Tips & Guides

15 Renter-Friendly Apartment Hacks to Transform Your Apartment

By Landing | Feb 28, 2024
Apartment hacks for renters

Home is more than where your stuff is. Try out these 15 apartment hacks to transform your rental into your personal oasis.

Turning the key and stepping into a space that feels unmistakably yours is an incredible feeling. After all, your home is your oasis. It’s the one place you can always count on to kick up your feet and relax. 

But part of the apartment life is a lease contract that limits your decor dreams. You can’t just tear down kitchen cabinets, rip up the carpets, or swap out the bathroom tiles to match your favorite episode of Architectural Digest or Pinterest boards. 

Lucky for renters, it doesn’t take a sledgehammer (or forfeiting your security deposit) to make your abode fit your lifestyle. There are plenty of renter-friendly apartment hacks to transform your living space without making permanent changes. 

From thoughtful decor investments to removable wallpaper, here are our 15 favorite apartment hacks for renters.

The 15 Best Apartment Hacks Every Renter Should Know

When renting an apartment, it’s important to read through your lease terms before undertaking any DIY project. Even if it’s something that seems minor, like drilling holes for a gallery wall or swapping out curtain rods, check your lease and with your landlord to avoid surprises down the road. 

Once you get that due diligence sorted, it’s time to get to the fun part: transforming your rental with these clever, landlord-friendly apartment life hacks. 

Home Improvement Hacks 

From wall sconces to a removable backsplash, these projects are our favorite renter-friendly ways to give a space an upgrade. Here are five simple and impactful DIY apartment hacks to insert a bit of personality into your rental while protecting your security deposit: 

1. Avoid scratches, holes, and damages 

Wall with scratches, holes and damages

If this is your first apartment, you might focus more on aesthetics than practicality. But leaving the apartment as you found it is essential to avoid conflicts on move-out day, especially if you rent a costly place with all the best apartment amenities

Take some steps to protect your apartment by: 

  • Putting cork on the bottom of furniture: Adding cork or foam to the bottom of your furniture, from kitchen chairs to your bed frame, lets you move furniture without worrying about leaving a mark. This quick and simple hack prevents scratches and noise, making it a win-win for you and your security deposit. 
  • Using command hooks to hang anything on the wall: This prevents you from trying to plaster and re-paint any holes from nails.
  • Putting rugs in high-traffic areas: Protecting your floors can be stylish, and using rugs to do that is especially great if you live in an apartment with a dog who might scratch up the floors when they’re excited. 

These minor improvements will help you leave with peace of mind in a well-cared-for space. 

2. Upgrade lighting with plug-in wall sconces and cozy lamps

cozy lamps to upgrade your apartment lighting

Overhead lighting tends to cast unflattering shadows, filling the room with a sterile atmosphere. They’re about as comforting as a dentist’s office. Plug-in wall sconces let you add warmth and coziness without hard-wiring. Position wall sconces at eye level around seating areas, along hallways, or bookending artwork — anywhere you can hide the cord.

You can also switch out most overhead lights for hanging pendant lights to add a personal flair to your dining room or a reading nook. Just be sure to store existing fixtures safely. 

3. Peel-and-stick wallpaper

peel-and-stick wallpaper patterns
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Removable wallpaper might be the best invention since sliced bread. Whether you’re a design maximalist or minimalist, go-to design sites like West Elm, Etsy, and Society6 have never-ending catalogs of peel-and-stick wallpapers. And if you really want to class up the joint, removable raised wall panels add texture to simple walls. 

Choose wallpapers and accents based on the room’s dimensions. Dark colors absorb light, making a small space feel even tinier. Opt for bright wallpapers and light paneling that reflect light so your apartment feels bigger and brighter. 

4. Replace your cabinet doors

Different cabinet doors

Big statements don’t require big projects. Something as simple as replacing the knobs on your bathroom and kitchen cabinets changes the entire aesthetic of a room. You can pick up new cabinet pulls at home goods shops, online retailers, or big box hardware shops. Be sure to save the original ones to reinstall them when you move out. 

