Looking to turn your rental apartment into your own personal space? It can be tough, especially when you’re limited by what your community will and will not allow. No one wants to have to give up their deposit because of unapproved changes or damage to their place. So here are the 12 best DIY apartment decorating hacks from McKinley Apartments for making temporary improvements to your apartment that will make you love living there. From small apartment hacks to tips that anyone can use, you’ll find great inspiration to make your home your own.
1. Build a Temporary Backsplash
Yes, it is possible to create a completely temporary backsplash that will look as permanent as stone. Tons of companies now offer options for temporary backsplashes that, when linked together, look like actual tile or stone to give your home a pop of texture and design. It’s one of the most powerful and easy apartment hacks to make your home your own in one of the areas you use most—your kitchen. The best part? A temporary backsplash is relatively cheap, a few dollars per square foot.
How do I build storage space in a small apartment?
2. Nab a Storage Cart for Your Kitchen
Looking for some space saving hacks to extend your kitchen storage and countertop space? Installing new cabinets or a new island probably isn’t an option in your temporary rental apartment. But what you can get yourself is a wheeled storage cart, which is a stylish farmhouse-style way of extending the storage space in your kitchen in a flexible way. It can fit at the end of a countertop or alongside a row of cabinets—wherever you need a little extra bonus space. That’s what we call a great temporary solution for making your apartment a home, not just a living space.
3. Build a Sliding Shelf for Underused Spaces
Finding creative storage solutions for your home isn’t easy—it can be frustrating when you begin accumulating kitchen supplies, canned goods, and spices while you run out of places to store them. But there is one underused space that often doesn’t get taken advantage of—the space between the side of your refrigerator and the wall or cabinet beside it.
You can create a great space saving hack by building a sliding shelf structure with some wood planks, nails, and cheap caster wheels– all items you can buy at the hardware store. That will allow you to build a shelving unit that’s narrow enough to fit between your fridge and the wall so that you can slide it out when necessary to access your goods.
4. Using Shelving and Furniture to Create Rooms
If you live in a studio where your living space, bed, and kitchen/dining area are all located in one big space, you might feel like there’s no separation between the different aspects of your life. But it doesn’t have to be that way, thanks to some clever studio apartment hacks. By getting creative with furniture placement, you can create “rooms” even without actual walls.
One of the best ways to do this is with shelving or cube storage. By placing a cube storage unit as a partition between two spaces, you can create visual separation without making the space feel cramped—being able to see through the cubes helps with allowing your space to still feel open.
5. Use Floating Shelves to Free Up Floor Space
Need storage space but don’t want to use up too much of your floorspace? One of our favorite studio apartment hacks is to embrace the power of floating shelves in unexpected spaces. In fact, one of the most creative and stylish options is to install small floating shelves in lieu of bedside tables. This is not only a creative way to open up your floor and make your space seem larger, it also looks modern and chic as well. Installing floating shelves is easy, and you can find plenty of quick how-to guides online to help.
How do I make more space in my room?
6. Embrace Multipurpose Pieces
Living in a small apartment isn’t always easy—there’s not much wiggle room when it comes to using your space effectively. Fortunately, there are more and more options and products designed specifically for people in small spaces.
One of those trends? Using furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes. For example, a bench for seating that also includes storage inside. Or a work desk that can be extended for use as a dining table. Pieces like these maximize the usability of your apartment and make your space more flexible, so that you can customize it to your personal needs.
7. Do a Hardware Swap
One very easy, inexpensive, and impactful approach to apartment hacks is to update your rental and personalize it to your tastes is to play with the hardware. We’re talking about cabinet handles, pulls, and other items like that. You can buy these at your hardware store for relatively cheap, and they can be easily swapped out for what’s there. It causes no damage to the cabinets or doors themselves and instantly updates the quality of the décor to whatever you want it to be.
The best part? Whenever you move out, you just swap back in the original hardware and keep the hardware you bought for your next home.
8. Add Removable Wallpaper
Wallpaper has long been known as a decidedly permanent house update. But over the last few years, tons of brands have come out with fully removable wallpaper that does no damage to the walls and can instantly bring life and personality to your rental. From bright floral prints to more subtle and modern touches, you can find a removable wallpaper to suit your personal style and add splashes of your personality to your rental. It will make it feel more like a home and less like a temporary living space, making this one of the best DIY apartment hacks.
9. Unlock the Power of Wall Art
Never underestimate the power of art to transform your space and make it your own. Spend some time looking for prints and pieces that reflect your personality. Are you more of a farmhouse-style, bright and impressionistic person? Or do you prefer the moody and striking lines of modern art? Whatever your tastes may be, finding art that matches them and hanging it tastefully around your apartment is a great way to show off who you are and make your apartment into a home.
Plus, art is a great décor piece that doesn’t take up floor space. It will add style and color to your walls without cluttering up your apartment, which is often a concern when space is at a premium.
10. Try Out Stylish Wall Decals
Another great wall decoration that’s perfectly temporary is the removable wall decal. These can be everything from inspirational words to stylish silhouettes or even patterns. And more and more companies are creating fully removable options that will stay in place but won’t damage the walls when it’s time to move out and get your deposit back. Whether you want to place them all over your apartment for a dramatic statement or simply add touches and flourishes here and there is completely up to you. But whatever you do, just make it your own!
11. Add Personalized Lighting
Many rentals and apartments come standard with pretty basic, non-flattering lighting. While you might not necessarily want to swap out an entire lighting fixture for risk of damaging the apartment and losing your deposit, you can very easily add lighting of your own through floor lamps, desk lamps, and other creative solutions. Shifting from relying on overhead lighting to lamps can bring a warm, flattering and lived-in vibe to your apartment that will make it feel more like your own personal space. Besides—everyone looks great in warm, low light.
12. Talk to Your Community Manager
Our last tip—if you’ve always wanted to do something in your apartment, from painting a wall to replacing hardware, don’t be afraid to reach out to your community manager. You might spend weeks wishing you could make a change only to find out that your landlord was happy to allow it. Remember—it’s in your communities best interest for you to love the space you’re living in, because it makes it more likely that you’ll stay and continue to pay rent. It’s much more expensive for communities to track down a new resident than it is to allow a current resident to make a minor change that will make them want to stay.
That concludes our list of the 12 best DIY apartment hacks– now go and make your apartment your own with some great small apartment hacks! And if you’re still waiting on the apartment itself for an apartment, get started on your apartment search today!