This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

Rental Makeover Tips

Your new place may not be your own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t call it home!  Whether you’re painting, accessorizing or looking to maximize space, Erica Friedland Tufaro, an architectural and interior design expert, lays out 10 out-of-the-box tricks and D.I.Y tips for giving your rental a complete makeover without losing your security deposit.

1.  Light Up A Room
Hang or lean an over-sized mirror.  You just added a window.

2. Craft a Chic Kitchen
If your rental has uninspiring counter tops, shop a marble yard for a remnant piece you can have cut to make an oversized cutting board.  For a couple hundred dollars you can cover a substantial piece of cookie cutter countertop.

3.  Showcase Your Artistic Eye
Over-scale art in a small space can be a work horse! Try buying a piece of fabric sold with a hanging kit from websites like This unique over-sized piece can carry a whole room for very little money.

4.  Roll Out the Welcoming Carpet is great for well-priced sea grass and jute rugs.  These very chic and inexpensive floor coverings can cover up a boring rental floor and add high style to your pad.

5.  Set the Mood
If you are provided with less-than-stellar lighting, pick one key location and change out the fixture.  For a downtown loft-like look, go industrial and change the rest of the lighting to plain porcelain sockets with half chrome or globe bulbs.  Don’t forget to save the original fixtures so you can put them back when your lease is up.

6.  Glamorize the Ladies Room
Dressing your bathroom with great towels and shower curtain seems silly, but in a small apartment probably everyone who enters for more than one hour will use it.  Keep it clean and don’t miss this relatively inexpensive opportunity to show your style and good taste!

7.  Mix It Up
Buying everything from the same place will make the place look boring and flat.  Add a few ethic accents from stores like Pier One Imports.  Home Goods is great for fun bold dishes and web shop stores like West Elm for high style accessories as well as furniture at great prices.

8.  A Comfy Couch Is a No-Brainer
Try big box stores like Ikea, Target and Walmart for an inexpensive studio sofa.  If custom fabrics are an option, pick a neutral like tan or grey in a tough fabric like chenille or denim.  Don’t be surprised if this piece you bought as a “temporary” is still with you in the long run!

9.  Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Measure your place and use graph paper to layout furniture before you buy it.  Take the guessing out of where things go and save your strength for unpacking.

10.  Easy Elegance
Buy cheap solid cotton drapery panels from a big box store and finish them off on the leading edge or bottom with a few dollars worth of ribbon trim or fringe (try a website like  Crafty?  Tack it over 6-8” by hand and then hot glue gun it in-between.  Not so crafty?   Just glue gun the whole thing.

Hope Daniels is a freelance writer based out of the tri-state area. From pets to parenting to pop culture, you can ask her to write about any life topics, just don’t ask her for directions!