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Renter-Friendly DIY Apartment Makeover: Easy Home Upgrades

Renting an apartment vs. buying a home has its pros and cons. However, one thing that many renters wish for is a space that they can customize and make their own. Well, just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a DIY apartment makeover. Today, we’ll go over some ways to make your rental look better, some DIY apartment makeover ideas, and how to get your security deposit back at the end of your lease. Read along to learn helpful tips and tricks for renters.

Contents of This Article: 

Can You Customize a Rental Property?

When moving into a new rental property, your first instinct may be to customize the place and make it your own. However, it’s essential to review your lease agreement first to see what changes you can make. Unfortunately, most landlords and Baltimore property managers have rules regarding what you can and what you can’t do while decorating your rental. 


While your limitations may be frustrating, it’s important to remember that the property doesn’t belong to you. As such, you don’t have full control over what it looks like. For instance, most landlords won’t allow you to paint the walls, change the flooring, or install permanent fixtures. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your rental property and make it more your style. For instance, there’s usually nothing wrong with hanging wall art or adding decorative furniture that suits your style. Next, we’ll go over some fun ways to make your rental look better. 

How Can You Make Your Rental Look Better?

While your landlord may not let you paint the walls in your rental, there are plenty of ways to make your space better for you. For instance, you can make your rental look better by implementing various designs and decor strategies. 

  • Lighting- The right lighting can drastically improve the look and feel of a space. So, you may consider adding floor or table lamps to brighten up dark corners.
  • Furniture Arrangement- Arrange your furniture in a way that maximizes your space. Try to avoid blocking natural light sources or pathways.
  • Curtains or Blinds- Change the look of your space with stylish curtains or blinds that match your decor. This can add a more personalized, polished look to your rental space.
  • Plants and Greenery- Incorporate indoor plants to bring life and freshness to your rental. Plants also improve indoor air quality and create a more inviting atmosphere.
  • Color Coordination- Choosing a color scheme that compliments your decor and furniture can help create a cohesive and well-coordinated look in your rental.
  • Personal Touches- Display personal items like pictures, artwork, and souvenirs to make your space feel more like home.
  • DIY Projects- Consider small DIY projects like painting furniture, creating custom shelving, or making your own artwork to add a personalized touch.

6 Renter-Friendly DIY Apartment Makeover Ideas

If you’re looking for ways to customize your rental property, you’re not alone. However, finding apartment-friendly reversible changes that align with your lease agreement can be difficult. After all, you must ensure that you can return the property to its original condition by the time you move out. That said, here are some DIY apartment makeover ideas that may work for your rental property.


  1. Removable Wallpaper or Decals
  2. Temporary Backsplash
  3. Furniture Painting or Refinishing
  4. Light Fixture Upgrades
  5. Customizable Room Dividers
  6. Use Creative Storage Solutions

Removable Wallpaper or Decals

Removable wallpaper or decals are an excellent way to transform the look of your apartment without making any permanent changes. You can find them in various patterns, colors, and styles, allowing you to customize your space to your liking. Whether you want to add a pop of color to an accent wall or create a subtle backdrop for your decor, removable wallpaper gives a versatile and easily reversible solution. Then, when it’s time to move out, you can simply peel it off without leaving any residue or damage to the walls. 

Temporary Backsplash

A temporary backsplash is a great DIY apartment makeover idea, especially for those who want to spruce up their kitchen or bathroom. For instance, peel-and-stick tiles or decals can mimic the look of a traditional tile backsplash without needing permanent installation. Not only does it add a stylish element to your space, but it also can protect the walls from splashes and spills. When it’s time to move out, you can typically remove the temporary backsplash without a trace. 

Furniture Painting or Refinishing

If you have old or worn-out furniture, giving it a fresh coat of paint or refinishing it can bring new life into your space. This DIY project allows you to customize the colors and finishes to match your decor style. Whether you’re going for a distressed vintage look or a modern, sleek finish, revamping your furniture is a budget-friendly way to upgrade your space and make it feel like new. 

Light Fixture Upgrades

Swapping out standard light fixtures with more stylish or unique options can drastically change the ambiance of your apartment. Whether you go for a statement pendant light in the living room or a sophisticated chandelier in the dining area, upgrading your lighting can give your space new focal points and enhance the overall aesthetic. Additionally, this DIY project is relatively easy and can significantly impact the vibe of your space. 

Customizable Room Dividers

Room dividers provide a practical and stylish solution for defining different areas within an open-concept apartment. DIY room dividers can be made from a variety of materials, like bookshelves, hanging curtains, or screens. By customizing a room divider, you can tailor it to fit your space and design preferences. This not only adds functionality but also contributes to your apartment’s overall decor and layout. 

Use Creative Storage Solutions

Maximizing storage in an apartment is crucial for keeping your space organized and clutter-free. DIY storage solutions may include built-in shelving, floating cabinets, under-bed storage, and custom closets. By getting creative with storage, you can free up floor space, making your apartment feel more spacious and organized. Additionally, this DIY apartment makeover idea combines functionality with design, allowing you to optimize every square inch of your rental. 

Will You Get Your Security Deposit Back?

Nobody wants to lose their security deposit at the end of their lease term. However, it usually depends on how well you treat the property and follow the lease agreement. Sometimes, making DIY changes to a rental property can impact whether you get your security deposit back. That said, here are some important considerations. 

  • Review the Lease- Before making any changes, review your lease agreement carefully. Some leases may have specific clauses regarding what alterations are allowed.


  • Ask for Permission- It’s important to always seek permission from your landlord before modifying the rental. This helps ensure that both parties are on the same page.
  • Document the Condition- Take thorough photographs or videos of the property’s original condition before you make any changes. This can serve as evidence for any disputes about damages later on.
  • Keep Original Fixtures- If you plan on making changes, make sure you store any original fixtures, hardware, or items you replace in a safe place. You’ll need to reinstall them before moving out.
  • Prepare to Revert Changes- As you approach your lease’s end, consider reverting any changes you’ve made back to the original condition.

Ultimately, the likelihood of getting your security deposit back after a DIY apartment makeover depends on a few things. For instance, when you move, you’ll have to communicate with your landlord, make only reasonable changes, and return the property to its original condition. 

Approve Your Decor With Your Landlord

If you’re thinking of DIY apartment makeover ideas, it’s important to discuss them with your landlord before making any changes to your rental. Start by looking over your rental agreement to see what it says about painting, using wallpaper, or other rules regarding apartment decor. Then, review your proposed ideas with your landlord to see if they apply. 

Need More Advice? contact us today!

On the other hand, if you’re a landlord having trouble keeping up with all your rental units, it may be time for professional help. At Bay Property Management Group, we take care of the entire rental process, from marketing to tenant screening, maintenance, and more. We offer services for rentals in and around Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. So, if you’re looking for someone to keep track of your properties, contact BMG today to learn more about our comprehensive rental management services.