Making changes to a temporary space is a gamble. On one hand, you want to live in an apartment that feels comfortable and personalized. On the other hand, you don’t want to invest money into a short-term living situation.
Because you don’t own your apartment, you might feel that you can’t make functional and decorational changes to your temporary living space. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to trade blank walls for vibrant ones and give outdated cabinets a fresh new look, all without incurring the wrath of your landlord.
Here are 20 ridiculously easy ways to customize your rented apartment without losing your security deposit.
1. Temporary Wallpaper. Decorate an accent wall or an entire room with temporary wallpaper. It comes in a variety of designs, is self-adhesive and can be easily removed when your lease is up.
2. Instant Granite. Hideous countertops? Much like temporary wallpaper, instant granite is an adhesive material that will make your kitchen counter look luxurious.
3. Invest in Lighting. Most apartments feature uninspiring overhead lighting or worse, not enough lighting. Buying a stylish floor lamp or two is an investment that will make your apartment feel less institutional and more homey.
4. Washi Tape. What can’t washi tape do? Use it to create custom, temporary designs on doors, smaller walls and any other area that could use a creative touch.
5. Water Softener. The hard water that apartment dwellers so often shower with can wreak havoc on hair and skin. If you’ve always thought that water softeners required invasive installation, you’ll be happy to know that an option exists that simply attaches to your showerhead.
6. Tension Rods. If you’re looking to minimize the amount of holes in your walls, tension rods can be a surprisingly versatile fix. You can use them to hang curtains on open closets, above windows or to cover up spaces where clutter lives.
7. Temporary Backsplash. Most apartment rentals aren’t known for modern, aesthetically pleasing kitchens. If your kitchen is the dullest part of your living space, brighten it up with a temporary backsplash.
8. Faux Brick Wall. Get the trendy look of a Brooklyn loft by turning a wall of your apartment into exposed brick. Temporary brick, wood, metal, stone and bamboo options are available.
9. Vinyl Floor Cloths. This is one of those modifications that is such a no-brainer, you’ll be surprised you’ve never heard of it. Like a rug, but thicker and for your kitchen, vinyl floor cloths allow you to cover ugly hard floors with something prettier.
10. Mirrors. Never underestimate the power of mirrors. A few well placed hanging or standing mirrors can make a small apartment look bright, open and bigger.
11. Vinyl Wall Decals. Forget about the vinyl wall decals of your high school bedroom. Today’s modern decals are gallery-worthy and totally temporary.
12. Accent Wall. Not all landlords forbid painting. Some allow it but require you to repaint upon moving out. To make this process easier, consider painting just one accent wall. It’s less costly, less of a hassle and can still add a lot of personality to your living space.
13. Colorful Pieces. If you’ve got to stick with those boring white walls, add a pop of color to your apartment with bright curtains, a colorful statement piece of furniture or a bold rug. No worries if your existing furniture is all neutral colors. You can still use vibrant throw pillows and blankets to create the same effect.
14. Flameless Candles. Use remote controlled flameless candles to create a soothing glow in your apartment—without burning the place down.
16. Freestanding Headboard. Avoid wall-mounted furniture and you’ll avoid losing your security deposit. Choose a freestanding headboard to give your bedroom that fancy hotel look.
17. Change Knobs. Find a few knobs or handles that you love and change out existing ones on cabinets. Just remember to keep the old ones so you can pop them back in when you move out.
18. Paint Samples. Check out this crazy-impressive wall art made with paint samples and then head down to your local Home Depot and get inspired.
19. Command Strips. Forget about finding the stud in your wall or hammering a nail into a pristine surface. Command Strips are a game changer.
20. Self Storage. Nothing kills an apartment’s vibe like clutter. Find your perfect storage unit and banish it for good.