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8 Ideas for Sprucing Up a Rental

Renting a place may not sound appealing to the individualist who really wants a unique home, but sometimes you have no choice while living the nomadic military lifestyle. Making permanent changes in a rental home or apartment is a definite no-go, and the last thing you want to be faced with during a surprise PCS is having to repaint all the bedrooms back to beige. Fear not! Here’s a roundup of eight amazing things you can do to spruce up your pad without sacrificing your security deposit!

Temporary Flooring

Have you seen the selection of adhesive flooring these days at your nearest big-box chain or even on Amazon? Dream away! Whether it’s retro black and white checkerboard in the kitchen or mosaic patterns in the bathroom, sticker tiles are easy to install and easy to remove without harming the flooring underneath. There are also options for carpet lovers and faux hardwood that don’t require demo.


Greenery breathes life into any space, not to mention the added health benefits of cleaning the air! Cover up unsightly architectural details (like those oddly placed nooks that were all the rage in the ‘90s) or dated finishes with some hearty pothos, or create a feature wall with air plants or succulents. Every room of the house can benefit from some plant residents—just don’t forget to water them!

Pro Tip: If you’re PCSing into a new home, don’t forget to check the local Facebook pages for people who are leaving and looking to rehome their beloved plants!

Ditch the Nails

Now’s the time to get creative when hanging all of your artwork and photos. When it comes to older homes (particularly those with plaster walls), you might have restrictions on whether or not you can hang things. Or no matter where you rent, you’ll likely need to fill in nail holes when you leave. Keep it simple and embrace the full line of Command Strip products. Also check out designer tacks, clips, and even picture rails for alternative ways to display your decor.

Cover Those White Walls

So you might not be allowed to paint (or want to bother painting twice), but you still have options when it comes to those überboring white walls! Have you thought of a bold pattern on some temporary wallpaper? What about hanging fabric to cover the walls? Trust me, it’s a thing. You can either tack it to the walls at the ceiling or over-extend your curtain space to add more drama in the room. Either way, fabric or wallpaper is sure to bring warmth, dimension, and texture to the room.


Pegboards aren’t just for garages any more! Try a pegboard in the kitchen to hang utensil holders, spices, or even barware. Remember the plant wall we mentioned earlier? A pegboard would be a perfect way to hang all those adorable succulents or herbs.

Lighting Fixtures

Almost nothing dates a home more than old, out-of-style lighting fixtures. This fix could be a little more costly than some others, but it really packs the most bang for your buck. And think about it. You could theoretically transport your favorite dining room chandelier from base to base with you (just mark it on the “High Value Item” list to be safe). Install the fixture at your new place and be sure to keep the original somewhere safe and sound for when you leave and need to swap it out again.


Door knobs, cabinet knobs, and drawer pulls are some of the last things you’d think would make a difference, but swap them out and see how you feel about it then! Replacing cheap brass doorknobs with updated black or even glass knobs can add a level of detail to your home that you never thought possible. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are in use every single day and are great places to make small improvements.


It’s tough to match rugs to every new space, but you can actually get really creative with this. Think about buying multiple rugs in different patterns to create a larger layout, or running several down a hallway or staircase. This will not only save you money by allowing you to avoid buying a custom size for a temporary abode, but it will also add a really fun boho vibe to your place. Not to mention, rugs add warmth and continuity to your home in a really special way.

So even if your next move doesn’t afford you the opportunity to purchase a home, you still deserve to make it feel like yours! Try these tips for adding some character to a rental.