DIY and Get Your Deposit Back

living room

Glam up your rental and make it feel like home with these do-it-yourself ideas that won't get you into hot water with the landlord.

01 of 26

Let the Good Times Roll

Hand Lettering

Take the rolling cart out of the library and into your fave gathering space. Powder-coat paint, pretty paper pom-poms, and large casters can bring any blah bar cart front and center. Bonus points if you use your stash of pipe cleaners and spare picture frames to create DIY typographic decor.

  • Blogger Bar Carts We Love
02 of 26

Get the Memo

blue and purple decor

Bring some happy to your walls with colorful decals in fun geometric shapes. These removable dots are made of erasable chalkboard decals from Blik. For variety, we traced plates in several sizes onto the back of rectangular decals and cut them out using scissors. Jot your messages in liquid chalk pens, and presto: instant message center.

03 of 26

Splashy Shades

blue and white diy window curtain panels

Can't paint your walls? Combat boring white walls with DIY curtain panels. Spray-paint graffiti-style loops in a bold and cheery shade onto freshly pressed curtains. Make sure to use a paint recommended for fabric.

04 of 26

Accessories Center


Don't let a lack of rental closet space prevent you from showing off your favorite accessories. By removing a door and applying a few coats of paint, this clever storage unit was made out of a recycled cabinet. Shelves show off shoes on the right, while hooks on the opposite side display scarves. New hardware gives the drawers a final touch of sparkle.

05 of 26

Organization Station


No room for an office? Mount a large sheet of cork board to a spare wall using adhesive-backed tape that won't leave a residue. Use a paint pen or white artists tape to make a grid and metal-rim gift tags to mark dates. Adjust your DIY calendar each month.

06 of 26

Pop Art Pillows

decorative pillows

Whether you're using rental furniture or can't afford a new set you love, screen-print pillows are a quick and easy solution to bland furniture. This pet-friendly pillow was made by sending a photo to a custom screen-making company, which made ready-to-use screens. The fun tribal print was drawn by hand.

07 of 26

Easy Monogram Pilllow

Personalize a pillow in just 30 minutes with this easy monogramming paint technique.

08 of 26

Office Update

Mason Jar Projects

Give your office a luxe look for less with three simple ingredients: glass jars, spray chalkboard paint, and a chalk pen. Spray the jars with a few coats of paint before labeling with a chalk pen or white adhesive letters. In addition to offering a classic look, the adorable storage unit can go with you when you move.

09 of 26

Table Service

Entry Unit With Storage Cubes Against Blue Wall

Highlight dishware in a buffet based on an eight-cube unit. Craft a top and base from plywood before sanding, priming, and painting the boards to match. Center and glue the top and base to the unit using construction adhesive. Attach legs to the base plywood, and display your entertaining essentials.

10 of 26

Pop of Pattern


If ugly appliances have your rental kitchen in a sad state, consider covering them with contact paper. The easy-to-apply adhesive comes in many patterns and colors, and it can be removed or replaced as needed. If you're able to paint your apartment, try a new shade on the inside of cabinets for a subtle hint of color.

11 of 26

Floating Display

Lacy Eyelet Felt Table Runner

What's better than an awesome gallery wall? A display that leaves no holes in the walls! Lightweight enough to be affixed to a wall with adhesive strips, these plexiglass-framed lace remnants bring pattern and texture to a room.

12 of 26

Entryway Storage

Teal Entry Unit With Storage Cubes

Many renters are unable to install hooks, shelves, or other essential storage items into walls. Maintain order in a hall or entryway with a freestanding furniture unit. Look for a narrow console or dresser, then remove the doors for open storage.

13 of 26

Kitchen Creation

dish towel

Add color and pattern to an otherwise plain-Jane apartment kitchen with a handcrafted dish towel. Use your choice of stamp to apply screen-print ink for fabric on a cotton flour-sack towel. Don't have a towel rod to display your DIY dexterity? Try a tension rod!

14 of 26

Fresh Look

blue desk

Update an old desk with glossy blue paint and metallic gold crafts paints. A specialty roller is the secret to the drawer designs. Take your new look to another level by reupholstering the seat of a desk chair and spray-painting the legs a modern metallic shade.

15 of 26

Doors Done Right

white door

Adding privacy without sacrificing style just got easier thanks to self-adhesive paper. Create your own temporary insets in a snap with old maps, magazine pages, or pretty paper. If the paper isn't self-adhesive, use double-stick tape for simple securing and removal.

16 of 26

Dress Those Windows

Instantly add polish to windows with a chic brass curtain rod. You'll be surprised how simple it is to make!

17 of 26

Partition, Please

bifold screen

If you've ever had a roommate, you know that even the smallest of spaces can benefit from a little division. Buffer an awkward corner, create a private nook, or add vertical interest to a room with a large-scale folding screen constructed from 3/4-inch-thick particleboard. Cover boards in decorative paper, then use screws to affix hinges to the back of each panel.

18 of 26

Show Drawers Some Love

jewelry in cups

Drawers don't have to be ho-hum. Give dresser and cabinet drawers a handsome facelift with colorful contact paper. Who knows? Maybe the update will encourage you to finally tame your junk drawer.

19 of 26

Fake Built-Ins

Kitchen entryway

Save some money and amplify storage with bookcases that mimic the look of built-ins. Paint bookcases the same color as walls to make them blend in, and top them off with molding if you so desire. The best part? They can go with you when you move out.

20 of 26

Your Backsplash, but Better

Cheap Backsplashes

A backsplash can make or break a kitchen, and fortunately, you don't have to be stuck with a stale design. For a shortcut to getting a custom backsplash, use peel-and-stick decals on plain ceramic tiles. These floral designs add a touch of whimsy to otherwise blank tiles.

21 of 26

Perfectly Coiled

Rope Project

Turn hardware-store staples into pretty, practical accents for your bathroom. To make this colorful coil rug, you'll need a two-tone, 5/8-inch polypropylene rope, heavy-duty duct tape, and scissors. Coil the rope as tightly as possible, securing it with the duct tape as you go. Once you've coiled your rope to the desired rug size, add an extra layer of tape in the same direction. Flip the rug over so the tape is on the back.

22 of 26

Stamp of Approval


If you're allowed to paint your apartment, use stamps or a stencil to bring pattern to walls. It's a great way to test-drive a trendy pattern without the commitment of wallpaper.

23 of 26

Stencil Like a Pro

So you're a stenciling newbie? We won't let your secret slip. See how to craft the perfect stencil from the get-go.

24 of 26

Refresh the Fireplace


If you've rented a house or an apartment with a less-than-stunning fireplace, don't fret. You can disguise a dated fireplace surround with chalkboard paper, then use chalk to draw a keystone and brick shapes.

Tip: Safety first! This fireplace's chalkboard paper surround is far enough from gas flames to be safe. Before trying this at home, make sure your DIY surround will be out of harm's way.

25 of 26

Drawn-On Design

Bath Makeovers under $2000

Don't settle for boring. Give a plain white curtain a pretty watercolor makeover by freehanding a floral design and filling it in with watered-down fabric paint. Embrace imperfections -- they're what makes this project extra gorgeous.

26 of 26

Make Your Mark

living room

Wall art you'll actually want to keep? Yes to that. Show off your country, city, or favorite vacation destination with this plywood and wood-stain map project that will make the space above your sofa sing.

  • Make This Map Art
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles