24. Replace your toilet seat.
via: ShutterstockOkay, I understand that this sounds a bit weird, but hear me out. When you rent a home, you're using the same toilet that who knows how many other people have used. Gross, right? And while you can't replace the whole toilet, you can swap out the seat. It takes about two minutes to unscrew an old seat and screw on a new one, so anyone can handle this upgrade. And toilet seats on average cost about 20 bucks, so any bank account can handle this upgrade, too.
25. Decorate that front door.
26. You don't have to be stuck with bad light fixtures.
via: ShutterstockWith so many nifty light fixtures on the market today, it can be frustrating to live in a rental property filled with basic and ugly ones. But I have some good news for you: You can change up your fixtures without sacrificing your deposit. The first step in upgrading your light fixtures is to thoroughly inspect your existing ones. Find out how they attach to the ceiling and choose new ones that can be easily unscrewed and replaced. Viola! It's as easy as that!
27. Can't install built-ins? Add shelves instead.
28. Easily upgrade your doorknobs.
via: ShutterstockDoorknobs are yet another part of your home that you probably don't think about unless they're especially awful. I once lived in a duplex that was nearly 100 years old and had doorknobs that were nearly falling out of the doors and getting looser every day. So what did I do? I replaced them. I found a ton of cool, vintage knobs at a used home renovation store and switched them all out so they fit perfectly. I made sure to bring them with me when I bought my house so I could install them in my new place.
29. Deep clean carpeting.
via: ShutterstockSometimes, when you move into a rental property with carpeting, it can be dingy, stained, and even a little bit smelly. And while you can't tear it up to see if there's any beautiful hardwood underneath, you can get it deep-cleaned. While deep-cleaning your carpeting can run you a few hundred dollars on average, the difference it makes is worth every penny. Be sure to check with your landlord before hiring anyone, though. They might even offer to cover the cost themselves!
30. Personalize as much as possible.
via: ShutterstockWhen you're a renter, it can be easy to feel detached from your home since it's not a permanent living situation. The good news is that you can combat this feeling by incorporating as much personal stuff into your decor as possible. Hang a gallery wall of family photos above the couch in your living room. Frame a piece of artwork you made as a kid and hang it in your kitchen. Anything that gives you a warm, homey feeling needs to be displayed. Just because you're renting it doesn't mean it's not your home!