Quite often, living in a rental apartment can feel like living in a hotel room or even a friend’s spare room, simply because there are so many rules regarding how you can upgrade your rental apartment. 

All of these rules should be disclosed in the lease agreement, so please make sure to go over them before attempting any of the following upgrades to your new home. In case you’re unsure whether a particular upgrade is acceptable, you should contact your landlord and ask about it.

That being said, here are some of the best, landlord-friendly ideas that will help you upgrade your rental apartment:

Upgrade your rental apartment with these landlord-friendly ideas:

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 1. Walls: Adding temporary wallpapers can help revive a room and make it feel more like your home.

Using a few polka dot or triangle-cutouts of washi tape (which easily pulls up from the painted surface without leaving any residue behind) or vinyl can completely change a boring wall into a vibrant, eye-catching one.

Also, adding some art, posters, or pictures to your walls will definitely contribute to adding character to your place.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 2. Floors: Give the old, ugly floors in your kitchen, living room, and even your bedroom an entirely new look and feel with peel & stick floor tiles.

Since this will be your home for the next year or two, your should invest in brand of tiles known for high-quality material and ease of use; that way you get the amazing look you desire without damaging the floor. 

Moreover, adding a big, accent rug can improve the look of even the grossest floors without the extra time needed to apply sticky tiles. What’s more, you can always take your rug to your next rental apartment.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 3. Sofa: (for those of you renting a furnished apartment) The old, worn-out sofa can be improved dramatically and super quickly by adding over it a sofa cover (slipcover).

Using neutral colors that accent the background colors of the room, along with a few colorful throw pillows can give it that fresh, eye-catching look you see all over Pinterest.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 4. Lights and light switch covers: You can always change the bulbs and light switch covers in your rental apartment, but be sure to store the original ones somewhere safe so you can restore it back when your lease is up.

That being said, you’d be surprised at how much of a difference it makes in the overall essence of your home when you add brighter, higher-quality or custom bulbs along with custom light switch covers that compliment your room’s walls and furniture.

Adding a floor lamp or table lamp can also help you add more ambiance to your room, especially if you’re going for a more mellow type of vibe.

In the kitchen, you can get extra light by replacing the ordinary bulb with temporary LED lights under the over-the-counter cabinets.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 5. Kitchen: You can give your kitchen a whole new look by simply replacing its old knobs with newer, fancier ones.

In case this is not enough for you, you can also change the look of the cabinet doors by covering them with removable adhesive, contact paper in any color, texture, and style.

You can even go a step further and completely remove the cabinet doors (while still preserving them in a safe lace, along with the screws and other fastening pieces), line the shelves with contact paper in a bold color or pattern and display some awesome kitchenware on top of it all.

 6. Storage: You can easily get extra storage space by adding a few shelves in a beautiful pattern across your walls; if you’re not allowed to drill holes or if you simply don’t feel comfortable doing so, then adding a stand-alone clothing rack or even a slim armoire is another great option for you.

If you need even more space, you can invest in collapsable storage boxes (especially under-bed-storage-on-wheels). This method of adding additional storage space has been adopted by NYC renters since it was first introduced, and the selection of storage containers is only getting better.

If you’re in need of extra kitchen space, be sure to use the space on top of your fridge or above the kitchen cabinets for items your don’t use very often.

In the bathroom, if you have a pedestal sink but no drawers, you can get a custom organizer that will add storage and style. Many renters actually prefer having pedestal sinks in their bathrooms for this very reason.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

 7. Bathroom: Improve the walls and floors with high-quality peel & stick tiles that are easily removable.

This is a fast and cheap way to upgrade your bathroom in your rental apartment. What’s more, you’ll be able to customize it however you want, even tying it together with the rest of your home.

Your shower or glass door that covers the shower can easily be hidden with a fabulous fabric curtain on a tension rod.

Taking this step will allow you to change up the look of your bathroom whenever you please, in a very small amount of time. Even better, you can match your curtain with your bathmats and soap dispensers. 

Don’t forget, you can style your bathroom by simply adding decorative soap dispensers, laundry boxes and bins, as well as a few bright and colorful towels and bathroom mats; a fast and cheap way to brighten up any bathroom!

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment 8. Ambiance: Your home can actually feel refreshing by adding plants, small art decorations, and even a scented humidifier to compliment the upgrades listed above. 

Remember, the smallest details are what impresses people the most. Your family, friends and neighbors will be blown away each time they stop by!

Extra tips & advice for upgrading your rental apartment:

  • Before attempting any upgrade mentioned above, you should always start with thorough, top-to-bottom, deep cleaning of your home.


  • Remember, everything you remove from your rental apartment (like cabinet doors, knobs, or old drawers) should be preserved and stored in a safe place to prevent any damage. The last thing you want is to have to pay for something you didn’t like in the first place!


  • For those of you renting a furnished apartment, don’t fight what is already there. If your furniture is already a certain style, don’t try to completely change it. Instead, try to adjust it through small changes.
    By adjusting the smaller details, you can add your twist to just about anything and make it more your taste. You would be surprised at how the small things, like decorative items, plants, books and bookshelves can give your room a completely different look and feel.

Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

  • Temporary contact paper is your new best friend, as different types of it can help you improve your walls, kitchen cabinets, doors, and more.
    Be sure to get some from a trusted brand with a positive reputation as far as alit and selection.


  • Look into room dividers in case you need extra privacy or you want to organize your space in another way.



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