If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re living in a gloriously rent-controlled Victorian. But that also means you’re never moving—at least not in this outrageously expensive rental market. You’ve put up with the terrible laminate flooring and the baby-blue bathroom walls for years, but we’re here to tell you that you no longer have to compromise. Here are seven sneaky ways to update your apartment, from super-easy to more complex, without making your landlord mad.

curtains

TAKE DOWN THOSE AWFUL MINI BLINDS

This is an easy way to refresh the whole apartment: Carefully pop your mini blinds out of their brackets at the top of the window and keep them in your closet until move-out day. Replace them with light, airy curtains like these from West Elm. Simple and chic—our favorite combo.

kitchen knobs

REPLACE THE KITCHEN KNOBS

Here’s how to give your kitchen an instant makeover: Take a trip to the Alameda Flea Market and look for antique hardware. Then simply swap out the handles on your cabinets and drawers. Save the old ones in a plastic bag so you can put them back on when your lease is up.

backsplash

CREATE A NEW BACKSPLASH

Your fried Oreo experiment left a big grease stain on the wall behind your stove. We feel your pain. To the rescue: peel-and-stick Smart Tiles for a whole new look. They’re heat- and humidity-resistant, but you can remove 'em easily with a hair dryer when it’s time to move.

lighting

CHANGE THE LIGHT FIXTURES

Fact: San Francisco rentals have the worst lighting. What was the landlord thinking with those hideous candelabras? Luckily, you can swap them for something way cuter, like this mid-century modern chandelier from Target. Hardwiring a light fixture isn’t as tough as it sounds—just make absolutely sure your landlord turns off the electricity first.

wallpaper

HANG WALLPAPER

Wallpaper used to get a bad rap, but we’re obsessed with this amazing paste-free frond wallpaper from Anthropologie, which is just as easy to put up as it is to remove. Then all you have to do is paint your walls white again before moving out.

floors

PUT DOWN NEW FLOORING

You’ve suffered with those icky linoleum tiles in the living room long enough. This temporary laminate flooring from IKEA snaps into place, and you can unsnap it and take it with you when you move. Best of all, it looks exactly like hardwood.

mini demo

TRY MINI RENO PROJECTS

So there’s nothing technically wrong with your bathroom cabinets. It’s just that they look a little outdated. If you can convince your landlord that you’re especially handy, he might let you replace them yourself if you cover the cost and don’t break anything.

RELATED: 7 Genius Space-Saving Tricks to Jazz Up Your Tiny Apartment

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