Posted May 1, 2015

8 DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters

If you want to love apartment living but need to stay on a realistic budget, you need to make your existing apartment into a home you love even more.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters

Most folks don’t realize that DIY projects aren’t just for homeowners; a bit of that can-do Do It Yourself attitude, a few pennies here and there, and a good helping of elbow grease can breathe new life into most any apartment.

Here are a few ideas to kick start your own DIY home improvement projects.

1. Add Some Window Dressing

You can really change the vibe of a room with some simple window updates. Find some pretty sheer white drapes that let in the light, and frame those with elegant curtains hung from hardware that matches your décor aesthetic.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Add Some Window Dressing

If you want to improve a bad view, consider adding some potted plants or flowers in the window.

2. Embrace the Existing Space

 If your apartment lacks adequate closet space, don’t try to force the closets to work overtime. Build exposed shelves, get bins and baskets, and let storage be part of the overall design. The Container Store and Ikea are great resources for this project. 

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Embrace the Existing Space

3. Hardware Does Wonders

You’ll be pleasantly surprised what swapping out the knobs and handles on drawers and cabinets can do to transform your kitchen, bathroom, and more. Make sure you get your landlords written permission before changing out hardware.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Hardware Does Wonders

4. Minimize Bathroom Clutter

Few things about a home are worse than a cluttered, dirty bathroom. If you’re tight for storage space, minimize what you keep in there, and move other items into a different, less cramped part of the apartment.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Minimize Bathroom Clutter

You can designate a basket to come with you at shower or makeup time and leave only necessities in the bathroom, like your toothbrush, soap, and toilet paper. 

5. Brighten Things Up

 If it’s dreary outside, it doesn’t mean you have to have a dreary vibe indoors too. Make sure you have light bulbs that put off bright light that mimics the sun’s natural spectrum. These bulbs can help bolster your mood and energy levels and keep you on a healthy rest/waking schedule.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Brighten Things Up

6. Put Your Furniture to Work

When you’re limited on space, it makes sense to choose furniture with double, or even triple, uses. Myriad ottomans have great storage space and you can get coffee tables with drawers and shelves for additional storage.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Put Your Furniture to Work

If you need to raise your bed to put drawers under it, there are blocks you can install underneath it. You might even consider a loft bed with a desk underneath or a standing desk to maximize storage and fitness at the same time.

7. Rethink Your Rooms

The only two rooms in your home that are defined are the kitchen and bathroom. From there, you can decide which rooms serve which purpose.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Rethink Your Rooms


If you cherish a home office more than a large bedroom, put your bed in the smaller one and set up your desk in the master suite. It’s all about making your space meet your personal needs. 

8. Secure Your Space

Your apartment should be a safe place and you can help keep it that way with a security system. There are easy-to-install alarm systems on the market that are made for apartments, many of which are DIY. You can customize the system to best fit the needs of your apartment, so it gives you optimal security.

8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters - Secure Your Space

Best of all, there are wireless security systems, so you won’t have to drill holes in the wall to install it (this means a happy landlord) and you can take the system with you if you move.

Try out some of these DIY home improvement projects to help make your apartment a space you can relax in and enjoy.

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8 Popular DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters

Elli Bishop


Elli Bishop is a writer and safety expert from SafeWise is a community-focused security organization committed to increasing the safety, awareness, and preparedness of renters, homeowners, and the community as a whole. Compare various DIY security system solutions in San Francisco to find an affordable solution for your place!

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2 responses to “8 DIY Home Improvement Projects for Renters”

  1. Dan Grahovac says:

    We just moved into a smaller home due to being relocated with my job. Your #7 tip about re-thinking rooms is great. We had to do that in a big way since our space is limited. Great article btw.

  2. Jolie Wang says:

    I love the hide space idea. This post is really useful. Thank you so much. Keep posting more.

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