9 Fixes for Ugly Floors in a Rental Home

Photo: lisaclarke/flickrWithout a doubt, there are plenty of advantages to renting a home rather than buying, but freedom to decorate as you please isn't usually one of them. Too bad, since your rental is likely to be decked out in Early Bland (if you're fortunate) or Downright Dismal (if you're less than blessed). One of the largest areas of your new home sweet home, in terms of square footage, is its floor. When the flooring is impractical and ugly, it's going to have a huge impact on the looks of your apartment … and your feelings about living there. How can you fix it up to be an attractive, functional reflection of your personal style? (Cheap and easy are musts.) Here are 9 questions that will help you figure out the best hack for your situation.

CAVEAT: Always get permission from the owner, preferably written into your lease, before making any permanent changes.

1. Are you renting through a HUD program and is there wall-to-wall carpet in the apartment or house you'd like to rent?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development states that the property owner must replace carpet in rental units every seven years if necessary.

2. What's the rental market like where you're looking to live?
If you are in a city with a high vacancy rate such as Orlando, Florida, you're in luck. You may have more wiggle room in negotiating with landlords to upgrade features like flooring in your Orlando rented home.

3. Does the flooring hack which you have in mind add value to the unit?
The building owner may be ready to pay at least part of the cost for a desirable upgrade. Think neutral looking and long lasting.

4. How much time or money are you willing to invest in a home that is not yours?
Consider the length of time you plan to be in the rental, as well as how important good-looking floors are to you.

5. Would a good cleaning solve the problem? 
Simply rent the right tool -- a carpet shampooer or electric scrubber to clean dreary carpeting, tiles, grout, and more.

6. Does the rental boast hardwood floors in shabby shape?
Wow, do we wish we had your problem! Rent equipment -- or hire a pro -- to sand and refinish them ... and enjoy.

7. Are area rugs enough?
Decide whether the floor is disastrously ugly or damaged. In a less serious case, you might get away with putting down an area rug or two as camouflage … or try a reduced-price carpet remnant in your favorite color. A canvas floor cloth is another option. Inexpensive and trendy, it's easy to paint and to clean. When you're ready to move on, simply roll up and go.

8. Are you artistically inclined?
You can change the appearance of vinyl, plywood, or concrete floors on a dime by simply painting over them.

9. Do you want to cover the floor completely and never have to look at it again until the day you move out?
Today's home decor market offers a huge selection of interlocking flooring tiles that fit together (and come apart, when you're ready to decamp) like jigsaw puzzle pieces. You'll find rubber, carpet, even wood to create a second floor that "floats" atop the original surface.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated March 18, 2018.

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