20 Designer Ways to Upgrade Your Rental

Dying to upgrade your rental and still get your deposit back? Our expert tips will give you the style (and storage!) you're craving.
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Renter-Friendly Wallpaper

For some people, the thought of being surrounded by four off-white walls is simply unbearable. And for others, it's just plain boring. As removable wallpaper becomes more popular, the designs become more stylish and more affordable. It might just be time to pick out your perfect pattern!

Decor Disguise

You're certainly not going to change the electrical work in your rental, so you may be forced to live with some oddly-placed lights, light switches or power outlets. Carmel from Our Fifth House solved this problem by camouflaging a light switch within a tasteful gallery wall.

Glitz and Glam

Washi tape is great, but it certainly isn't the only tape out there that can make a big impact in your home. It only took Dina from Honey & Fitz two rolls of gold duct tape to turn a basic white fridge into a glitzy showstopper.

Love Your Lighting

One of the worst things about rental units has got to be the outdated light fixtures. Luckily, this is also one of the easiest switches. Simply swap out that light fixture for something more your style. Just be sure to reattach the original fixture before moving out.

Camo and Custom Shelving

Radiators are not attractive; it's as simple as that. But covering a radiator is not always so simple. Luckily, Marian from Miss Mustard Seed shares her beautiful solution. Her custom radiator cover not only disguises the unit, but it even adds extra storage in an often tight space.

Not Your Daughter's Washi Tape

Did you think washi tape was just for the kiddos? Think again. With so many attractive styles to choose from, you're bound to find a roll that suits your taste. These washi tape frames add a colorful touch to any space. Opt for cool geometric shapes to give your home even more personality.

Washi Accent Wall

A washi tape wall can be as colorful or as subdued as you like. Emily from Everything Emily created this stunning accent wall with just two rolls of black washi tape. The best part? She completed the project for less than $10.

Sneaky Stainless Makeover

Older appliances might work just fine, but that doesn't mean you should have to live with a dated design in your cooking space. Julie Blanner found an ideal solution in the form of stainless steel contact paper. For around $5, this change has the power to totally transform your kitchen. In fact, the landlord may even ask you to leave it up.

Living Decor

If you're hoping to add a homey feel to your rented space, simply adding a few plants around the house might do the trick. This fiddle leaf fig tree adds life and texture to the living room. And for an added bonus, plants help purify indoor air. (No more mystery smell from renters past.)

Gallery Wall Paper

If you can't wallpaper your rental, then why not try framing your favorite wallpaper instead? Marianne Canada from HGTV Crafternoon recommends getting a sample of your favorite print and displaying it in a gorgeous frame. Now you can have your wallpaper and your rental deposit, too!

Minimal Shelving

Do you secretly long for a wall of custom built-ins, knowing that your landlord would recoil at the thought? These industrial shelves from Fixer Upper offer plenty of shelf space and can be attached with just a few screws.

Shower in Luxury

One change that makes a huge difference, but is often overlooked, is the showerhead. This is one of those upgrades that is worth spending some extra dough. After all, when you're ready to move, simply reattach the old fixture and take yours to your new abode. Make barely-drizzling showerheads a thing of the past!

Boring Blinds Be Gone

Bland blinds have the power to make any room feel like a cheap motel. Even if you have to leave them up, patterned drapes layered on top can take your window treatments to a whole new level.

Separate in Style

If you can't paint the walls, changing the basic structure of the room is obviously out of the question. That's where room dividers come in handy. Create a home office or give the kids their own play space in a single bedroom.

An Easy Switch

A great way to add some personality to your rented space is to simply switch out those basic door knobs with some that suit your taste. Just make sure you switch back to the originals before you move out.

Rugs on Rugs on Rugs

Let's talk floors. Scratched hardwood and stained carpet are just the beginning. Before moving in, it never hurts to have the floors professionally cleaned. But if they still look like a mess, area rugs will be your new best friend. Place them over hardwood and even over carpet for a clean, updated look that is all you.

Electric Style

If you like the duct tape idea, you'll love this stylish door by Stacie from Stars for Street Lights. Some quick measuring, a steady hand and a bit of electrical tape totally transformed these contractor-grade doors. The result is nothing short of fabulous!

Fabric Feature Wall

While you've probably heard of removable wallpaper, removable fabric wallpaper is another great option for renters. It peels right off, and has the potential to add a ton of color, pattern and even texture to your home. Learn how to install it here.

Practical Pantry Additions

Another excellent idea for extra space is an over-the-door pantry unit. You can maximize the space on the back of the pantry door with only a few screws. Warning: Some landlords are more than fine with storage additions like this one, but you may be asked to leave it behind when you move.

Magic Mirror

Want more space instantly? Add a large mirror to any room, and the visual effect is bound to make your space feel bigger and brighter, all without knocking down a single wall.