The rent is right, the location is perfect, but how do you make your new apartment feel homey? Temporary changes and tiny renovations to walls, windows, cabinets, and living areas can transform an apartment from a generic clone to your personalized home. Just make sure your lease allows for change. If you’re not sure, ask your landlord or property manager.

1. Cover walls

Changing wall color or texture can have a huge impact on the feel of a room. Painting an apartment or just one room can warm, soften, or brighten a space. Since painting often isn’t an option for rentals, temporary wallpaper is a great alternative to paint. You can use one color to freshen a room, or make a statement with a bold geometric design or colorful print. Even one accent wall can change the feel of your new home.

2. Enhance window treatments

Blinds are fine, but they are not the only option for heightening a dramatic view or keeping the outdoors at bay. You can create privacy without losing light by using static cling window film to diffuse harsh sunlight or to create a stained glass effect.

Use a tension rod and curtain panels to add texture to a room. Then coordinate the room with your favorite decorator pieces. Also, replace existing window treatments with custom ones. This can be pricey (depending on how far you want to go), but will go a long way toward creating a more polished look.

3. Improve cabinets

Cabinetry is often one of the most dated features in a rental, but small steps can change that. If it’s storage space you lack, make some more by installing adhesive hooks to the inside of cabinet doors in the kitchen or bathroom.

If you’re good with tools, you can transform the look of your kitchen by removing cabinet doors. Be sure to store the doors carefully so they can be rehung for the next tenant.


4. Redefine living areas

Don’t underestimate the power of rearranging! Placing your furniture in a more efficient layout can help you rethink available space and give your apartment new life. Also, standing room dividers can block off a corner to create a home office or reading nook. Dividers made from carved wood, sleek chrome, wrought iron, or glass can add drama and dimension to a boring rectangular room or a loft space.

Don’t rely on fluorescent lighting (which is often inadequate anyway). Instead, add floor and table lamps to create mood and break up a large space.


You don't need a professional designer to make your apartment unique. Nor do you need to be an expert in real estate law, but you do need to be familiar with the terms of your lease, and make no permanent changes without checking with your landlord. Love your space by making tiny changes.