Home > Personal Finance > 12 Affordable Upgrades to Help Make Your Apartment Look Fancy

Comments 0 Comments

Landing a great apartment doesn’t always mean you have the budget to furnish it. As great as any pad might be, guests won’t be too impressed if they have to sit on the floor.

Luckily there are ways to spruce up an apartment without spending too much money. Here are a few:

1. Plants

House plants can liven up a room, said Brian Davis, a real estate investor and director of education at SparkRental.com. “Some plants, such as aloe vera, can actually filter out toxic chemicals and improve the air quality in your apartment,” he said.

2. Mirrors

Mirrors can make your apartment seem much more spacious. “If you have plain doors, they’re the perfect place to add mirrors,” Davis said.

Renters can also upgrade the plain mirrors that come with their apartment with mirrors that match their tastes, said Brentnie Daggett, a real estate writer for Rentec Direct, which specializes in renter trends. “If you don’t want to toss your existing mirror (or it came with the apartment), find a DIY project that offers instructions on creating a damage-free frame to give the mirror more style.”

DIY mirror projects abound on sites like Pinterest. (If you’re an aspiring do-it-yourselfer, make sure you avoid these common DIY home repair mistakes.)

3. Rugs

Area rugs can help cover up old flooring you hate or new flooring you want to protect, Daggett said. “Eclectic and traditional designs are easy to find these days, making it simple for you to find something inexpensive that will give your space a pop of color while covering the existing carpet or vinyl,” she said.

4. Large Cutting Boards

Renters can take the same approach with ugly countertops by covering them with large cutting boards or a butcher’s block, Davis said.

5. Removable Wallpaper

“Creating an accent wall with removable wallpaper is an affordable weekend project that can transform any home,” said Karen Hoxmeier, founder of MyBargainBuddy.com.

6. Curtains

Back on the theme of covering up stuff you don’t like, curtains can help hide your view of the dingy building next door or the dingy window itself.

7. Door Knobs

You can give your kitchen or bathroom an updated look by changing out the door knobs that came with the apartment. Just make sure you hang on to the originals so you can swap them back in when you move out, Hoxmeier said.

8. Cabinet Knobs

The same goes for the knobs on your kitchen cabinets. Landlords often opt for durability over style when picking products, noted Daggett of Rentec Direct. “Give your kitchen an instant update by replacing the hardware on your cabinets to create a more modern look.”

9. Flatware

A simple matching set of dinnerware and flatware can go a long way toward making your dinner party seem more fancy, Daggett said. “If your table settings consist of hand-me-downs and a hodgepodge amassed from yard-sale finds, it’s time to upgrade.”

10. Steam Mop

It should go without saying that your apartment won’t really be fancy unless it’s clean. Daggett said upgrading from a sponge mop to a steam mop can make your apartment look nice and make cleaning easier, which your landlord and guests will appreciate.

11. Shower head

Speaking of clean, an upgraded shower head could make getting ready for work feel more luxurious, Daggett said. Installing a new one might require permission from your property manager, but you’ll see the dividends pay off in your routine and possibly your water bill if you pick up a low-flow shower head.

12. Coffee & Side Tables

A set of coffee and side tables that match your style and room can help tie your apartment together. You can find deals at your nearest flea market, Daggett said.

Remember, overspending on decorating is one of many mistakes first-time renters make. Don’t buy a coffee table at the expense of making rent on time. Missing rent can leave a mark on your credit reports, not to mention make it harder for you to get an apartment in the future. (You can check two of your credit scores free on Credit.com). Make sure you know to avoid these other apartment errors as well.

Image: Wavebreakmedia

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.



Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team