Given the cost of living in Canada right now, chances are you’re a tenant. But, whether it’s a long-term or short-term rental, you’ll still want to put your own personal stamp on the space. After all, it’s your home and should reflect your personal style.
But can you just simply… upgrade your rental unit?
@hgtvcanada Because rentals deserve to look cute too!! ⚡️ #rentalfriendlydecor #decorinspo #apartmentfriendlydecor #homedecor ♬ original sound – Ethan Hibbs
Although every rental situation is different from the next, many landlords are amenable to affordable upgrades — and they might even chip in on the cost of renovations with a little negotiation (by entering into a longer lease, for example).
However, upgrading your rental doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We break down some of the easiest cost-effective ways to elevate your space.
Consider Self-Adhesive Wallpaper
This renter-friendly home upgrade can be used on any type of wall. Your best bet for a plethora of patterns is to buy online — Society6, West Elm and Wayfair offer plenty of options. Get creative with the leftover pieces (or skip the walls entirely) and plaster the back walls of cabinets, inside the closet, the bottom of drawers or even the ceilings.
Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Chances are high that, when you first moved in, the walls of your rental were either a basic white/beige or an icky colour you would never select for yourself. Adding a fresh coat of paint is the fastest, most cost-effective way to upgrade your space. Some landlords won’t even require you to paint over it again whenever you leave.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, from rich earth tones to Savannah Green, check out these 2023 paint colour picks of the year.
Swap Out Cabinetry Hardware
It might seem a little tedious at first, but swapping out cabinet hardware is actually pretty easy in the grand scheme of things. Although it might seem like too small an upgrade to leave a big enough impact, it will actually leave your cabinets looking almost brand new.
You can even opt for unusual materials to add a little character. Think: glass, leather, acrylic or stone pulls. Or, upcycle your kitchen cabinets with this easy DIY.
Lean Your Standing Mirror (or Art) Against the Wall
If you’re loath to puncture the walls with holes, consider leaning eye-popping works of art or vintage pieces against the wall. In addition, a huge standing mirror will not only look stunning in the living room or bedroom, but it will help give the illusion of a much bigger space. You can get even more creative and move the pieces around over time to mix things up — without having to worry about patching up a bunch of holes.
Bring in an Area Rug
The perfect way to cover up blemished or damaged flooring (especially in an older rental unit) is to cover it up with a chic area rug. Not only will it immediately add a pop of colour to any room, they’ll also lend the space a cozy vibe — which is especially welcome during those long winter months.
Although rug prices vary, there are plenty of affordable options out there (think: IKEA). Get all the inspo you need with these tips on how to decorate with an area rug.
Replace the Light Switch Plates
Over the years — and after dozens of previous tenants — those little plastic light switch plates can accumulate enough grime and grit that it often becomes yellowed or even cracked. Gross, right? Replacing the old beat-up ones will instantly freshen up your walls, and will no doubt put your mind at ease. Whether you freshen up the standard variety for cheap (like these Amazon options) or select a stylish hardware piece (like these Anthropologie stunners pictured above) your walls will thank you.
Perhaps all your rental really needs is a bit of plant life to elevate the entire space. Not only do plants boost our mood and productivity, they also help reduce stress and clean the air.
For the kitchen, consider savoury herbs like mint and basil. You might find your bedroom benefits from lavender or a snake plant, while your bathroom will be the perfect place for a Boston fern or African violet. The options are endless — but, when it doubt, you can’t go wrong with these beginner-friendly houseplants.