10 DIY Ways Renters Can Remake Their Space

Life as a renter is a mix of pros and cons. While you don't have to fix the leaky faucet yourself, you don't have the option to change it either. Sure, you have less responsibility, but you have less control as well. Whether you just want to put your own stamp on your living space or are a certified home improvement junkie, DIY projects in a rental can be tricky. Most landlords won't allow you to make any changes, structural or decorative, to your apartment. And you certainly don't want to invest good money in a space you don't own. So, what's a DIYer to do? Here are 10 not-so-permanent solutions that will make your rental feel more like "your" home.

Cover It Up

Peel and Stick Floor Tiles

Although you can't replace the kitchen or bathroom floor in a rental, you can cover it up. Rugs are a logical option, but so too are carpet squares and vinyl tiles that you can install with double-sided tape. There is also the option of peel-and-tiles like those shown in this dramatic kitchen floor makeover. They're a cinch to work with and remove when it's time to leave.  


Build a Bookcase

Repuposed Crate Bookshelf

Hanging shelves on the wall in a rental is generally a no-no, but you can buy—or build—a freestanding bookshelf to serve any number of needs. While there are numerous varieties and sizes available at retail and online, you can easily DIY a bookcase yourself, such as this one made of old crates (no tools required). 


Reduce Countertop Clutter

Magnetic Spice Rack

When cabinet and counter space is at a premium, look for ways to contain and store necessities elsewhere. For example, you can display your spices on the fridge with an array of magnetic containers. There are lots to choose from in a range of sizes and shapes, or you can devise a personalized solution by affixing magnets to the containers of your choice.


Decorate with Washi Tape

Washi Tape Wallpaper

Because many renters are prohibited from painting their apartment in anything other than neutral colors (if at all), look for other ways to add color and pattern. Washi tape, used to create this brightly striped wall, is 100 percent removable, comes in a zillion colors and patterns, and is extremely inexpensive. Create a pattern on a wall, door, or even a window, and then enjoy it until your taste or address changes.


Swap Out a Light Fixture

Jute Light Fixture

Lighting fixtures in rentals are often the cheapest and most utilitarian the landlord could find. Upgrade your space—and elevate your style—by replacing a lackluster fixture with something you love. Just be sure to hold on to the one that came with the apartment, because you'll need to put it back up when you move.

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Delineate Space with a Divider

Room Divider in Entryway

Because structural changes—like building a wall—are not an option for renters, consider other ways to separate open space. Floating a bookcase in the room can create a great divide and provide useful storage in the bargain. Or consider the merits of a folding screen, perhaps one you make yourself from salvaged louvers or French doors.  


Plant a Windowsill Herb Garden

Windowsill Herb Garden

If you rent, you most likely don't have a yard for gardening. But you can still nurture your green thumb by planting an herb garden on your windowsill, using a single planter box or a collection of small containers. Your mini garden will bring life to your space and zest to your cooking.


Hack a Backsplash

Backsplash for Renters

If your landlord lets you hang pictures, you can create a colorful backsplash with decorative fabric or paper in a clear glass frame. Just mount your designs in the frames and hang to imbue a plain-Jane rental kitchen with your unique sense of style.


Put Up Removable Wallpaper

Removeable Wallpaper

Wallpaper? Yes, you can. The new removable wallpapers can be applied and taken down numerous times before losing their adherence. And with no paste required, they're so much quicker and easier to hang than traditional wallpapers. There's absolutely no reason the walls in your rental can't be fabulous.

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Upgrade Your Shower Head

Change Your Shower Head

Even in a rental you can shower in luxury. Consider upgrading the standard shower head to something more akin to what you would find in a spa. Once you've bought a new fixture, swapping out a shower head is a simple task that can be accomplished with an inexpensive kit from the hardware store. 


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If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!