Condo & Small Space Living

How to Refresh Your Rented Apartment Without a Big Investment

There’s a common perception that giving your rented apartment a refresh is impossible without costing big bucks. However, the reality is that finding a way to add a personal flourish to your rented apartment that reflects you is readily achievable, whatever your budget, and that won’t have your landlord tearing their hair out in despair. At this moment you should pay attention to renta websites. For example, Rentola lets you find your perfect apartment online and puts you directly in touch with the landlord so you can discuss any refreshes you might like to make with them immediately.

Once you’ve got permission, consider these ways of giving your rented apartment a lift without having to break the bank.

Clean and Declutter

One of the simplest and most effective ways of giving your apartment a lift is to give it a deep clean and spend some time decluttering.

Take everything out of cupboards and remove them from surfaces so that you can give them a thorough clean. Then take time to review your belongings and think about what you need to keep and what you can donate to another loving home.

Get rid of those clothes you’re never likely to wear again, books you’re unlikely to read, and anything else where their shelf life in your apartment has elapsed.

Use Photos to Personalize

We live in the Instagram age, and many of us are used to capturing our lives on camera. Indeed, nothing characterizes a person more than the photos they take as reminders of places they’ve been, people they’ve seen and other memories.

Photos are a cheap but effective way of brightening up your apartment and giving it a personalized feel. Either use them to place on existing ledges and surfaces or as space fillers on bookshelves.

If you’re lacking a little bit of surface space, speak to your landlord and ask if they’d mind you installing some floating shelves which can be left behind at the end of your tenancy. These are cheap, easy to install and discreet solutions for adding sparkle to your space.

Upcycle Existing Furniture

Many renters have collected odd bits and pieces over the years from charity shops, family members and free collection websites, meaning their space might have an odds-and-ends feel.

Upcycling is a great way of repurposing furniture, giving it a new lease of life, and bringing a room together. Recovering dining chairs is an inexpensive but brilliant way of giving them a new lease of life.

Similarly, giving a chest of drawers or shelving a fresh coat of paint can provide a room with a completely new feel at a very low cost. And the best part is that you don’t need to be a DIY expert to achieve your desired look. With plenty of online guides taking you through the upcycling process step-by-step, you’ll soon have your tatty old furniture looking new.

Use Color

Most rental apartments are decorated in neutral tones, often white or off-white, to provide a base that suits prospective tenants.

However, pale and neutral-coloured furniture can often go missing against a white backdrop, so finding ways of using colour to emphasize features is an excellent way of giving your space a bit of life.

You could ask permission to use colour on a wall to provide the room with a feature or use paint to upcycle a piece of furniture and bring some personality into the space. This works well with a living area’s coffee table, TV stand or bookshelf. Or, in the bedroom, decorating drawers on a chest or bedside lampstands.

Other alternatives are coloured floor coverings, such as rugs and mats, wall hangings, soft furnishings and vibrantly coloured bedding in the bedroom.

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

Adding plants to your indoor spaces is a simple and effective way of adding character and colour. As well as making your area feel more natural and fresher, including houseplants in your living space elevates the feeling of a room.

They will bring a sense of natural calm to your living space with a bit of care and attention. Many people find gardening relaxing and therapeutic, and maintaining your house plants can provide you with a release from the general hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Different plants suit different styles of décor. For example, if you’re going for a rustic, shabby-chic look, then colourful cut flowers and ferns complement perfectly. If you’re after a more modern aesthetic, look into bonsai and succulents instead.

Create the Illusion of Space

It’s no secret that many rental apartments are pretty small. However, it’s possible to create the illusion of space with some clever use of mirrors and natural lighting.

Using a mirror to reflect natural light not only provides a room with a focal point, particularly in a living room but also creates the illusion of space and airy calm. Similarly, mirrors in a bathroom, which can often be on the smaller side, ease any feelings of being hemmed in or claustrophobia.

If some rooms lack a little natural light, the clever use of lighting and mirrors can also create an illusion of space where there is little. Entrance hallways and north-facing rooms can benefit from a mirror with an overhanging light or by reflecting a smartly placed floor-standing lamp.

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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.