Affordable ways to glam up your rental pad

By Cathy Hobbs

Tribune News Service

You love where you live and want to incorporate your own decor and taste. Just because you rent your residence as opposed to owning it doesn’t mean you have to give up style and great design. The key when decorating your rental dwelling is to incorporate what I call “portable design.” In a nutshell, items that you can take with you when you move out.

Here are some of my top tips:

1. Replace hardware pulls on kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Replacing cabinet knobs can not only add a sense of style, but it can also go a long way to creating a fresher, updated look. All you need is your new knobs and a screwdriver. Keep the old ones, and just swap them out when you move out.

2. Prime/paint cabinets. This is one you will want to run by your landlord first, but painting cabinets can truly transform a space without having to replace them.

3. Paint walls. This is an easy one — nothing helps to make a space your own more than your own individual colors! When you are done, all you have to do is grab a gallon of white paint.

4. Add attractive sheet vinyl flooring. When I moved into my first rental in NYC, this was one of my first upgrades. When living in a rental, retiling is typically not an option, and adding vinyl flooring can be the perfect simple, affordable upgrade. I suggest adding large rectangular shaped tiles (more elegant than squares).

5. Replace an old sink with a new one such as pedestal sink. Want a fresh look in your bathroom? Consider purchasing an attractive pedestal sink. You could swap your old one back in or leave behind. Your landlord may even be willing to purchase it back from you.

6. Replace light fixtures such as wall sconces and pendants. Many rental residences have light fixtures that are bare and basic. I suggest purchasing attractive, affordable fixtures from a big box store and installing them using a professional electrician. When you are done, just swap the old ones back in.