Before buying our house last year, my husband and I rented a couple of different apartments.  Rentals definitely have their pros- you don't have to pay for repairs or upkeep, you have the flexibility to move easily, etc.  They also have their downsides, one of them being you lack the freedom to make any major cosmetic changes.
Unless you are renting in a brand new building, most rentals have a very outdated, builder grade type feel.  Even if you only plan to stay a year, there are plenty of easy DIY upgrades you can do to make coming home a little more enjoyable. 

Image via  Home depot

Image via Home depot

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1.) Temporary Wallpaper

There are so many different amazing options for peel and stick wallpaper right now!!  These are designed to be temporary- so no worries about getting your security deposit back when it comes time to take it down!  The one here is from Anthropologie, but you can also find plenty of designs at places like Target & Wayfair.  If you don't want to commit to full sheets of wallpaper, there are also different wall decals you can put up that will mimic the look.


2.) Marble Contact Paper

If your countertops are an eye sore, there are a ton of tutorials online (like this one) that show you how to cover them with CONTACT PAPER!  Apparently it's durable enough for bathroom vanities & kitchen counters!  I wish I had heard about this when we were renting!  Amazon seems to have a pretty decent selection of contact paper.

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3.) Hardware

This is something I did do when were renting- switch out the super basic hardware in the kitchen/ bathroom with prettier knobs.  It's such an easy change and really makes a huge difference.  Just make sure you save all of the original hardware in a bag for when you move out.  The hardware in this picture is from SchoolHouse.  I have also found really cute knobs from Target and Amazon at amazing prices!

4.) Plug In Sconces/ Pendants

Adding some plug in wall sconces (like this one from Urban Outfitters) is a great way to make a space feel more custom.  In our last rental, I was able to use command strips to attach two sconces on either side of our bed.  They also sell pendant lights that you can hang from the ceiling (again with a command hook- no damage) and plug in.  If you happen to find a pendant light that is only made to be hardwired, I found this awesome tutorial to show you how to make it a plug in.  AND if your apartment has one of those awful ceiling lights that they all seem to, I found this tutorial on how to temporarily make it look a million times nicer!!  Just remember: make sure to save anything you take down from your rental so you can make sure to put it back at move out!

5.) Area Rugs!

Area rugs are one the quickest ways to transform a space.  They help define to define an area.  If you don't love the color of your wall to wall carpet, or if your hard wood floors have seen better days; area rugs can help cover some of these problems up.

6.) Peel & Stick Backsplash

I have been seeing so many cool options for stick on backsplash lately!  A lot of rentals either have dated backsplash or no backsplash at all, so this is a great way to add your personal style in without fear of causing any damage!  The one picture is from Home Depot.

7.) Paint

Last, but not least, you can try to paint.  You'll have to check with your landlord on this one, but a lot of times you will be allowed to paint the walls if you paint it back when you move out.  If the walls are in pretty rough shape, you could even try to talk to your landlord about taking some money off of one month's rent if you paint the walls for them.  At the very least, if you choose a neutral color, they might not make you paint it back at move out.  These are a few of my favorite shades of white by Sherwin Williams.  A fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference and brightens up a room more than you'd think!