Top Pick: Moen 26112SRN Engage Magnetix | $50 | Amazon
The year after college, I moved into an apartment that had the worst shower head in the world. No amount of adjustments could cure the razor blade feeling of water stabbing my skin, so I replaced it with one of those cool-looking rain showerheads. A friend of mine came over, noticed the showerhead, and thought I was living like a sultan.
I’m pretty sure I got it for $20 at Target.
I’m not a renter anymore, but in the years since college, I’ve found countless ways to improve a living space—any living space—with inexpensive, temporary upgrades. That means whether you own your home or live in an apartment with no permanent changes allowed, you can take advantage. (I’m talking practical upgrades, too—not just cute wallpaper stickers and fake plants, although those things are great too.) And thanks to a certain global quarantine, you might as well make your apartment as pleasant to live in as possible.
One quick and easy bathroom fix is changing your rental’s showerhead. My colleagues have already gone in-depth with the best products based on their individual preferences. However, it doesn’t hurt to add to this ongoing list!
Plus, if you’re looking to pretend that you’re in a rainforest, try the G-promise All Metal Dual Shower Head Combo. Made with all-metal construction, this product is a combined rainfall and handheld showerhead. The fixed portion has an 11-inch extension arm, which can be adjusted with two knobs to meet your specifications.
And if you love a handheld option, cash in on the Moen 26112SRN Engage Magnetix Shower Head. It has a magnetic base for docking. Plus, the brushed nickel finish is spot resists fingerprints and water spots for a clean look, regardless of where you are in your cleaning routine.
And lastly, if you love a high-pressure, hot shower, try the Hopopro 5 Modes Bathroom Showerhead. It has an adjustable ball joint design, so you can change the angles and directions that the water flows. Additionally, it comes with 19 abs nozzles and 47 self-cleaning nozzles.
Look, my colleagues have extolled the virtues of bidets time and time again on this blog, so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice to say if you haven’t upgraded yet, it’s time to hop on the bandwagon.
The bidet can be a real lifesaver for those who have just had surgery, given birth, or experience IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Washing with water is so much more gentle on your skin than toilet paper. And as a bonus, you can do without all of the chemicals that toilet paper is manufactured with, save money, and keep your hands a whole lot cleaner.
Here are a couple of non-electric options from Amazon, guaranteed to transform your bathroom experience.
This might not be an upgrade that you would expect, but tech nerds like me will know how valuable Ethernet is.
Back in my apartment days, my wifi wasn’t the best. It felt like it took forever to back my computer up, and my online gaming hobby definitely suffered from the annoying latency and dropouts. Instead of spending a ton of money on upgrading your router, which has never been perfect, run some damn Ethernet through your apartment. Get right to the source!
You don’t even need to open up the walls or trip over cables. Just grab some Cat 8 Ethernet Cable and some cable management sleeves to make some clean runs along the baseboards or ceiling. (I used Command strips with the cable raceways to make sure I didn’t pull off any paint with included too-strong adhesive.) I’ve also used powerline adapters in the past, but they can be more finicky in some apartments than others—so the longer Ethernet runs are well worth the extra work. Your internet will be faster and more reliable than ever, and you won’t have to futz with the Wi-Fi to keep your Zoom calls stable.
Isn’t it such a drag to walk into a room and do the extra work of flipping on a light switch? That’s exactly how I feel! No more with the LUMIMAN Smart bulb. This product is compatible with the Alexa Echo, Echo dot, and Google Home Assistant. No hub required! Just wifi and the power of your beautiful voice.
Remote control your lights from anywhere and at any time. These light bulbs come with the free PLUSMINUS app, which can be used on your smartphone or tablet whether you’re at home or away. Additionally, these bulbs can be scheduled or be set to a timer. Note that these bulbs only support 2.4 GHz wifi network.
When my wife and I first moved to San Diego, we rented an apartment that was well within our budget but was really outdated. With a little bit of research, we discovered that there’s a lot of changes you can do to your home that won’t be permanent. So, we put our toolbelts on and got into the fixer-upper spirit.
To start, our bathroom was seriously lacking wall tile. As a solution, we started shopping for self-adhesive wall wallpaper. We recommend hitting the Smart Tiles store on Amazon. The brand has a host of options from square to rectangular tiles and in a wide variety of colors. You can even use them for a backsplash behind your stovetop.
A second issue was that our backdoors didn’t have privacy window films, and it was really easy for pedestrians to look into our home. So, rather than call our landlord, we decided to apply those films ourselves. This option will easily frost your glass in either your bathroom, kitchen, or back entryway. It even has heat control and glare blocking functions.
Next, my wife loves keeping the door open while she’s cooking to ensure that the kitchen doesn’t get too hot. However, she does not love the bugs that can come inside in the process. So, we opted for a magnetic screen door, so we can filter the hot air out and keep the bugs out at the same time.
Lastly, my biggest pet peeve is white blinds against white walls. Not only does a ton of sunlight leak through the windows, but it really drains your space’s color palette. However, we discovered that you can easily put up a spring tension curtain rod and decorate it with your curtain of choice. You can even use blackout curtains that block sunlight and insulate your bedroom against summer heat and winter chill.
This story was originally published by Whitson Gordon on 01/29/2021 and updated with new information by Juliana Clark on 07/22/2021.