6 Renter-Friendly DIY Projects to Spruce Up Your Space

Two women working together to hang art on the walls of their rental unit.For many people, there are several perks to renting a place to live, from flexibility in moving to the lack of maintenance responsibilities. One downside to renting? Not being able to personalize the space with certain design choices due to the terms of the rental agreement. But there are ways around this. We’re sharing six renter-friendly DIY (do it yourself!) projects and renovations that can spruce up your home without violating your lease or upsetting your landlord.  

Before You Make Any Changes, Check Your Lease 

Before you dive in, always ensure you’re abiding by the terms of the rental agreement you signed with your landlord. Prior to starting a DIY project, re-read your lease to check that the modifications you’re going to make are acceptable. If still unsure, run it by your landlord directly. All the ideas we offer below are temporary and reversible, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when your security deposit refund is on the line.  

Renter-Friendly Renovations and Design Projects 

Read on for cost-effective and time-efficient projects to try if you’re looking to make your rental feel more like home: 

  1. Removable Wallpaper and Wall Decals – This one’s obvious and quite popular. With so many colors and patterns to choose from, peel-and-stick wallpaper is a fun way to deck your walls (and halls) without the permanency of real wallpaper or paint. Wall decals are just smaller and come in different shapes, but still add character to otherwise drab walls. 
  2. Peel-and-Stick Backsplash or Floor Tiles The peel-and-stick approach comes in backsplash and floor tiles, too! Give your kitchen or bathroom a facelift with these temporary options that won’t ruin the walls or flooring underneath them. 
  3. Gallery Wall – Don’t let an inability to create holes in your walls stop you from hanging things! Use Command hooks or other removable strips to mount framed photos and artwork, filling empty space and giving your walls texture. 
  4. New Hardware – Got old or basic hardware like cabinet pulls and drawer knobs? Here’s an often overlooked idea: swap them out for hardware that’s more your individual style.
  5. Window Film – If your rental came with blinds, you can switch them for something more aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing privacy (or sunlight and warmth). Window film is easy to cut to size and apply without adhesives.
  6. Contact Paper – We wouldn’t end without one last peel-and-stick project! Contact paper is like removable wallpaper but on a smaller scale. Buy a roll to give your cabinets, countertops, shelves, or other surfaces a new façade.  

And remember: all these projects are removable or reversible, which comes in handy when it’s time for you to move out. Tenants are usually required to leave the rental the way they found it—so unless your landlord tells you otherwise, undo all the changes you made upon leaving. 

A Note on Rental Repairs and Improvements 

There is a difference between the changes you’re making for aesthetic reasons and changes that need to be made for safety or operational purposes. Fixing something that’s broken or not functioning properly is considered a rental repair, whereas things done to enhance the space are considered improvements and betterments—ONLY changes that increase the property value and cannot be removed (are permanent). These DIY projects are cosmetic and impermanent, so they wouldn’t be considered “improvements and betterments.”  

We’d be remiss not to mention another way to protect yourself against rental damage and its associated costs: renters insurance. Though not legally required, renters insurance is ultimately the renter-friendly version of homeowners insurance; it covers you from certain risks and liabilities, though it tends to be much cheaper than homeowners insurance. If you’re questioning whether renters insurance is worth it for you or are looking to change your current policy, contact TJ Woods today.