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6 Small Home Improvements You Can Make In a RentalMay 20th, 2016 by
Your home is your haven, regardless of whether you write a rent check or make a mortgage payment every month. Renting can feel temporary at times, though, and with restrictions imposed by your landlord or rental company, it can be tempting to forgo any attempts at decorating or making small home improvements. But these small details and upgrades make a rental home truly comfortable and a pleasure to live in, so keep reading for six easy home improvement projects and room decorating ideas that will help you put your personal stamp on your abode.
1. Replace drawer pulls
Small details can make a surprisingly large difference in the overall aesthetics of a room. Drawer pulls and cabinet handles, in particular, can make the difference between a kitchen from this century and one that is stuck in 1995. Select new pulls and handles that will match the existing holes in your cabinets, and the only tool you’ll need in order to make the switch is a screwdriver. Keep the old pulls and handles in a clearly labeled bag or box so you can replace them when your lease is up.
2. Switch to LED lightbulbs
With incandescent lightbulbs becoming more difficult to find, many people are choosing to replace them with more energy-efficient lighting options. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or CFLs, are a good alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs, but LED lightbulbs are even more energy efficient and will save you more money in the long run. As a bonus, LEDs typically last for well over a decade, so take them with you when you leave.
If you’re decorating on a budget, paint is one of the best options for sprucing up and personalizing a space. Check your lease or ask your landlord first, though. Like almost any improvement you make in a rental, the cost of the project will likely be on you, and your lease may stipulate the colors you can use. You could also be required to return any painted walls to their original color before you leave.
4. Add storage
While you probably won’t be able to add built-in shelving or other custom storage options in a rental, you can certainly get creative with the space that you do have. Adding removable shelving or racks to kitchen cabinets will double the amount of space you have for tableware and glassware. Use tension rods across doorways or in window frames to create space for hanging storage. Removable adhesive hooks can be used to keep coats and bags from piling up around the apartment or house.
5. Upgrade old plumbing fixtures
Replacing a faucet or shower head is not difficult, but a lot can go wrong if you aren’t prepared or if you don’t know what you’re doing. The shower head is easiest—just unscrew the old one and screw on the new one, following any installation instructions that came with it. There’s no need to shut off the water. When you replace a faucet, you will first need to shut off the water to the fixture at the supply valves. Disconnect the old faucet from the hot and cold supply lines, and then install the new faucet, making sure that the supply line connections are tight.
6. Swap out ugly light fixtures
The world of rental properties is filled with ugly and outdated light fixtures. As long as you are comfortable with the task and equipped with the necessary tools, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t replace a hideous overhead light with something more to your taste. Keep in mind, however, that electrical work can be deadly, and if your home or apartment building is older, you may run into some dangerous wiring situations. If you have any doubts about your abilities or the condition of the wiring, call an electrician and alert your landlord. No light fixture is worth your safety.
Renting a home or apartment does not mean that a small home makeover is off the table, but since the cardinal rule of renting is similar to that of outdoor enthusiasts—leave no trace—any improvements you make should be reversible. Store anything you remove from the house or apartment so that you can replace it before you move out. You’ll be able to take any fixtures or decorative elements you purchase with you, so buy what you love.