6 Ways to Renovate Your Apartment Without Breaking Your Lease

Whether you live in a tiny studio or a spacious apartment, sometimes you just want to make the space you live in your own. Unfortunately, being a renter can make you feel like you don’t have a say sometimes. After a while, those outdated countertops and flooring can make you feel like you literally want to smash it out and take it out of its misery. But the good news is #renters can actually personalize their spaces. Renters can make slight improvements to their apartments without breaking the lease or their budgets. I’d say that’s a sweet deal!

Before you get started with any renovations, talk to your landlord to get the ok on making certain improvements. Sometimes, the landlord will require you to reverse those changes before you move, and sometimes they won’t. The most important thing is to get clarity from your landlord before making any improvements. Without this approval, your landlord could fine you and keep your security deposit. So, prevention is key here. Check out some ways to #renovate below.

1. Color

Believe it or not, A coat of paint can completely transform a room. Color has a way of transforming a space when used creatively to draw attention or capturing a mood. For instance, neutral colors like off white, taupe, ivory or beige can give a room a more open feeling. Also, using a mixture of light and dark colors can make a room very distinct and intentional. Check out Sherwin-Williams to order color samples to get some inspiration. I like a color that can literally speak to me-I can hear it now “Come to me.”

2. Wall

If your landlord doesn’t agree with the paint idea or you don’t want to use something as seemingly permanent as paint, try wallpaper. Even if you can't paint, the color of whatever decorative elements you pick is important.

Check out Overstock for your wallpaper needs. The average costs are around $60-90 per roll, and it's best to buy two rolls whether you use both or not. Even if you end up returning the second roll, it's better to have it when you need it than need it and not be able to find the same pattern or color. Because this decoration strategy is usually a slow process, consider doing a small space or one wall in a larger space rather than an entire room.


Apartments that feel dimly lit might seem smaller than those with a lot of natural light. If lots of natural light isn't an option for you, try adding some light fixtures. As we know, light fixtures in rentals are usually economical. You can usually swap out these fixtures and replace them with something that’s more you. You can do things like add a chandelier, pendant light, lamps to brighten up the space and help it to feel more spacious and comfortable. Check out Wayfair for some inspiration.

Please remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and safety while also checking to see if you need a permit. Also observe applicable building and electrical codes and feel free to contact a licensed electrician if you have any doubts or questions about the connections, or if your home's wiring doesn't appear compatible with the changes you're making.

4. Flooring

This is absolutely something that will require landlord approval, since it requires structural changes to the apartment. Although, many landlords will not object since the new flooring can increase the value of the space. In some cases, a landlord will reimburse you for the work you put in and the expenses incurred during the project. New flooring can make an older apartment feel brand new, so it is definitely worth consideration.

Worst case scenario, the landlord says no, so another option is to invest in a beautiful rug or removable flooring to cover up the entire floor. Hardware stores like Home Depot sell click-and-lock bamboo flooring and carpet squares that you can lay down without gluing.

5. Countertops

One of the top complaints for apartment tenants is an outdated, dull kitchen. Since most landlords don't want to spend a lot of money on kitchen renovations, this can be an area in many apartments that is less than desirable. You can make some easy changes by replacing the knobs or repainting the cupboards (although this does need landlord approval). If the cupboards have stains, cover them with printed contact paper that reflects your style. You can also add adhesive hooks to the insides of cabinets to add more storage space, or add a removable shelving unit for food storage.

Also, several hardware stores and home décor places sell rolling kitchen islands or butcher’s blocks with no installation required. Check out these countertop sticks from Amazon.

6. Bathroom

I think everyone wants a bathroom where they can feel tranquil and relaxed. Unfortunately, many apartment bathrooms are overly utilitarian. Replacing the showerhead or knobs on the sink can make an outdated room look shiny and new. New toilet seats can also improve the look, and you don't usually need to ask the landlord before you complete this project. If you need more space to store towels, toiletries, and other necessities, you might want to add a shelving unit that can sit above the toilet without taking up too much space. A medicine cabinet can also add room to store medications and first-aid products. You can easily replace the basic showerhead with a wrench and some plumber’s tape. Check out Home Depot for your bathroom needs.

*As you can see, apartment living doesn't have to be problematic. By making a few simple changes, you can transform the space into the ideal area for you to enjoy your home, and most importantly, make it more YOU! Don’t forget to consult with your landlord first.*

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