- Alexandra Gater is a Toronto-based interiors YouTuber with 317,000 followers who specialises in making over small properties in renter-friendly ways, on a budget.
- She told Insider her three top tips for transforming a rental apartment without spending a fortune.
- There are lots of ways you can add your own style to an apartment without making permanent changes, like replacing the light fixtures.
- It’s also important to live in a space for a while first before rushing into any changes.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Rental homes. They’re often small, a bit worse for wear, and full of cheap identikit furniture.
Even if your landlord gives you permission to make some home improvements, most renters don’t want to invest in big renovations because, well, they may very well be leaving before too long.
So it can be hard to make a rental flat into a home you love, especially if you’re on a budget. It’s certainly not impossible though.
Alexandra Gater is a Toronto-based interiors YouTuber with 317,000 followers who specialises in making over small properties in renter-friendly ways, without spending a fortune.
She’s an expert in adding flair, personality, and style to a space, as you can see from how she transformed her own rented home.
Gater shared the three most impactful things you can do to your rental to turn it into a lovely home.
1. Apply a fresh lick of paint
If your apartment is looking a little tired, don’t underestimate how transformative repainting the walls can be – and this is something very few landlords object to.
Gater recommends sticking to a light, bright, neutral colour.
“Spending the extra money to have someone come in and have your whole space painted white – I can’t even describe what a difference it makes,” she told Insider.
“It makes your apartment look fresh, gets rid of all the scuffs on the walls, and makes it feel brand new.”
Gater paid to have her apartment painted when she moved in, but said it was definitely worth it.
“The painting came out of my pocket, but I felt OK about that because it wasn’t a lot of money and it made a huge difference,” she said.
2. Don’t rush into changes
When you move into somewhere new, especially if it’s not in the best state, it can be tempting to try and do up the whole thing immediately, but this isn’t wise.
“Live in your space for a while,” Gater advises.
“It took me six months to really figure out what I needed in the space and to think outside the box.”
For example, Gater turned her closet into an office, but it wasn’t until she’d lived in her home for a while that she realised she needed somewhere to store her work things, and that’s how she came up with the idea.
3. Add personality with art, colour, and lights
There are lots of ways you can add your own style to an apartment without making permanent changes.
Some of Gater’s go-to methods include switching up doorknobs and lampshades, using peel and stick tiles on floors and as backsplashes, and hanging lots of art (you can use sticky tabs like Command strips if you can’t make holes in the walls).
“Add tons of personality through art, colour, and changing out your lights for really sculptural, beautiful lights,” she said.
“That makes such a difference in a rental because it feels like you and it’s adding more personality.”
Just make sure you keep the landlord’s fixtures so you can switch them back when you leave.
By combining the above three tips, Gater said it’s easy to significantly upgrade the look and feel of your home.
“People find it daunting, but living in a rental and making it your own isn’t as much work as people think, and it’s so fun,” she said.