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Whether you live in a classic Chicago brownstone or an updated loft in the West Loop, creating a casa you love coming home to is no easy task. Even more so when you’re renting your current spot. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy upgrades you can make to transform your apartment into a space so inviting you won’t even mind hibernating in it until April (OK, May).

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hardware

Switch Out Your Hardware

You may not be able to renovate the entire kitchen, but there’s no reason you should have to live with outdated handles and knobs. Glam up those cabinets with gold, chrome or glass hardware in any number of unexpected shapes and patterns. If your landlord is married to the old hardware, just keep it in a drawer and replace when you move out.

lights

Let the Light Shine

Replacing light fixtures is fair game for most Chicago rentals, and a glittery crystal orb adds charm whether you’re living in an updated high-rise or a vintage walk-up. Don’t be afraid to splurge on your chandelier—you can take it with you to your next place. P.S. Be sure to use bulbs that cast a soft glow, because no one deserves hospital lighting.

curtains

Make a Curtain Call

It utterly baffles us how vinyl mini blinds became the gold standard across all of Chicagoland. Put those babies in the closet until your move-out day and invest in some sheer, dramatic curtains for an instant dose of sophistication.

wallpaper

Play With Paper

Self-adhesive wallpaper is inexpensive, easy to apply and easy to remove. What?s not to love? We?re digging the look of this white-brick from Tempaper, which has a ?raised suede? feel and can be applied to any smooth, painted surface.

shelves
twenty20

Create Space

If your apartment is on the smaller side, extra shelving can quickly become a necessity. Find more space for your stuff either by adding partitions to existing shelves or installing some open shelves above your countertops.

mirror

Be Reflective

Fact: A well-placed mirror will make your space feel bigger and airier. You can rest a small one against a wall, set up a gallery wall of various reflectors or hot-glue a garage-sale find with leftover wine corks. The possibilities are endless.

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