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8 easy upgrades to make your rental your own

First, you’ll need to check that what you want to do is allowed under the terms of your lease, and usually get permission in writing from your landlord. Anything big like demolition, plumbing, electrical work, changing room counts or projects that require a building permit will require a landlord’s sign off, says Manhattan real estate attorney Steven Wagner of Wagner Berkow.   And when you leave, you’ll have to return the place to its original condition, unless your landlord has agreed to irreversible changes.

One example: if the landlord greenlights new kitchen cabinets, he or she can’t reasonably insist you restore the old cabinets. “However, anything that’s permanently affixed to the apartment is called a ‘fixture’ and, under typical leases, will become the landlord’s property when you vacate,” he explains. “Thus, it will be the landlord’s choice whether you have to remove the cabinets or leave them.”

But in the spirit of making a rental feel less like a roof over your head and more like home-sweet-home, here are eight not-too-difficult projects to spruce up your place:

1. Replace door handles

Vintage–or even ultra-modern–door handles can be a major improvement over the generic knobs that adorn the doors of rooms, closets and kitchen cabinets in most rentals.

“Just be sure you save the originals so you can reinstall them before you move,” Wagner says.

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