4 Your Home

How to Give Your Rental a Makeover, on a Budget

NBC Universal, Inc.

It's the year of renovation with quarantine pushing us to make improvements to the spaces we call home.

But you don’t have to be a homeowner to get in on DIY. There are many inexpensive and non-permanent ways you can improve your space for renters and homeowners alike.

Chelsey Brown is the author of "Rental Style," a book dedicated to creating your dream home in a rental.

"I was decorating my own space, and I realized there wasn't enough resources in books and even on TV shows that talked enough about how to decorate small rental spaces," says Brown.

Brown says that instant improvements can often start by simply looking up and replacing your ceiling light fixtures.

"If you live in a rental, you will have to ask your landlord permission to do this first," says Brown. "However replacing your ceiling light fixtures can create such a dramatic transformation."

You can also add more lighting by adding sconces. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need an electrician to install these.

According to Brown, all you need is a puck light to go inside your wall sconce and a remote to achieve fabulous lighting without the hassle of hardwiring.

To keep your space from feeling tight while still adding form and function, Brown suggests using acrylic accents.

acrylic furniture
Chelsey Brown, Rental Style
Brown suggests adding acrylic furniture to brighten up your space.

"Whether that's an acrylic coffee table, an acrylic console table, acrylic chair. acrylic will always make your space feel larger and less cluttered," Brown says. "The best part about acrylic is you can find so many affordable options online and it practically goes with any interior style."

The number one design tip Brown offers her clients is to choose rental improvements that are damage-free, like peel and stick wallpaper.

"I would recommend this to anyone whether you live in a rental or in  an owned space too," she says. "Think of peel and stick wallpaper just like a big sticker that you place on your wall."

peel and stick
Chelsey Brown, Rental Style
Peel and stick elements were used to give this backsplash and kitchen counter a more elegant look.

Besides peel and stick wallpaper, there is also contact paper, which can be placed over pre-existing countertops to easily transform the look and feel of a kitchen.

But, when it comes to peel and stick anything, Brown says don't skip over the reviews – read what other people had to say about it. If there are pictures, even better.

Shopping on sites like Etsy are also great for the variety and as a way to support small businesses while sprucing up your space.

On budget and on trend, your rental is limited only by your imagination.

Chelsey Brown
Rental Style, by Chelsey Brown
Contact Us