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5 ways to modify a temporary space

As a longtime apartment dweller I know all too well the struggle to turn a blah space into a homey one. Landlords typically have rules about painting and putting holes in the walls. That doesn’t mean you are destined to live in space that doesn’t feel like yours until you buy.

Here are some of my favorite ways to update an apartment without breaking the rules.

Contact paper

This stuff has come a long way since the days of the bright yellow sunflowers that lined my bathroom shelves. Now you can get contact paper in pretty much any color under the sun!

My personal favorites are the metallic and chalkboard varieties. In an old apartment that had a kitchen in desperate need of an upgrade I used both of these. The metallic paper was cut to size and used to fashion a beautiful backsplash that added a higher-end feel. With the chalkboard contact paper I covered the tops of the old oak cabinet doors.

Tip: When covering cabinets I recommend testing a small corner to make sure nothing peels off.

Removable wallpaper

Where has this stuff been all my life? There are so many options now in great colors, and prints. From jackalopes to beautiful bold florals and everything in between, there is something for everyone.

Tip: If you have textured walls removable wallpaper might have a difficult time sticking. Try a sample-sized swatch first.

Cabinet upgrades

As I mentioned above, you can add some pizzazz to your cabinets with contact paper. But here are two more of my favorite ways to fix a cabinet:

  1. Take the doors off! Get the trendy open top cabinet look. Add a splash of color to the shelves with some contact paper that brightens up your space or compliments your dishes.
  2. Upgrade the hardware. You will be surprised how much switching out the old brass knobs for something more modern will make a difference.

Tip: Put any hardware you remove in a plastic bag and store somewhere safe.

Floor upgrades

Believe it or not there are now vinyl floor decals that you can apply on top of existing floors. These can be pricey, so they might be something to consider if you plan to sign a long-term lease. You might also want to factor in the time that it will take to clean up any sticky residue.

Tip: Consider the effort it will take to remove.

Removable hooks 

I feel like there is no end to what these things can do! They can hang pictures, mirrors, and even curtains. These have been a workhorse in every apartment I have ever lived in, and the college dorms before that.

Tip: Get a variety of sizes.

Apartment living does not mean you have to squash your style. Plus now that you know about all these modifications you might consider a place you previously discounted. I know I certainly have and it has resulted in me getting some great deals on in demand locations. By choosing a unit that hadn’t been upgraded, I saved $300 a month and had a place that felt more like me.