By Emma Sánchez

All the chaos that came with the pandemic this year influenced me to move to an off-campus apartment in Brighton with my friend. 

When I heard the apartment was old, I was thinking of one of those chic, vintage flats you see on teen dramas. However, when I first moved in, things weren’t what they seemed. Another friend who helped me move in likened the apartment to an old tenement built for an Irish family of eight to cram into. 

While I told myself looks didn’t matter because I was only planning on living here for a year, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to change the decor to make it feel more like home, especially in the bathroom, which was lined with tiles so old, you couldn’t buy them in stores anymore. 

So, the first thing I did was research do-it-yourself bathroom makeovers because I’m a sucker for DIYs. There’s something so satisfying about transforming an item into something beautiful yourself. 

Many of the DIYs I was looking at were for homeowners looking to make a permanent change in their older homes. This involved a lot of re-tiling, re-painting and remodeling, which I thought was excessive for a bathroom I’d only be using short-term. 

That’s when I stumbled into the small but mighty community of rental-friendly apartment makeover channels on YouTube. 

What makes an apartment makeover rental-friendly is that it is temporary and can be taken down before the next tenant moves in. These minor changes also ensure you can keep your security deposit. The rental-friendly interior design gurus on YouTube are experts in installing wallpaper, kitchen backsplash, marble, light fixtures and tile, all of which can be easily removed.

Sifting through the treasure-trove of bathroom-specific makeover videos, I learned about contact-paper wallpaper, stick-on floor tiling and how to maximize vertical space to make a bathroom seem larger.  

One popular DIY expert is the YouTuber Drew Scott from the channel “Lone Fox.” Scott’s videos cater to all your needs, from simple renter-friendly fixes to extreme apartment makeovers. Even if you aren’t looking to do a complete makeover, you can find all sorts of videos on his channel about simple DIY statement pieces to tie a room together. 

These sorts of videos are right up my alley, as I’m planning on adding statement pieces, like a colorful bath mat and patterned shower curtain, to bring some life to an otherwise drab bathroom. Another upside about DIYs is that you can work at your own pace, adding decorations little by little whenever you have the time.

Videos I find just as satisfying as apartment makeover videos are apartment “un-makeover” videos, in which tenants take down all their decorations before they move out. As people peel off the layers of wallpaper and paintings, you can tell the amount of work they put into making their bland apartment look like home.

The simplest changes such as a potted plant or statement wall-hanging can make all the difference when adding your own personal flair to your apartment. One quote that really rang true to me during this whole process was something home blogger Meredith from the channel “Arts & Classy” said in one of her videos:

“As a renter, finding solutions to make your home look and feel more like it’s something you own or something that you would choose can be kind of a struggle. But there are so many solutions out there now that … people are actually catering more to renters to help them find solutions to decorating their home.” 

That being said, I can’t wait to start my own journey and make my current apartment feel like home, one stick-on tile at a time.