5. Transform your kitchen and bathroom with removable tiles

Removable tiles in a bathroom

Peel-and-stick tiles have come a long way from your grandma’s vinyl flooring. Lightweight metal, glass, stone, and gels are just a few materials you can choose from to make a big splash in your kitchen or bathroom. Plus, removable backsplash isn’t as labor-intensive as getting out the grout. 

Just note that cleaning up sticky adhesive strips could be time-consuming, so this is a project best undone a few weeks before you give back your keys, not a few hours. 

Apartment decor hacks

All it takes is one perfect detail to tie the room together. Whether you are a Facebook marketplace expert or they know you by name at Wayfair, decorating your apartment is one of our favorite parts of personalizing a new apartment. 

6. Bring nature indoors

Little cactus plant for your home

Greenery purifies the air and adds a vibrant touch of nature to your indoor space. And you don’t have to be a horticulturist to transform your space into a nursery. Opt for low-maintenance plants like succulents, pothos, or spider plants for a hassle-free botanical vibe. Be sure to buy trays for all your planters so there aren’t puddles and take down any suspended plants to water them in the bathtub to avoid nasty water marks on the floor. 

7. Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mirror on a living room wall

Spaces can feel claustrophobic when the feng shui is off, whether in a big condo or a small apartment. Place mirrors across from windows or in dimly lit corners to instantly make your apartment feel more spacious and bright. The illusion of depth and light opens a room without taking down any walls. 

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8. Cozy up with rugs and textiles

Cozy rug in a living room

If you aren’t a fan of your rental’s flooring, layer area rugs to add texture, color, and personal style. This is an easy way to cover up unsightly floors without making permanent changes. Plus, a good rug is an investment you can take with you when you move out. 

Once you have the perfect rug for your space (since this is probably one of the more costly items, we recommend buying this first), invest in complementary throw blankets, cushions, and curtains. These let you mix and match your style while adding even more warmth and comfort to your home. 

9. Invest in multi-functional furniture

Multi-functional funiture: Murphy bed
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Good furniture is a mixture of style, comfort, and functionality. Renters of small spaces should be especially conscientious of the latter. Ottomans with hidden storage, sofa beds for guests, or Murphy beds with desks are great ways to maximize your square footage.

Bedroom with three paintings

Hanging family photos or a budding art collection immediately makes a space yours. For restless interior designers, picture ledges let you easily swap and rearrange artwork, allowing you to refresh your gallery wall whenever you want. If you can’t drill holes in the wall, command hooks are a great damage-free option. 

Apartment organization hacks

A new apartment gives you a fresh start to maximize space and maintain a clutter-free apartment. Here are our favorite functional hacks. 

11. Over-the-door organizers

Over the door organizer
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We aren’t all blessed with a spacious walk-in closet. Hanging organizers over closet, bathroom, or kitchen pantry doors are ideal for storing. Whether storing shoes, toiletries, or spices, they keep essentials out of sight and within easy reach. 

12. Under-the-bed hideaways

Under the bed hideaway
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Packing your whole wardrobe into your closet doesn’t just take up precious space. It makes it difficult to sort through all your options every morning. If you have a bed with space underneath, storage containers are a great way to hide out-of-season items, spare linens, or less-used items. 

13. Divide and conquer your closet

Drawer organizer for your clothes
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Even neat freaks battle closets that quickly clutter. Acrylic shelf dividers and drawer organizers are simple accessories to keep every sock, sweater, and linen in its place. 

14. Upgrade your pot storage

Pot storage upgrade
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Serious home cooks can make a Michelin meal with a single pot. But most prefer a kitchen full of every imaginable specialized tool. To avoid overflowing kitchen cabinets, hanging racks organize every pot and pan. Plus, they give your kitchen a chef-worthy flair. 

15. Stack your stuff sky-high

Colorful bins and Tupperware
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Leverage your vertical space with stackable bins and Tupperware. It’s a smart solution for kitchens, closets, and bathrooms, especially if properly labeled for more convenient searching. 

Find your ideal apartment with Landing

When it comes to making an apartment your own, it’s always a good idea to start with a beautiful canvas. Try out Landing or Standby, which offer fully furnished apartments with flexible stays to make it easy to move in and personalize on your terms. Learn more about becoming a Landing member today!