By: Alex Robinson
Renting a new home or apartment can be an invigorating opportunity to start anew -- but moving all your crap out of boxes and into piles on the floor is only the first step (fortunately, we've got you covered with a bunch of apps that can help you with the moving process). Eventually, though, you'll face the grim reality that your bare, colorless walls are morbidly depressing, you have no shelves for said piles of crap, and -- unless your pad is newly renovated -- your bathroom's going to need some upgrades.
It sounds like a daunting and time-consuming process, but it doesn't have to be. These 12 easy hacks will help turn your new domicile into a place you'll be proud to call home... until your landlord raises the rent.
1. Use painter's tape to make your walls awesome
Materials needed: Painter's tape
Approximate time: One to two hours
Grab a roll of painter's tape, try to remember the basic geometry you assuredly forgot, and get to creating something incredibly unique and awesome, like the wall pictured, or this one.
2. Set the mood with a light dimmer
Materials needed: Dimmer, voltage tester, screwdriver
Approximate time: 30-45 minutes
Although this seems moderately dangerous and frightening, it's actually super easy with the right tools (namely, a voltage tester). Here's the abridged version: turn off your circuit breaker, remove the old switch, check the wires with aforementioned voltage tester, install the new dimmer switch, screw on the faceplate, and voila. You can now ask, with full confidence, "shall we dim the lights?" But you probably shouldn't.
Credit: Flickr/Umberto Rotundo
3. Ditch your old shower head for an upgrade
Materials needed: New shower head, sealant tape, wrench (possibly)
Approximate time: 15 minutes
A new shower head will change your life. You know those really crappy, ubiquitous shower heads that spray a powerful stream onto your ceiling, your shower curtain, your foot, and sometimes your body? They suck. Upgrade to an adjustable seven-setting massager, and never look back. Worried about installation? Don't be. You just unscrew the old one, throw on some pipe thread tape, and screw on the new one. The results aren't unlike a Pantene Pro-V commercial.
4. Install a tap light, never stub your toe again
Materials needed: Tap light, common sense
Approximate time: Three seconds
Throw an inexpensive tap light up in a dark hallway (or closet) and never again wake up your roommates/significant other when you stub your toe and start sobbing uncontrollably. No tools required, just some batteries and common sense.
5. Hanging strips > nails
Materials needed: Hanging strips
Approximate time: One to two minutes
Use hanging strips instead of nails. Hanging strips are great tools for throwing up a couple of pictures here and there and won't leave any mess behind. Seriously, they won't even pull off the paint when you have to remove them. Peel, stick, hang, high-five.
6. Install custom shelves that look professional
Price: $20-$? (depending on how many shelves you want)
Materials needed: IKEA brackets, wood, wood stain
Approximate time: One to two hours hours installation (the stain will take a few hours to set)
There are lots of directions you can take when installing shelves, but a personal favorite of mine is to measure where you want the shelves, buy the wood (and have it cut), stain it, and then use simple metal shelf brackets to create a really professional look that installs quickly and looks great.
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