5 Landlord-Approved Apartment Updates You Can Do Yourself

All you need is a little creativity and some elbow grease to make a rental your own. We asked a few rental experts to weigh in on some common landlord-approved apartment updates you can do yourself.
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This post originally appeared on Roomi

When you own property, you have free reign over any changes you want to make to your living space. Even if you want to gut the entire thing and start from scratch, your home is your oyster. Not so for the apartment you share with your roommate, which comes with a long list of rules of things you can and can't change. But that doesn't mean you can't have any fun decorating your new place. All you need is a little creativity and some elbow grease to make a rental your own. We asked a few rental experts to weigh in on some common landlord-approved apartment updates you can do yourself.

1. Paint

The majority of apartment rentals come painted entirely white, which can be pretty boring -- but luckily it's an easy update. Painting your rented apartment is often fair game, says principal broker and CEO of Love Where You Live Realty, Mike Mishkin.

"You can usually paint your apartment as long as you restore it to its original color when leaving," he says. "It's one way to really customize your space."

If you're planning to paint your place a darker color, be aware that you might need several coats of white paint to restore it back to its original shade.

2. Light Fixtures

Particularly if you and your roommate live in a pre-war building, your apartment's original light fixtures might not be the brightest due to their outdated designs. Light is especially important in small city apartments, so if you find yourself lacking sufficient light, you might want to consider this relatively inexpensive update.

"Light fixtures are pretty easy to replace," Mishkin says. "But always keep the original ones, so you can replace them when you leave."

3. Shower Heads

It's not often that landlords will update bathrooms, so don't be surprised if your shower head leaves you feeling underwhelmed. Mineral deposit build-up can affect the pressure and leave you feeling a little icky -- but again, it's an easy update to make.

"Update your shower head with a newer model," says Devin O' Brien of Zumper. "Showerheads are fairly inexpensive and can make a world of difference to the water flow of your shower."

Most times all you'll need is a wrench and some plumbers tape, which you can get from your local hardware store.

4. Removable Wallpaper/Wall Art

If painting your walls is too daunting of a task, another way to breathe life into your apartment without damaging the space is to opt for removeable wallpaper or wall art, O'Brien suggests. Self-adhesive wallpaper is becoming a new trend in the home design space, from high-end decor stores like CB2 to more affordable options like this line from Target. Still too much work? Try out an easy gallery wall DIY project, which will allow you and your roommate to inject a bit of your own personalities into the shared space.

5. Window Treatments

Whether your blinds have seen better days or you want to hide the ugly crown molding around your windows, windows are another place where a fresh update can immediately revive the look of your apartment. To create the illusion of larger windows and taller ceilings, try extra-long curtains. Just make sure you hold on to your old blinds or curtains, and reinstall them when your lease ends.

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