There are so many ways renters can remodel and redecorate their homes. It’s all about showing off your personal style in ways that can be reverted back before move out day (without risking your security deposit).
Before you start planning any major renovations, there are a few questions you should ask your landlord regarding what you are and are not allowed to do. Keep in mind that some landlords are much stricter than others.
Here, we’ve listed some of our favourite ways to remodel and update rental spaces, covering a range of completion times and budgets. These rental renovation ideas are temporary and easily reversible, suitable for nearly any rental unit.
Use temporary wallpaper & contact paper to brighten up any room
You can make a huge impact in rentals of any size by making removable wallpaper and contact paper your best friend. These two home décor items are similar – a vinyl front and adhesive backing that sticks to surfaces and can be removed with heat – but with slightly different functions.
Removable wallpaper tends to be more adhesive and durable, so it’s better suited for creating an accent wall or to change the colour of an entire room. Contact paper is great for lining drawers, shelves, the back of cabinets, fridges and other appliances. If you have the time (and patience), try covering your entire kitchen counter with a sleek marble-like design to really change up the look of your home.
You can find removable wallpaper at many hardware stores and online retailers. Contact paper is even more abundant, with some dollar and discount stores carrying a variety of styles. Don’t be afraid to change things up, wallpaper is officially back in style.
Glam up your kitchen with peel-and-stick backsplash
Next up in the peel-and-stick rental renovation category is the kitchen backsplash. You can find beautiful vinyl backsplashes that look like classic subway or vintage tiles, marble, and more at stores such as Home Depot, Rona, or online at Amazon and Etsy.
These types of tiles can be used in both kitchens and bathrooms, and removal is as easy as it gets. For most products, all it takes is applying some heat with a hairdryer for a no-fuss removal. No matter which style of tile you choose, this simple upgrade will provide sophistication to even the blandest of kitchens, and it can be completed in an afternoon.
Add style and function with tension rods
Tension rods are a dream for renters. You can find them online and in most hardware stores in a variety of sizes and finishes, and they can be used in so many ways (without ever leaving a mark on your walls). Plus, they tend to be inexpensive and easy to install.
Use tension rods to hang soft, breezy drapes over a drab window. Put them up in your bathroom to hang a decorative cloth shower curtain and cover up an unsightly tub. Add them to a closet to increase functionality and storage space. You can even get creative with corner-specific tension rods and create a closet! Try leaving the rod bare and hang dresses or coats, or add a curtain to hide storage bins or your vacuum. You’ll find the versatility of these affordable and functional pieces extremely valuable.
Create a new room or storage area with furniture
If you have a slightly higher budget for your rental remodel, you can get creative with a few pieces of furniture and change up your layout.
Tuck cleaning supplies in a corner and surround them with a fold-away room divider, and voila! You have another closet. If you’re tired of your open concept layout, use a large bookcase to divide your living and dining areas. These both also give you the option of rearranging your furniture again down the road, so you can regularly freshen up and optimize the space.
Swap out hardware to add instant character to your most-used rooms
A quick and easy way to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom is by replacing the cabinet and drawer hardware, with two caveats. First, make sure you keep the old hardware so you can replace it before you move out. Second, make sure your new hardware uses the same holes, so there’s no drilling required.
With that out of the way, you can find the perfect knobs and pulls that suit your style. If you’re renovating on a budget, look at thrift stores or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for great deals and unique pieces. Just a simple swap from plastic hardware to metal or ceramic instantly adds character to your rental.
Remove cabinet and closet doors to get a modern, open and airy feel
This remodelling idea might be a bit more controversial than the rest, so depending on how strict your landlord is, it’s likely worth asking before making any changes. However, removing certain doors and cabinets can really add some life to a rental space.
If you don’t love your kitchen cupboards, remove the doors from the top cabinets, and add a bright contact paper to the inside shelves and back wall. This will give you a trendy, open-shelf space. To test things out, try this with just one or two cupboards instead of the entire kitchen to start. We recommend leaving the lower cabinets in-tact since they’re largely out of the sightline in most spaces.
You can try this same idea with other areas of your unit, such as closets or a pantry, depending on how much open shelving you want to see. No matter what you do, just be sure to store any removed doors in a very safe and secure area, as they can be very expensive to replace.
Whether you want to make a small space feel bigger or you’re simply tired of the standard beige walls surrounding you, there are many ways to remodel and decorate your rental space to make it feel cozy, inspiring and inviting, without risking your security deposit. All you need is a little bit of creativity and a few tools to make a space truly your own.