Nine Home Upgrades You Can Easily Make as a Tenant

posted by Chris Valentine

Many US citizens now live on rent, which could be due to several factors, including financial flexibility, job mobility, or the sheer convenience of letting a landlord handle maintenance issues. According to research, nearly 100 million people live on rent out of a total of 331 million people. 

While renting does have its perks, it often leaves tenants feeling restricted when it comes to personalizing their living space. However, with the right approach, there are several upgrades you can make to your rental home to enhance its comfort, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. Let’s dive into nine tenant-friendly home upgrades that won’t break the bank or your lease agreement.

Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

The first step towards transforming your rental is to tackle those plain, lifeless walls. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a godsend for renters for several reasons. Firstly, it’s incredibly easy to apply. You don’t need to be a DIY expert to achieve a smooth, bubble-free finish. Secondly, the variety of designs available is almost endless. Whether you’re into minimalist patterns, bold florals, or abstract art, there’s something for everyone. Lastly, when it’s time to move out or if you simply want a change, peel-and-stick wallpaper comes off easily without damaging the walls or leaving residue. 

Bathroom Upgrades for Better Functionality and a Modern Look

Bathrooms in rental properties often come with outdated fixtures and a lack of character. However, even minor tweaks can significantly enhance both the functionality and the look of your bathroom. Start with the showerhead: upgrading to a high-pressure, water-efficient model can turn your daily shower into a luxurious experience. You can also consult local experts who can install the right features according to the city’s climate. Simply search online using specific keywords like custom bathroom remodeling company near me and hire professionals with good reviews and ample experience. 

Updating the cabinet knobs to something more modern can also make a big difference with minimal effort. If you’re feeling adventurous, peel-and-stick tiles can offer a fresh, modern look for your bathroom floor or backsplash without permanent alterations.

Lighting Enhancements

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood of your home. Many rentals come with basic, uninspiring light fixtures that do little to enhance the space. By incorporating plug-in sconces, pendant lights, or even stylish floor lamps, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Adding dimmer switches to existing lamps can also offer flexibility, allowing you to adjust the lighting to suit any occasion. The best part? These changes are completely reversible and can move with you to your next home.

Functional Furniture Updates

Furniture that doubles as storage is a game-changer in small rental spaces. Look for pieces that offer extra functionality, such as ottomans that can also be used for storing small items, beds with built-in drawers, or coffee tables that lift to reveal storage space. These smart furniture choices not only maximize space but also help keep your rental organized and clutter-free. Plus, they can add a modern touch to any room, proving that practical solutions can also be stylish.

Kitchen Makeovers on a Dime

The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home, but rental kitchens can feel impersonal or outdated. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-permanent ways to give your kitchen a facelift. Removable backsplashes can instantly add color or pattern to the room. Similarly, contact paper offers a temporary solution for unsightly countertops, and cabinet decals can refresh old cabinetry. Don’t underestimate the power of new hardware; replacing the knobs and pulls on cabinets and drawers is a quick and easy upgrade that can have a significant impact on the overall look of your kitchen.

Smart Home Devices

Incorporating smart home devices into your rental not only brings your living space into the 21st century but also adds an unparalleled level of convenience and security. Start with smart bulbs, which allow you to control lighting from your smartphone or voice-activated device. This means you can adjust the ambiance of your home to match your mood or schedule without ever touching a light switch. A smart thermostat can similarly revolutionize how you manage your home’s climate, learning your preferences over time to save on energy costs while keeping you comfortable. 

For renters concerned about security, smart cameras, and doorbells provide peace of mind without the need for complex installations or modifications to the property.

Window Treatments for Instant Glam

Never underestimate the power of well-chosen window treatments. Curtains and blinds do more than just provide privacy; they’re an opportunity to inject color, pattern, and texture into your space. For those unable to drill into walls, tension rods or command hooks offer a damage-free solution for hanging curtains. Choose materials that complement your decor, and consider layering for a luxurious look. Not only do window treatments enhance the aesthetic appeal of your rooms, but they can also improve insulation, keeping your space warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Art and Decor that Speaks to You

Personalizing your rental with art and decor is essential for creating a space that reflects your personality and style. The key is finding non-permanent ways to display your favorite pieces. Sticky strips and hooks are invaluable for hanging artwork without nails, allowing you to create a gallery wall or feature large, statement pieces without worrying about damaging the walls. Consider also leaning art on shelves or furniture for a casual, changeable display. Incorporating a mix of high and low pieces, from framed posters to one-of-a-kind artisan crafts, adds depth and interest to your decor.

Outdoor Oasis

If your rental includes outdoor space, consider yourself lucky and make the most of it! Even a small balcony or patio can be transformed into a personal oasis with the right touches. Start with an outdoor rug to define the space and add comfort underfoot. Then, introduce a variety of potted plants to bring life and color to your outdoor area. Finally, string lights or solar-powered lanterns can create a magical ambiance for evening relaxation. These simple additions can make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your indoor living area.


Transforming a rental property into a space that feels truly yours doesn’t require a hefty investment or permanent changes. With these simple upgrades, you can enhance the functionality, style, and comfort of your home, all while keeping your landlord happy and your security deposit intact. Remember, making a rental feel like home is about adding touches that reflect your personal style and meet your needs, proving that even temporary spaces can have a lasting impact on your quality of life.

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