The rental market is booming this year with 11,514 new units coming on the market in New York alone. All of those new units mean a whole crop of new tenants eager to turn their new apartment into a home.
There are some things that a landlord will consider cost-effective. This may not coincide with what you think needs changing. If you are looking for easy apartment upgrades then you need to check out this list. We’ve got a complete list of upgrades that you can do that won’t make your landlord mad.
1. Refresh Your Walls
Do you see discoloration or water stains on your walls? Might be time for a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Ask your landlord for the color of what they used on the walls. This is key because there are a million shades of white. Once you know the exact shade, you can touch up and refresh your paint without having to commit to painting the entire apartment.
2. Fancy up the Windows
Those white plastic blinds that all rentals have are the ugliest things ever. They have no style, block a ton of light, and collect dust like crazy. Did you know that you can easily take them down and then re-hang them when you move out? Once you get the ugly blinds down you can make or buy yourself some roman shades.
Choose a fabric that is thicker to block more light. Or go with a light and bright color to add some style and character to your room. While you’re at it, pair the shades with curtains. This will frame and dress up the window. Once you have curtains hung your windows will go from looking industrial to homey. When you go to move out, take down your curtain rod and remount the plastic blinds.
3. Refresh Your Grout
The most frustrating thing about renting is an old apartment that never looks clean. You know it is, you’ve scrubbed from top to bottom. But no matter how much you clean the grout in the bathroom it never seems to look clean. There are grout restoring products that will bring your dingy grout back to bright white.
4. Upgrade the Showerhead
While you’re in the bathroom, take a look at the showerhead. It’s probably the most basic one possible with no real adjustment for the stream. To replace the showerhead you start by unscrewing the old one. Then wrap some Teflon tape around the threads. This will help with preventing leaks. Then screw on the new showerhead. Make sure you read all of the directions before you start the project.
Some modern shower heads are designed to work without the tape. This means that you will actually cause leaks by using the tape.
5. Hire Professional Carpet Cleaners
If the carpet in your apartment is starting to show its age, you can revive it by hiring professional cleaners. Sometimes just vacuuming or home cleaning aren’t enough.
You ask the landlord to replace the carpets, but they say no go. In this situation, hire a professional carpet cleaner to come in and refresh your carpet. This will bring new life to your carpets. Your landlord won’t object because they will save money not having to replace the carpet.
6. Change Out the Hardware
Head on over to Ikea and buy some new hardware for your cabinets. You can buy new cabinet hardware for super cheap. So cheap in fact, that if your landlord like the new hardware, you can leave it and not feel bad.
Look for something that lines up with the holes that are already in the cabinets. For example, if the current hardware are knobs, then look for replacement knobs. If the current hardware are old looking handles with two holes, then find new handles that line up. This way you cause the least amount of damage and change to the cabinets.
Your landlord won’t be happy if you start drilling new holes in the cabinets.
7. Install New Handles
You won’t be able to replace your front door handle. But there probably isn’t anything stopping you from changing out the rest of the door handles. These small changes can help give your apartment a more updated feel. just remove the screws on the old handles and replace them with the new handles. You can put each door’s hardware in a gallon ziplock bag and label the bag. That will make reinstalling the handles a breeze when you go to move out.
8. Change the Lighting Fixtures
Those ugly lighting fixtures in apartments need some serious help. They are usually brass or white and have no style or character. Instead, find a lighting fixture that matches your style and decor. Then hire an electrician to replace the fixtures.
Hiring a professional ensures that you don’t do anything wrong and create a safety risk. It will also provide some peace of mind to your landlord knowing that you aren’t messing with the electrical on your own. One of the lights that will make a big impact is the one over the dining area. These are usually boring lights tucked up on the ceiling.
Check with your lease agreement before doing this, some agreements don’t allow you to make any changes to the interior of the unit, including light fixtures.
9. Make Little Touches
By making small changes all over the apartment you will change the overall feel of the apartment. These small touches are both affordable and easy. Change out the toilet seat to something nicer. It also means you are the only one who has used it. You can pick one up for less than $50.
Light switches are always quick to yellow and age. So change them out with something fresh. Just be sure to turn the power off before you start this project.
You could also use this change to install a new plug with USB plugs. This will be convenient for you and bring the latest technology to your home. It is also recommended to use a licensed electrician when dealing with any electricity.
10. Create a Patio Oasis
Almost all patios are boring concrete pads with not much happening. Turn yours into an enjoyable outdoor living space.
Start by putting down some outdoor flooring like snap-together deck tiles. You can find some affordable teak ones that will stand up to the weather elements. This will hide that ugly patio concrete. Then place a correctly sized outdoor rug in the middle of the patio. This will give the space a comfortable flooring that you’ll want to stand on in your bare feet. Next, you’ll want to add some comfortable seating.
You’ll want to find some furniture that is sized for an apartment, which is smaller than deck furniture for a home. Add a plant or two so that there is some lush greenery. Don’t forget to have a space to put your drinks like a coffee table or end table.
11. Give the Tile a New Look
You don’t have to replace the tile to give it a new look. Use tile stickers in the bathroom or kitchen to give the space a makeover. They will come in a bunch of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Just peel the backing and place them on the tiles.
12. Get a new Faucet
This one will require a bit more work and a bit more knowledge on your part. Start by looking at your current kitchen sink faucet. You’ll want to take note of its setup so that you can buy a new faucet that matches the old one. There are three basic types of setups that you’ll have to contend with.
There is the centerset, this one has three holes, but they are all together in one mounted unit. A single hole is one unit that mounts onto one hole.
The third option is the widespread. This unit has three holes and three separate pieces. Once you have your new faucet you need to turn the water off. Then remove the old faucet and replace it with the new one.
Take a look around your apartment and look for things that you can cheaply and easily change. You want to focus on non permanent changes.
This way you can reverse the changes when you go to move out. Before you make any apartment upgrades, check your lease to make sure you won’t violate it. You’ll also want to make sure that you save anything you remove. Bundle and label the fixtures with the hardware used to attach it.