Easy (and Reversible) Renovations
for a Rented Home

Renting a home is great for the low-commitment and flexibility it brings...

How to...
Kelly Weimert
July 8, 2017


…but for those with the interior design itch who are eager to customise and personalise everything about their home, it can certainly feel a bit limiting.

But when we say “a bit,” we really mean it. While it’s true that you typically can’t do a complete renovation on a rented space without having a very angry landlord on your hands, you still have plenty of options when it comes to customisations—you just have to know where to look.

From painting your walls to updating your lighting to installing cabinetry upgrades, there are a ton of rented style renovations you can take advantage of to make your home happier without upsetting your landlord. And the best part? Most of them also happen to be very affordable.


1. Swap out light fixtures

Image via lonny.com


Nothing weighs down a design quite like bad lighting. And as most long-time renters know, often the lighting of a rented home is not as great as it could be. Fortunately, that’s incredibly easy to change.

If you’re currently working with a dated chandelier, replace it with a chic pendant light or two. Or, if you have a dull overhead light fixture, consider incorporating a modern, geometric chandelier.

These changes will make a huge difference on your overall aesthetic and they’re incredibly easy to replace when it comes time to move out.


2. Paint your walls

Image via Kelly Martin Interiors


A lot of people renting don’t realise that most landlords and property managers are completely fine with you painting the walls as long as you’re willing to paint them back to the colour they were initially before moving day rolls around.

You can go with a bright statement wall for an energising pop of personality, or you can paint all of the walls in a pretty and inviting neutral of your choosing.

In fact, you can even add wallpaper—these days there’s an abundance of beautiful removable wallpaper that can be put up and taken back down without damaging the wall itself.


3. Install additional shelving

Image via Curated Interior


Shelving provides more than extra surface area and additional storage options; it also has the capacity to completely transform the look of your space.

Whether you add a full wall of open shelving or incorporate a smattering of floating shelves here and there, these additions give you the opportunity to showcase your favourite items and infuse your home with more of your unique personality and style sensibility.


4. Add new hardware

Image via Inside Out


This might be the cheapest and easiest renovation you have at your disposal, and it can work miracles when it comes to polishing and customising your look.

From your kitchen cabinets to your bathroom cupboards to any towel racks on the wall, there are a ton of hardware substitutions you can make that will upgrade your whole look and give the impression of a complete renovation for very little cost, time, and energy from you.


5. Replace old linoleum

Image via boligmagasinet.dk


Little is worse than old, warped linoleum. It can really cramp the style of your entire space and set a dated and dingy tone. If you’re facing this problem, consider swapping out your old stuff for new linoleum. It’s actually quite cheap and easy to replace, and truly makes a world of difference on your aesthetic.

That said, you should keep in mind that this one is not guaranteed to be okay with your landlord, so you definitely want to check first; however, it’s a safe bet that most will welcome the modern update, and some might even reimburse you.


6. Install a new medicine cabinet

Image via maximumnz.com


Your medicine cabinet is the centerpiece of your bathroom and therefore sets the tone for the entire space, so if you have one that leaves much to be desired and it’s not fixed to the wall, you can give the room a major upgrade by replacing it.

From a bold piece designed to make a big statement to something chic, simple, and subdued, there are no shortage of options on the style front. And all you have to do is unscrew your old one and tuck it away in storage until it’s time to move on to a new place.


7. Coat your cabinets

Image via @homebymanda


Just as most landlords will let you paint the walls, many are okay with you painting the cabinets as well. So, if you’re currently working with a dated shade of yellow or an unattractive wood finish, this is a great way to change things up.

If you know you don’t like what you currently have but are at a loss for ideas, consider jumping on board with the black kitchen trend that’s become so popular in recent months. Equally chic and surprising, it’s bursting with transformative power.


8. Change your window treatments

Image via The Design Chaser


Unfortunately, a lot of rentals come with cheap, dated, and aesthetically displeasing blinds or curtains. Fortunately, they’re a breeze to change and will make a monumental difference when they do.

Whether you go with roman blinds, add sheer and breezy linens, or opt for dramatic, floor-length curtains, your home will instantly feel more polished and personalised without leaving a permanent impression on your rental.


Kelly Weimert

Kelly Weimert

Kelly is a happy hybrid of geek and hippie with a penchant for all things DIY. A full-time freelance writer, when she's not nestled into her couch crankin' out crafty prose with her miscreant Chihuahua, you can find her frolicking outside to keep her sanity in check.