Rental living offers numerous benefits and perks over owning a home, but the flexibility to personalize your Boston apartment isn’t one of them. Nothing beats the feeling of making a rented space your own. Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t make your apartment feel like home. Luckily, there are a few ways to improve your apartment without stressing out your landlord or, worse, having to pay for it when you move out. Try these décor hacks and tricks to spruce up your rented space.
1. Hang Your Favorite Plants
Adding your favorite indoor plants in your apartment is a great way to bring an apartment to life and make it your own. But sometimes to hang a plant, you have to put a big hole in the wall our drill into a stucco ceiling to hang a hook- and your landlord probably won’t love that. There is a way to avoid this: just use a tension rod! You can hang a few plants over windows using these, adding privacy to your
home while also making the apartment feel cool and relaxing. Plants have the ability to fill a home with positive energy, and now you can hang a bunch without putting holes in the wall!
In the event that a tension rod doesn’t work, you can always try to give your landlord or property manager a call and ask if they will work with you to carefully place some hooks or possibly a shelf with nice plants on them. Many landlords like plants in their apartments because it makes the property look nice and makes it easier to rent in later on as they show it when you decide you are moving out. In a tight apartment market such as Boston, your property will be shown while you are living there, so don’t be afraid to let the landlord know it will help with the future rental of the place!
2. Get a Wall Decal
Wall decals are a great way to add some of your personality to your apartment. The best part about them is they are not permanent. You can find some beautiful decorative decals online that are inexpensive, beautiful, and get shipped right to your door. They are easy to install, and easy to take down when it’s time to move out. Consider looking on Etsy and Pinterest for some decal ideas, and let your imagination fly!
3. Create a “Feature Wall”
You can revamp your cookie-cutter apartment with a unique feature wall decorated in a manner that stands out and grabs your attention immediately. Multi-color walls and bold color styles are hot in current interior design trends, after a few years of neutrals taking over. A couple of coats of paint in a bold color on a single wall can transform a boring apartment into a trendy pad bursting with character. Be sure to check with your landlord before you paint the wall, and be prepared to paint it back when your lease is up.
Nearly all landlords will require you to paint the wall color back to the original shade upon your move out so that there is consistency throughout the entire apartment. It’s a lot easier to do if it’s just one wall. However, landlords have been known to allow your custom work to stay in place in the event that the future tenant really likes your style! It never hurts to talk with an incoming tenant that likes your place and ask them if they can talk to the landlord about keeping the colors. That is less work for you on the way out!
4. Picture Galleries Personalize Your Space
Another great and inexpensive way to transform a large wall space is to hang a picture gallery. You can easily print and frame some of your favorite pictures from Facebook or from your phone, and then hang them on the wall in a beautifully arranged pattern. You can go with a square grid of 8” x 11” portrait frames, or you could print different sizes and piece together an irregular pattern. There are tools online to help you do this. Nothing will make your apartment feel like home like filling it with some of your favorite memories.
5. Hang a Large Mirror
Mirrors are perfect for small spaces. They reflect light and make your apartment appear larger than its actual size. With rising real estate prices in Boston and micro-apartments gaining in popularity, this is becoming a very popular way to accent an apartment and make it look bigger. In essence, it’s like adding an extra window to your room. Large mirrors can be bought for under $100 at many home goods stores, and you can customize the look by selecting a frame that matches the rest of the apartment decor.
6. Replace the Toilet Seat
Okay, hear me out on this one. A lot of apartments in Boston are old. Landlords often overlook the toilet seat when they are filling an apartment with new renters. You want a clean and comfortable commode, especially if you like to have guests over.
You can replace a worn-out toilet seat in your Boston rental apartment for less than $50 and 60 minutes of your time. It easy and affordable, and it will make your bathroom feel new and less lived-in. Confirm with your landlord before you replace anything just to be sure your not overstepping your bounds. Most will not object and actually be happy that you offered your own money to upgrade the apartment. Many will even offer to take care of the repair for you. You can even use this to haggle a bit, and possibly get a discount on your rent.
You may not be able to do a full remodeling of your apartment, but these hacks and tricks to improve your apartment will transform your living space and allow you to add your own personality to your rental.
7. Flexible Spaces/ Furniture
Particularly when it comes to small apartments, multi- purpose furniture is becoming more and more popular. This upgrade to your space can also move with you when the time comes! These pieces range from lamps that double as bookshelves, to collapsible dinner tables that double as consoles. This also allows you to move your furniture around regularly, and make sure you never get bored of your space!
8. Peel and Stick Tiles for the Kitchen
If you want to give your kitchen aesthetic a Pinterest- worthy boost, peel and stick tiles may be a good option for you. While you may not be able to upgrade the appliances, or need to, you can give your kitchen a “temporary” backsplash. They have modern designs like white marble, as well as funkier, colorful designs. You can truly customize it to your tastes. As an added bonus, it can protect the actual kitchen walls from oil splatter, cooking spills, etc. Just make sure you check the reviews of the brands, measure the tile size, and to remove them as well as any residue upon move out. As always, check in with your property manager or landlord to make sure there are no conflicts.
9. Ask Your Landlord to Replace a Couple of the Older Light Fixtures
Asking your landlord or property manager about upgrading a few older light fixtures is often not as bad as it seems. This especially applies to longer term tenants that have had a great history of rental payments and keeping the apartment in great condition. Many landlords realize that after decade or so of certain light fixtures they can often look tired and dated. Some landlords are actually glad that you asked because they had been thinking about it but either got distracted with other more pressing issues and/or didn’t want to bother you. The old saying that it never hurts to ask stands true. You can also explain to the landlord that this improvement could also bring them more rent when you move out. It’s probably best to ask over the phone and send a picture of the current light fixtures and perhaps even some upgraded ones you had in mind to make it easier for the landlord or property manager to make a decision.
There are many renter- friendly upgrades for your Boston apartment that your landlord can approve of. If you’re not sure whether a specific change is allowed, communication is key- reach out to them and make sure they’re aware of your plans. You deserve a home you love, and your security deposit doesn’t have to take a hit. However, if you think your space is beyond minor upgrades we can find you a new place you’ll love- guaranteed. We look forward to working with you.
Published January 18, 2023
Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.