A Designer's Favourite Renter-Friendly DIYs

Overhaul your homes' design in a rent-friendly way.

Living in an apartment that’s under 700 sq ft can stifle any creative process, but the challenge to transform a small outdated urban apartment into a functional home that’s full of personality & style for a young professional without breaking the bank has been a fun project.

Previously rented by a tenant for 7 years, it was well-loved but outdated (See before pics below), It has been transformed into a sleek & modern home for my son, a young professional with sophisticated design sensibilities who works from home. A passion for animals, plants and colourful art, the backdrops of the rooms needed to be neutral to provide a dramatic aesthetic and offer durable, people and animal-friendly finishes for easy maintenance.

For renters wanting to rejuvenate, refresh and reimagine their apartment dwelling without breaking any tenant agreements or the bank, I have tips and tricks that can instantly transform ho-hum, cookie-cutter or outdated rental spaces into those that reflect the owners personal decor style and lifestyle.


The Kitchen: 

One of the easiest things renters can do is use Salton, Small countertop appliances designed for small places- there’s a single Coffee Maker, glass kettle, slim toaster and small blender.

Be sure to paint walls, cabinets and tile the backsplash, pictured below is a backsplash painted in the Benjamin Moore colour “Advance”. The other option is peel and stick or re-tile etc. Also accessorize the kitchen, add your personality and style into it with art, lighitng, linens, replaced hardware etc.!

You can also easily change out the lighting, in this kitchen we added a table lamp nearby to indicate the dining area of the small apartment. We also added new colourful stools with arms and some faux greenary tiles. As for the changing the flooring, the grout can either be cleaned (pictured below) or painted!

The Living Room: 

Adding an accent wall is a great eye-popping option. We went with a white brick mural from Mural Unique which was installed by Adrienne Scanlan from About Murals.

The brick wall is facing the wall with the television, add a mirror above the television to reflect the brick wall onto it’s parallel. Furnishing will be the biggest investment into this room; a tip for buying a sofa is to get the longest sofa you possibly could for the longest wall in your space as this is where your primary seating will be! A slipcovered sofa, like this one, are great if you have pets!

A glass-top coffee table is a great choice as it creates the illusion that there is more space. There are even coffee tables that can transform into a dining room table, like this one from Wayfair. These are great in super space spaces.

The Bedroom:

Always start with furniture as it is the biggest investment. Purchase a mattress, frame and headboard in the size that works for your space. The most important aspect of the bedroom is storage. Two small but attractive dressers (the ones below are from Wayfair) are much more functional than night stands in a small room. Nothing makes the space more efficient than when it is organized. Adding a TV into the bedroom creates an extra space to watch TV when you have guests staying over in the living room. Adding an electric fireplace below the TV just seals the deal!

For bedding make sure to buy the best quality that you can afford, you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping of course! A coverlet is much easier to change, wash and make than a duvet cover.

The Bathroom:

To create a fresh new bathroom, you can easily paint the walls, and also the floors! Painting the floors is a much better option for renters as you don’t need to tear any flooring out. These tiles were painted in Jet Black from Benjamin Moore. In addition, swapping out the vanity can make a huge difference as it can improve the aesthetic while adding more storage options. Don’t forget new lighting and a better faucet and Voila! A new bathroom. We got the vanity, faucets and hardware from Home Depot.