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Do You Rent? 7 Easy Ways to Update Your Space

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HellaWella
07.08.14

This post originally appeared on HellaWella, which takes the stuffiness out of the healthy lifestyle culture, and gives people tips on living healthy in the real world.

When you’re a renter, it’s pretty awesome to be able to call up the super and have anything in your place fixed for free! But rentals can have downsides, too, and they’re almost all aesthetic. Because of security deposits and landlord rules, it can be tough to fix up a home that’s only semi-yours.

Fear the landlord’s wrath no more! Try these 7 easy and inexpensive ways to deal with rental-grade anything:

Paint, Paint, Paint

Paint is easily the biggest bang for your decorating buck. Plus, it’s easy to “fix” – you simply need to paint the original color again! Tip: If your landlord’s a stickler, though, color-match the current hue and purchase that paint before you cover it up.

Deal with Questionable Counters

Granite may be all the rage right now, but once upon a time brightly hued Formica reigned supreme. There aren’t many reversible ways to cover up counters, but with your landlord’s permission, there are some cheap and easy compromises. Countertops can be painted, tiled, mosaic-ed or even covered with stainless steel. Tip: For a temporary solution, invest in large, butcher-block cutting boards to cover up as much of the offending surface as possible.

DIY a Backsplash

For a kitchen with an outdated or nonexistent backsplash, you can make a “portable” backsplash, which you’ll be able to pick up and move with you. For a grout-free alternative, try contact paper — yep, the stuff that’s used to line drawers! There are some stylish options available, such as beadboard or copper.

Add Shelves

Whether the closet simply won’t accommodate your shoe collection or the bathroom counter space isn’t cutting it, add shelves where you need them. This is one of those “Why didn’t I just do that sooner?” upgrades you’ll be glad you made.

Replace the Flooring

New floors don’t have to be crazy-expensive! If you can make a permanent change, your floors may be improved by cheap and easy adhesive vinyl tiles. For a bit more money, you can also lay down high-quality carpet squares, which you’ll be able to take with you when you leave.

Fix the Lighting

Good lighting can seriously improve the look of your space. Before you switch out any light fixtures, be sure to locate your breaker box and turn off the power. And hold on to the old fixtures to swap them back out when you move.

Accentuate the Positive

Chances are, there’s something about your rental unit that you love, or you wouldn’t live there. If the high ceilings make you smile, hang large, dramatic art extra-high to highlight them. If it’s the view that you moved for, frame the windows in low-key white sheers and enjoy the scenery.

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