Painting furniture with teal paint

DIY Apartment Projects

Updated November 1, 2021 . AmFam Team

Want to spruce up your apartment without losing your security deposit? Learn about these DIY projects for renters that work for small budgets and spaces.

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How to Upgrade Your Apartment

Before you start any DIY project, big or small, it’s best to first double check with your landlord and lease. Read through your lease with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there aren’t any restrictions or rules against specific updates or changes. Reach out to your landlord and explain the projects you want to work on, especially if you’re unsure whether you can in your apartment. You might get approval to start your projects right away!

Apartment Upgrades for Your Living Space

There are many ways to make your apartment’s living room feel more comfortable and relaxing. Try taking on these DIY projects to add more life to your living space:

Paint some of your furniture

That boring colored end table or cabinet you have can really pop if you give it a fresh coat of paint. Choose a new color that goes with your apartment’s walls for some matching flair, or just choose a brighter, bolder hue. Following a how-to guide for beginners (Opens in a new tab) is a good place to start so you can learn the entire process and what type of paint, primer and topcoat to buy.

Reupholster an old chair

Is one of your favorite chairs also worn-out or falling apart? Don’t throw it out just yet — consider reupholstering it. This is the process of removing a piece of furniture’s old fabric and putting on new fabric, meaning lots of potential for personalizing an old piece of furniture and making it look brand new. The materials you’ll need won’t be too expensive, but you may want to invest in a nice pneumatic stapler. This guide can help you through the reupholstering process (Opens in a new tab).

Try removable wallpaper

You may not be able to paint your apartment’s walls, but there’s still a way to give them a different color or personality. Removable wallpaper comes in a variety of colors and patterns and sticks to your walls with a reusable adhesive. That means you can try a color or pattern out, and if you don’t like it, easily pull it down and try another.

Don’t want to take on a big project? Here are a few easy things you can add to your living space to really brighten it up and give it character:

  • Hang up some art
  • Cover old hardwood floors with a rug
  • Get a new window treatment

Apartment DIY Updates for Your Kitchen

Even if your apartment’s kitchen area has old or outdated appliances, there’s still ways to make it look new and unique. Take a look at these DIY kitchen projects:

Grow your own herbs

Literally spice up your kitchen by growing an herb garden. Herbs like basil, parsley and rosemary can thrive when grown indoors, just make sure to keep them near a window to maximize the sunlight they’ll need. Check out more tips for growing a garden in your apartment.

Use a temporary, stick-on backsplash

Backsplash is a great way to add style to your kitchen’s walls. However, crafting a backsplash using caulk may not be allowed in your apartment. That’s where stick-on tiles come in handy. Simply peel and stick these tiles wherever you want and pull them off when your lease is up.

Remove some cabinet doors

You’ll definitely need your landlord’s approval for this one, but opting to forgo your cabinet doors can make your kitchen look more open and vibrant. Removing the hinges on your cabinets shouldn’t take too long and will only require a drill or screwdriver. And if you’re not feeling it, simply screw the doors back into place.

Try these quick additions if you want to further upgrade your apartment’s kitchen:

  • Reorganize your kitchen to create more space
  • Cover countertops with contact paper
  • Build a wine rack

Apartment Projects for Your Bathroom

You may not think there are many ways to update your bathroom, but just a few minor changes can make it look cleaner and more modern.

Deep clean stained grout

Grout stains are an often-neglected bathroom menace, especially in apartments. Make your tile bathroom floor shine like new by taking baking soda and a toothbrush to your grout. Give it a good scrub, and you’ll be surprised by how much better it looks. Check out this guide for more tips on eliminating grout stains (Opens in a new tab).

Make your own towel hook

There are a lot of creative ways to hang up your towel and let it dry. With some wood and screws, you’ll have trendy new towel hooks in no time. Here’s how you can make your own DIY wooden towel hooks (Opens in a new tab). Don’t forget to pick up waterproof wood finish!

Get a new shower head

This is another one you’ll want to check with your landlord on, but a new shower head can make a huge difference. Do a little research and find one that has the features you want, and if possible, go for a more efficient model to potentially reduce your water bill. If you invest in a head you really love, bring it with you to your next home. Just remember to attach the original shower head before you leave.

There are a few quick ways to update your bathroom’s look too:

  • Pick out a bold and colorful shower curtain
  • Cover old tiles with bathmats
  • Update the light fixtures

DIY Apartment Projects for Your Bedroom

Make your bedroom a cozier and more comfortable place to sleep with these DIY projects:

Build your own nightstand

Building your own nightstand is a great alternative to buying one. This way you’ll have a lot of freedom in deciding the nightstand’s design, especially its height and number of shelves. You’ll need hardware, so be sure to pick up enough wood, nails and stain. Here are 15 DIY nightstand designs (Opens in a new tab) to consider.

Try a ceiling medallion decal

Make that boring light fixture or fan on your ceiling more eye-catching with a medallion decal. Like removable wallpaper, simply peel and press these decals onto your ceiling to instantly make it more visually appealing. They’re removable too, so take it down and try another design if you’d like.

Hang neon LED lights

The relaxed ambience of a dark room with neon LED lights can help your bedroom feel out of this world. Using either command strips, LED strip light mounting brackets (Opens in a new tab)or nails and a hammer, you can add neon string lights to your walls to give your space a bright glow. Another idea? Attach a stripe of neon LEDs to the underside of your bed, desk or dresser, or around the edges of picture frames, for a sleek, futuristic backlight.

Make your own throw pillow

A throw pillow can really make your bed or chair pop, especially if you make your own. There’s lots of different materials and designs to choose from, like using an old t-shirt as fabric or decorating with old buttons. Check out these 30 DIY accent pillows (Opens in a new tab) for inspiration.

Here are some other things to give your bedroom a makeover:

  • Add a mirror to make the space look bigger
  • Choose a headboard as a statement piece
  • Invest in quality bedding

Make Sure Your Apartment Is Protected

No matter what apartment DIY project you choose to take on, it’s important to make sure that your belongings are protected from the unexpected. Renters insurance can help cover your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen. Learn more about the benefits of having renters insurance and how it can help protect what matters most.

Plus, get more great tips and advice on renters insurance and apartment living by heading to our Renters and Apartment Resource Hub.

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