MoneyLife

13 Cheap Apartment Friendly Upgrades

By Grace Kilander
apartment friendly upgrades

Looking around at your apartment rental wishing it felt more like you? Although you might be prohibited to make major changes, there are ways to make a rental feel like home With a little bit of creativity, imagination, and elbow grease, you can create a home that represents your style. Before you get started, remember to check with your landlord first to get the thumbs up on making any improvements. 

With these cheap apartment friendly upgrades, you can put your design style and personal touches on any space in no time!

1. Deep clean

One of the simplest things you can do in your rental is deep clean. You’d be surprised to see how much of a difference a little elbow grease can do! It’s like a blank canvas for a painter. Your home will feel lighter, brighter, and you’ll feel inspired to come up with design plans. Get in all the nooks and crannies and don’t forget to add these must clean tips to your list:

  • Dust, dust, dust! Give those windowns, facts, vent covers, baseboard, tops of cabinets, and corners of rooms a good dusting.
  • Clean our the refrigerator–finally! We know there’s sticky residue and old produce in there. Take everything out, give a good santizing clean, wipe down the outside and organize the inside!
  • Run a cleaning cycle on your clothes and dish washer. Don’t forget to move washer and dryer to vacuum.
  • Scrub the floors–you know it’s time.
  • Clean the windows– inside and out (if you can reach). Be sure to ge the inside of the window panes too, there’s always little dust bunnies and critters in there.
  • Wipe down baseboard. Although a little tough on the back, a bright white baseboard can change a room. Use a little lemon essential oil on a rag and those tough scuffs will come out in no time!

Now that you have a day of cleaning ahead of you, blast some music, grab your Swiffer for some air guitar action, and get to cleaning! 

2. Donate stuff

We all have “stuff”. You know, a random piece of art you wanted to put up 3 years ago, a DIY project you planned to work on, and random nick-nacks. In the words of Marie Kondo, if it doesn’t bring you joy (or you know you’ll never get to it), scrap it and move on. Sometimes, the feeling of decluttering and getting rid of things can bring you peace of mind and help you de-stress too!

3. Re-arrange and organize

Closet looking a mess? Kitchen countertops covered with junk mail and random thing? You can buy bins and bins on the cheap from places like Ikea and Homegoods. Time to find a spot for everything, put it in its rightful place, and organize.

4. Paint

Another dramatic change you can make to any space is to give it a fresh coat of paint! It will completely transform any room by breathing new life into it. Keep an eye out for deals during the holidays for the best sales on supplies and paint. 

Prep is king! Make sure you wash and prime your walls before you paint. This will help with fewer coats of paint, which is more expensive than the primer. Keep colors neutral and use furnishings for your pop of color.

Always remember to check with your landlord or lease agreement to find out if there are any restrictions on paint palettes. If the color is neutral or matches the rental’s palette, the landlord might not make you change it when you move out.

5. Upgrade to a new slipcover

You don’t need to go out and spend a bunch of money on a new sofa. Buy a new slipcover, throw blanket, and a few decorative pillows. A small investment for a huge change!

6. Add illusion with mirrors

Mirrors give rooms dimension and the illusions of them being bigger than they are. Place them in areas with low lighting or tight spaces. A large standup mirror can be leaned against the wall and prevent you from needing nails and damaging the walls. Plus, you can admire yourself head to toe when you leave the house.

7. Update your bedding

New, crisp, and clean sheets make for the most welcoming bed. Upgrade your old college sheets for a new set and a comfortable blanket. And don’t forget to make your bed every day, you’ll feel like you are staying in a hotel and set the tone for the day.  

8. Incorporate art

Clean walls with a few select pieces of art will make any room come alive. Head over to sites such as Etsy for custom pieces or major retailers like Art.com. Or you could opt to make your own art similar to these 21 DIY inexpensive wall art ideas. 

9. Get a statement rug

If you’re not loving the floors in your rental, consider finding a statement rug that fits your style. First, measure the space or use painter’s tape to lay out where you’d like the rug. This makes it easier to narrow down your options when searching. Check out eBay and HomeGoods, they always have killer deals on rugs. A good rug can give any room the character and color it needs.

10. Hang your own curtains

We can all agree, vertical blinds are probably the most unappealing window coverings ever. Blinds, in general, are a hassle that can get costly to replace because they break often. 

One way to combat the blind blues is to use curtains instead. They not only look better but, if you use blackout curtains you can keep out sunlight and heat. Don’t want to put holes in the walls for a curtain rod? Check out this DIY hack on putting up curtains using command hooks.

11. Give the kitchen some love 

Unless you are blessed with a beautifully updated kitchen, the odds that you’ll love everything about your rental kitchen are slim. If you are stuck with old dingy linoleum floors, add a runner rug to cover them up! Decorate with a few new kitchen accessories like fun salt & pepper shakers, wood cutting board, and stovetop teapot. Look into adding removable vinyl wallpaper for a new backsplash, if your landlord permits it. 

12. Go thrifting

There’s something thrilling about finding a pre-loved piece and making it your own. You can find unique furnishings at your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or garage sales.  Summertime is prime-time garage sale hopping! Write down some design ideas before you head out. This way you are prepared and inspired to find your “piece”. You can find old lamps and update them with new shades and paint the base.  Solid wood tables or dressers are the perfect finds for sanding and refinishing.

13. Invest in plants

Always keep something living like flowers or plants on display to bring the outdoors in. Not only will this add happiness and life to your home but, some plants are known to help with air purification. If you have pets, make sure they aren’t toxic to your furry friend.  

Savvy apartment upgrades on a budget

Upgrading your rental doesn’t need to require tons of money or construction skills. We all know that moving into a new place can become costly. If you keep it easy and renter-friendly, you change it as often as you’d like.

Consider shopping through the MoneyLion app and earning cashback rewards at merchants like Home Depot, Casper, and Wish. Or reserve your spot with our buy now pay later feature–Overtime.

If you find yourself running tight on cash, MoneyLion can help with your rental improvement needs. With Instacash you can get up to $250 instantly with 0% APR. Download the MoneyLion app today and get the cash you need in seconds! 

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