Oh, those rental unit floors!
Floor décor may seem as permanent as a wall, but just because you don't own your home doesn't mean you have to live with bad laminate, splintering hardwood or pastel tiles circa 1984 -- or cover every inch with cheap rugs.
We won't lie: You will have to spend some money if you want flooring options crafted specifically to your rental that you may not be able to use it at your next place.
For example, interior designer Daniel Kanter spent $250 on the kitchen floor in his rental.
"After living with this floor for a year and a half and figuring I might well live with it for another five or 10, this seemed like my best option," Kanter wrote in the Manhattan Nest blog.
What he got was a floor that looks better--and cleans up easier--than his original.
Flooring Options for Your Rental
1. Rubberize it
Take a tip from Kanter and buy enough rubberized flooring to cover an area. You can choose colors and place rugs on top.
This would likely work best covering hardwoods, tile or laminate.
Keeping the rubber down can be tricky, but tucking it under appliances or cabinets works.
2. Canvas floor cloths
"The kitchen floor is among the most difficult floors to change in a rental property, since it gets tons of foot traffic and is home to lots of messy activities," says Liz Gray, senior editor of HGTV.com.
Canvas can be wiped clean and comes pre-painted or blank, she adds: "Think of a canvas floor cloth as a rug that can be wiped clean with a damp mop and customized to fit your space."
If you've got a steady hand, you can paint your own.
3. Not-your-bathroom tiles
Interlocking tiles go down quickly and easily over a floor.
Inexpensive flooring options full of color can make a kid's room pop. Utilitarian rubber tiles abound at home stores like Lowe's.
For renters with deeper pockets who want a more wood-like look, try tiles that sport wood grain designs.
Gray remains a fan of square wood tiles that can pop into place.
4. Carpet tiles
In high-traffic areas, the ability to wash soiled carpet tiles in the sink--or replace them as needed--is priceless. (This writer, with a young child and a dog, has Flor tiles in her hallway and living room.)
You could also line a long, narrow hallway with an awkward bend for far less than the $300 runners found online.
The tiles can be cut, have backings attached, and stay in place with stickers--so you can go wall-to-wall without a single tack.
5. Carpet remnants
These are the last pieces off a roll of of carpeting that a retailer or manufacturer sells at a discount.
You're stuck with the size--since you're picking at leftovers, you can't ask for just a foot or two more.
But if you can find a big enough remnant--or you're trying to cover a small enough room--and you've got furniture along the edges to help hold it down, remnants can offer budget flooring options for an easy palette change.
6. Floating hardwood
This one gets tricky, especially if your floor has carpeting.
This flooring option involve boards that snap together and lock across a floor without needing nails or glue to secure them.
Conceivably, a renter could measure and snap into place an entire floor over carpeting. But it raises questions about moisture that could seep beneath the boards and potentially damage the carpet.
You may want to check with the landlord before attempting this one.