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Bored with Your Apartment’s Look? Here’s How You Can Revitalize an Old Rental

If you’re a renter living in an aging apartment, you’re probably aware of the drawbacks that are an unavoidable part of living in a dated building. But don’t be fooled, many old buildings come with a charm you cannot mimic. Yet, with staying indoors so much, you might have grown bored with the look of your rental. If that’s the case, then get ready to make a plan for an old rental revitalization project to help you feel more at home in your rental apartment!

There are many reasons why you might be living in a home or apartment that is past its prime. From wanting to save money to choosing a more minimal lifestyle, your choices might stir you away from newly renovated or newly built places.

Whatever your reasons for living in an older apartment, you might be looking for a way to bring things up to date a bit. This brings us to today’s topic: revitalizing an aging rental apartment. Regardless of your reasons for wanting to breathe some new life into your living space, we’ve got some tips for you. Let’s get into it!

Before You Start

Before we delve too deep into this subject, it’s important to note that you should always check with your landlord before permanently modifying your rental home or apartment. While things like redecoration and refurnishing can usually be done without your landlord’s approval, you need to double check with the owner of your apartment before any big changes, like repainting the whole place.

Don’t worry; if you live in an aging apartment, your landlord will likely jump at the chance to have their property improved free of cost. As long as you’re reasonably competent regarding home improvement, you should be able to get your landlord’s approval without much undue trouble. With this out of the way, let’s look at some great ways to revitalize your rental home or apartment!


redecorate old rental

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make an old apartment feel brand new again, then put up some new art or decorations. This is a great option because you probably won’t need any approval from your landlord, and it can be done very inexpensively. It’s also a great idea to start with, because you can try it out and build up as you go. Will you change up some of your wall hangings or completely switch out all of your decorations? It’s up to you!

  • Just the basics

You can start small by just changing some minor things about your apartment. Buy some Christmas lights and string them up over a mantlepiece or across the wall of your room. Get rid of a few of your old-fashioned lamps and replace them with stylish modern ones. Tired of the faded and unexceptional paintings? Take them down and hang some family pictures on canvases. The only limit is your imagination!

  • Run with it

If you’re willing to go further, why not completely redecorate your living space with a coherent theme and vibe? Choose an aesthetic you want to evoke and go from there. You can replace lights, décor and much more, giving your entire place a well-needed facelift. If it fits your desired aesthetic, you can even add a few houseplants to improve the ambiance even further!

In many old buildings and rentals, an industrial themed style fits right in. Especially if you have an apartment with some exposed brick or large windows, you can work wonders with it. Look for tips on how to include popular design styles in a rental, and pick the one you feel most comfortable with.

For some apartments, however, it might take more than simply décor pieces. For those, you’ll have to look into refurnishing.


refurnish old rental

If you’re renting a furnished apartment, there might be a chance that the furnishings are not truly modern. In situations like these, you essentially have two options: buy new furnishings or refurbish the furniture you already have.

  • Buy new furniture

For those that don’t have the time or skills necessary to refurbish furniture, you’ll probably have to stick with buying new furniture. Much like redecoration, you should decide what aesthetic you’d like to shoot for before you start buying tables, chairs and couches. Once you’ve landed on a suitable aesthetic, it’s time to start browsing.

When it comes to buying furniture, you can generally buy used furniture or new furniture. Buying used furniture comes with the benefits of being more affordable than the latter option as well as being more eco-friendly, but can also present problems with quality and condition. Buying new items can make it easier to stick to a uniform aesthetic, but will likely cost you a sizable chunk of cash. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of both options and imagine what would fit best with your desired aesthetic.

  • Refurbish your old furniture

If you’d like to take a more hands-on approach, you can try your hand at refurbishing your furniture. Some furniture pieces can be refurbished easily and cheaply, others not so much. It might be a good idea to start small by stripping and repainting a table or nightstand before moving on to more complicated projects like couches and armchairs. Regardless of the difficulty, refurbishing furniture can be an immensely rewarding way to sustainably improve your home when done properly.

Once again, it’s important to check with your landlord to make sure they’re ok with you replacing or refurbishing the furniture in your living space. If you’ve furnished your apartment yourself, you should have free reign, but otherwise you need to check with the owner before making these changes.


remodel old rental

If you want to go all the way and beautify your living space permanently, you might want to consider remodeling to some extent. Generally, this should only be an option for long term renters with some experience in home improvement. In spite of this, there are also some remodeling options that can be done easily and cheaply enough that you might consider them, even if you have no experience and/or won’t be around long.

  • Start small

Like refurbishing furniture, you should start with projects that are suitable for your skill level and budget. A great place to start is with a repaint; this option can be done relatively cheaply and it doesn’t require a great deal of skill or experience. Just pick a color for each space and go to town on one room or the entire apartment!

Another great idea to start with is replacing a few of the light fixtures currently in use in your home. Light fixtures play an important role in determining the general vibe and aesthetic of your living space and can be replaced easily and cheaply. After finding a light fixture you like, simply follow the instructions on the box, making sure to turn off both the light switch and the breaker for the room.

  • On to bigger and better things

Once you’ve tackled these projects, you should have a bit more confidence in your home-improvement skills. After you’ve repainted and changed your home lighting, there’s no end to the possibilities that await. There are a wide variety of materials available online that will help you in your home improvement journey, so be sure to use them. The only limit is your imagination and your landlord’s willingness to let you modify your living space!


When it comes to an old living space, you’ll find that there are options available for everyone. There’s always room for improvement when you live in an aging rental. Don’t be afraid to experiment, as long as your landlord approves. Regardless how you revitalize your apartment, the end result will be the same: a living space you feel more at home in!

Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec is a writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart. Mihaela is a versatile writer whose work was also published on many blogs and websites in a variety of industries: real estate, design, lifestyle, college life, and personal finance. Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics. With a background in academic writing, she is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, looking to always expand her knowledge. You can get in touch with Mihaela at

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