6 Reversible Ways to Spruce Up a Rental That Won't Make Your Landlord Cry

When you buy a dumpy house, you're allowed to strip it, smash it, and paint it out of its mind, just to turn it into whatever kind of sanctuary you're looking for. But when you're renting, you're a little more limited -- no landlord wants you knocking down walls on their property. But what are you allowed to do?


"With respect to what can be changed to the unit, this is almost always defined by the lease," says Alex Stern, Esq., of Little Guy Law Firm. "If the lease doesn't say, and if you're unsure at all, check with the landlord and get an agreement in writing."

Whether that agreement is a signed contract or a follow-up text, the writing part is important. But once you have that, there are a million easy, reversible changes to make in your rental that'll spruce the place up. 

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Here are our ideas:

  1. Paint. It seems so simple ... and it is. A fresh coat of paint -- even if it's the same color -- can do wonders to a drab or grimy room. 
  2. Blinds or curtains. There's nothing that gets dumpier as fast as venetian blinds do, and swapping these out for linen curtains or wooden shades will do wonders for the light in your home. But even if you plan on leaving the replacements in the rental when you move, make sure to keep the old blinds and their hardware in case your landlord wants the originals.
  3. Shelves. If you have a lease with a no-hole clause, you can try a shelving unit or hanging shelves (if your rental has picture rails). If you are allowed, though, adding your own wall shelves to a rental allows you to use the space better and gives you room to display your tastes.
  4. Decals. Though they can quickly roam into tacky territory, if you find the right ones, pretty, removable decals are a great way to bring life back to walls you can't paint or tile you can't remove. 
  5. Light fixtures. We'd all be better people if we never had to see a boob light again. Swap these out for something chicer -- or at the very least, something without a nipple.
  6. Hardware. It's amazing what some updated hardware can do for an outdated kitchen or bathroom. 

Image via iStock.com/purple_queue


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