Published on July 25, 2019

Would you base where you live on a survey? Maybe not, but it can’t hurt to have all the info before deciding on a home base—especially if you’re renting and dealing with stricter budget restrictions. WalletHub just released a report on the best (and worst) cities for renters… and suffice it to say, the most popular metro areas did not fare well.

Taking home first, second, and third place are Scottsdale, Arizona; Overland Park, Kansas; and Bismarck, North Dakota, respectively. WalletHub judged over 180 markets, weighing different factors like rent affordability, cost of living, and safety, giving each city a numerical score. Somewhat dishearteningly for us urbanites, San Francisco ended up in 47th place. NYC and Los Angeles did even worse; the former, came in at 99th place, and the latter snuck in at 112th. Yikes. 

No matter where you end up, the good news is that your rental doesn’t have to feel temporary. Here are three ways to make the most of your space—even if it’s a sixth-floor walkup in the 99th-best city in America: 

Hang curtains

It sounds so simple, but window treatments really are the easiest way to make a rental apartment feel like home. Whether you go with brightly colored, luxurious-looking drapes or something more eccentric, like shower curtains (try it!), this tiny addition will make your move feel truly official.

Disguise that ugly backsplash

Peel-and-stick tiles are about to become your new best friend. Use them to hide dingy bathtub tiling or a dated kitchen backsplash—they’re easy to remove when you leave, so they won’t cost you your security deposit. 

Spring for new lighting

Whether it’s swapping out that fluorescent overhead fixture for a Louis Poulsen pendant or plugging in a sconce for some ambient lighting, never underestimate the power of good light. Just be sure to hold on to the originals for when your lease is up. 

See more rental tips:
6 Easy Kitchen Upgrades That Don’t Require Ripping Out Your Cabinets
How to Have Cool Tiles in a Rental
This Super-Simple Cabinet Hack Is a Renter’s Dream

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