What We Have Done To Our Rental Apartment

I feel like this post has been a long time coming. I have touched on most of the points in previous blog posts over the years, but since we are pretty much done doing larger projects to our rental apartment I thought I would put everything we have done in a post for easy reference. I always forget newer followers may not know we do in fact rent our apartment, so a lot of intrigue arises as to how we have made updates.

I also have to preface that Daniel and I have done all of the labor ourselves (read; mostly Daniel) so I might think something is cost effective, but if you had to hire an installer or electrician it might make the project a bit more of an investment. Many people have no idea they are allowed to make changes to their rental space. It really just depends on your landlords and your rental agreement. It never hurts to ask if you can make some updates and many are more than happy to if it’s on your dime and you put it back to how it looked upon moving in.

A Fresh Coat Of Paint (or five)

The first thing we did upon move in was paint the entire apartment. Walls, trim, ceilings, kitchen cabinets – everything (in stages). We have actually painted the entire apartment twice over the four years we have lived here because the first paint I used did not adhere to our walls well at all. You can read all about the paint colors I chose in my White Paint Guide post. Our walls were neutral when we moved in, but almost looked pink and dirty. I do sometimes tire of the all white walls, but because I don’t want to paint again before we move out, it works very well. We bought all of the paint, did the work ourselves and picked white so it was a non issue with our landlords.

Walls Throughout: Benjamin Moore Simply White OC-117
Trim/Ceilings: Benjamin Moore Super White PM-1
Front Door: Benjamin Moore Ashwood OC-47

Accents Make A Big Impact

Another simple update in a rental space is changing out all of the hardware. For us this was in the kitchen and bathroom. I changed out the kitchen knobs and pulls which instantly made the cheap cabinets look a little nicer. I also added pretty brass hooks in the bathroom in lieu of the heavy towel bars. About two years in we also changed out the kitchen sink, faucet and bathroom vanity. These were very simple projects that made SUCH a big difference to the overall look and feel of the space. Obviously everything will stay when we move out, although I can take the faucets and put very inexpensive builder grade options in. I talk more about the bathroom in this blog post and will link to all of the kitchen components we installed below.

Dressing The Windows

I always say if you can do nothing else, adding new window treatments will make such a drastic difference. We added drapery to our living room, an inexpensive woven shade in our kitchen and semi custom woven shades and off the rack drapery to our bedroom. Window treatments help a space to look complete and even though our drapes are very inexpensive, the texture they add is perfect.

Living Room Drapes (customizable option)
Bay Window Rod
Drapery Rods Throughout – Bronze (also love these)
Kitchen Shade
Bedroom Drapery
Bedroom Shades (Bonaire Flaxen, unlined, inside mount)

Update Your Lighting

The last major change we made was updating most of the ceiling light fixtures. Rentals typically come with the worst ceiling lights and because Daniel is an electrician he can easily swap them out. We had a ceiling fan in our living room upon move in, but the design was very bulky with a large globe light. Instead of putting a pretty light fixture in this room we decided to just update to a sleeker fan so we did not have to store the old one the entire time we lived here. I also added an inexpensive lantern light in the kitchen and the star pendant in the bedroom which I will take with us when we move. Adding new lighting makes the space feel more custom and if you install the original lights before you move most landlords don’t care – again always check because every place is SO different.

I know a lot of people don’t see the point in spending money on their rental, but we have lived here for four years and I would not take back one project we have done. I am of the mindset that you want to love where you live now, not constantly be waiting until you own. Of course this has to be within in reason, but some simple updates have made me love this place like it is our home.

As always you can visit My Apartment Shop Pages for more sources

  1. Carolyn says:

    Hello! Where is your couch from and what is the fabric color called? Is it gray or does it have a hint of blue to it. I love it.

    Thank you!

  2. Courteney Fox says:

    Love the upgrades – Would you be able to share the price range of re-painting? Really want to do that to our current rental, but am not sure how to estimate the cost!


    • Hi Courtney, thank you! It really just depends if you’re hiring someone and what paint you want to use. We did all of the paining ourselves to save labor costs and went with the mid range Benjamin Moore Ben line which is about $35 – $45 per gallon opposed to Farrow & Ball which is $110 per gallon. That is also why we painted the space one color, it helps from buying paint that ultimately doesn’t get used.

  3. Damaris says:

    Wow!! This is so inspiring. I don’t thinking the landlord would want to change it back the day you move out.I have always wanted to change the color of the walls in my Apartment so bad.

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