So you’ve found the perfect apartment: right size, great location, no bugs, new appliances, and easily affordable. Dazzled by your luck, you secure the find with a deposit and move in. But upon perusing your new home, you realize something’s not quite right: the ugly flooring. Although it’s functional, it brings down the overall appeal, covering every inch of space that is the canvas of your décor.
Property owners rarely agree to replace flooring for a new tenant, but you still have a few options available to you. The best part is, they’re affordable, easy to install, and don’t require Martha Stewart-level crafting skills to pull off.
No, not shag carpet, sham carpet. One kind of sham carpet is synthetic — the kind that’s commonly used for porches, decks, and sunrooms. Buy it cut to size and place it over the existing flooring. It’s easy to maintain by vacuuming and easily hosed down for deep cleaning. Alternatively, you can use temporary carpet tiles that stick to the old floor with double-sided tape. When you move out, just peel them up and throw them away. Don’t worry, you won’t be doing any damage to the floor underneath.
Typically reserved for mechanic’s work spaces, this heavy-duty vinyl covering perfectly hides an unsightly bathroom or kitchen floor. Available in several different home-friendly colors and designs, garage mats also dampen sound and provide insulation to maintain a room’s temperature. Just be sure to check the thickness so that it doesn’t interfere with the closing and opening of doors or cabinets.
Gaining popularity in the housing and commercial sectors for its affordability and durability, laminate flooring is also available in a wide range of colors and patterns. Best of all, it snaps together easier than LEGO bricks and can be laid down on top of existing wood or tile floors. Remember that installing laminate over carpet isn’t advisable, as it generally creates mold and could cost you a bundle to remove upon vacating the premises.
Removable Vinyl Tiles
Many apartments have ugly vinyl tiles covering the floors of their kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, and sometimes even living and dining rooms. Luckily, peel-and-stick tiles are widely available and priced to fit nearly any budget. Stick with one color or pattern for a fluid look that will make your space appear much larger than it actually is, or have some fun by putting different offbeat designs and patterns in different rooms. These tiles are also easy to cut to size for corners and borders. When you’re ready to move on, simply peel them away. They leave no residue behind and won’t damage the tile underneath.
Similar to removable vinyl tiles, cork flooring is easy to install with a temporary adhesive. Of course, it can only be used over hard, flat surfaces like laminate, tile, wood, or concrete. Not only does it mute sounds between floors of multilevel buildings, but it’s shock absorbing qualities also make it excellent for kitchens or craft rooms where you tend to stand for long periods of time. The cork eases strain on your back and legs and reduces overall fatigue.
Layered Area Rugs
Whether your unsightly floor is carpeted or tiled, using an assortment of smaller rugs to cover it up is an inexpensive and easy solution. Use new rugs, flea market/garage sale finds, or a combination of the two. The best thing about this option is that it allows you unlimited design creativity that you can use to accent furnishings in every room. If you change the furniture or wall treatments later on, all you’ll need to do is replace or rotate the rug designs. To keep them all in place on slick floors, just stick some rug adhesives on their undersides.
Similar to table cloths for floors, these coverings are fun to create and easy to maintain. Start with a large piece of heavy-duty canvas (available at your local fabric shop or home improvement center) and cut it to the desired shape and size, adding one inch to the perimeter to accommodate a hem. Hem the edges with a sewing machine or a handheld sewing tool to prevent fraying. Next, lay out the fabric on a large piece of plastic in a large empty space, such as a garage. Decorate it with stencils or use fabric tape to create a geometric design. Apply two coats of flat-finish fabric paint, and finish it with a coat of water-based polyurethane. Apply rug tape or rubber backing on the underside to keep it in place.
If your apartment floor is old hardwood in dire need of refinishing, you might want to just paint it instead of investing thousands of dollars in refinishing it. As long as you properly prepare it by sanding and cleaning it and use high-quality paint made specifically for floors, your property owner will typically approve of the upgrade. Whether you stick with earthy tones or opt for brighter hues, take your time and be sure to let the first coat dry thoroughly before applying the second one. If done correctly, this method will result in lovely shiny floors that will be easy to clean for years to come.
Beautiful floors can make an apartment look brand new. If you have the time for it and a lot of rooms, try applying different upgrades to each floor for an upscale designer effect.