4 Tips to Help Renovate a Rental Home

“You have to stop thinking of it as a temporary space and start thinking of it as a space that you deserve and space that you deserve to be happy in.”

NBC Universal, Inc.

Thousands of people choose to rent rather than buy, but just because you’re renting a house or an apartment, that doesn’t mean you can’t add your personal touch. Here are four tips to turn your place into a home. 

Use Paint to Add Color

For Sarah Lyon, a renter in Cleveland Park, paint is the easiest and least expensive way to transform her temporary space. 

“I was so glad that I did take the time to make my rental feel very me,” Lyon said. “Little did we know, we spent so much time at home this past year and a half.”

She's been renting for eight years now and shares her rental renovations on Instagram

“It is just such an inexpensive way to add personality to a space without having to buy a brand new sofa or hang a bunch of things on the wall,” Lyon said.

Living Room
Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

Adding geometric pops of color, or “color-blocking” a wall, is an inexpensive trend that can make a rental feel more fun and lively.

And when your lease is up, or should you decide to move, you can just paint it back to what it was.

Invest in Lighting and Professional Installations

Lighting fixtures like chandeliers and lamps can shape a room and add dimension to an otherwise plain space. Lyon says that she uses her black three-pronged chandelier to make a statement. 

“It looks like a sculpture and I love that it just really brings my living room to life,” Lyon said.

Don’t Shy Away from Electrical Tape and Contact Paper

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography

Easily-removable stick-on installations can transform a space with pops of color and texture. 

Black windows are super trendy right now. Who’s to say you can’t have them as a renter?

Imani Keal, another renter in Glover Park who also shares her rental renovations on Instagram, suggests using electrical tape to achieve this look.

“I’ve just taken electrical tape that literally cost $5 at Ace Hardware, and I just go along the window pane with the electrical tape,” Keal said. “So it makes the window go from this yellow ugly thing to a beautiful black-cased window.”

You can also use your kitchen as a way to show off a little piece of your personality.

Keal’s dream was a soft pink kitchen. She overhauled the existing space with a number of DIY tricks.

She transformed her kitchen using marble-like contact paper to cover her counters and backsplash. Then she painted moldings to match and attached them with Gorilla Tape.

“It’s giving me $4,000 kitchen vibes when it was really total to do the whole thing was under $100,” Keal said.

Change Your Mindset


Even though your rental space may be temporary, home improvement projects and settling into your unique home can add comfort and excitement to your life. 

“You have to change your mindset,” Keal said. “You have to stop thinking of it as a temporary space and start thinking of it as a space that you deserve and space that you deserve to be happy in.”

Home looks different for everyone. Wherever and however you choose to live, it can still look like you.

“I’m going to be happy here,” Keal said. “I don’t care that it’s not mine. I don’t care that I have to leave, because while I'm here, I’m going to enjoy this life, and I think we all should.”

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