Military Life, Projects, Tutorials

10 DIY Projects for Rental Homes

One of our favorite ways to fill our free time on the weekends is to do DIY ‘projects’. From picking out old furniture at flea markets and abandoned houses, making a trip to the hardware store to buy supplies, to staying up half the night to finish painting, I love everything about DIY projects.

When we first got married, we didn’t have hardly ANY furniture or home decor. Our small apartment was empty except for a bed.

We were able to pick up some things from a thrift store and we took a small loan to buy living and bedroom furniture (see how we paid off ALL of our debt before we turned 30). However, we were left with very little money for decor.

Over the years, we have made our house a home with DIY projects. I’ve put together this collection of items we have refurbished to decorate our rentals.

Our Favorite DIY Projects

Antique Medicine Cabinet

This antique medicine cabinet was at my great uncle’s house years after he passed away. Our family had cleared out most of his belongings, but this was left behind in a closet attached to the front porch.

It was grimy and covered in dust, the lower cabinet contained an old rat nest, and those rats had chewed through parts of the wood backing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before picture. The picture on the left was taken after repairs, sanding, and a coat of primer, but trust me when I tell you that it was in bad shape.

After a LOT of TLC, we moved it into the living room as a display cabinet and storage for our DVDs.

DIY Projects: We turned an antique medicine cabinet into a display case and storage center.

Rocking Chair

The same day that we brought home the medicine cabinet, we also discovered this wooden rocking chair. It had been out on the front porch of my uncle’s house for years and the wear was obvious. Dogs had chewed on the rockers, the arms were loose, and the green paint was peeling.

We sanded the rockers, tightened the arms, and painted it a cheery shade of red. Now, it sits on our front porch.

This old wooden rocking chair is one of our brightest DIY projects.
I don’t have a before picture, but just know that this is a definite upgrade.

Coffee Table

This coffee table has been through several iterations in our house. I originally bought it at a thrift store for $20.

Structurally, the table was in great shape, made out of solid wood with little to no damage. So, at first, we left it alone. Over time, toddlers, and Army movers, it became very scratched and dinged up.

My first idea was to paint it red with a navy and white chevron pattern on the top (to match the medicine cabinet). This turned out well, but after moving it inside, we decided that it looked a little too bright and whimsical for our taste.

After TOO many hours on Pinterest, we decided to cover the table top with pennies. It turned out beautifully! (You can see the full tutorial here!) It’s so unique and gets the attention of our guests. It’s definitely one of our favorite DIY projects.

Key Holder

Since I had leftover fabric from the medicine cabinet re-do and we kept misplacing our keys, we decided to make a key holder.

Using an unfinished wooden picture frame from Hobby Lobby and a pack of little hooks, this project took less than 15 minutes to put together. It was our easiest DIY project yet!

This key holder was a quick and easy DIY project.
I was slightly obsessed with chevron in these days.

Old Window

A few years ago, my Papa made some renovations to his childhood home (for the first time ever!). The contractors removed the old single-pane windows and chunked them into the dumpster. Thankfully, my mom made my dad dig them back out. She saved a window for each of her kids and one for herself.

When she told me about my window, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. After a little bit of paint and an engineering print from Staples, we turned my window into this beautiful picture frame.

Craft Armoire

This wooden armoire was originally an entertainment center. Thus, it had a huge square hole cut in the back for the old boxy CRT TVs.

For years, it housed our TV and DVD player, but when my husband brought home a giant TV after a Black Friday sale, this 4′ wide cabinet would no longer work. So, I turned it into a storage center for my scrapbooking and craft supplies.

We turned an old entertainment center into a craft supply storage center.
I don’t have a before picture, but look how organized all my craft supplies are!

Mason Jar Chandelier

My mom and dad go to auctions and estate sales, where they sometimes buy ‘lots’ of items. When you buy a ‘lot’ you usually end up with things that you didn’t necessarily want or need, which is how I ended up with this tacky bejeweled candle chandelier.

This DIY project quick and easy. Within an hour, we removed the (fake) crystal jewels and attached mason jars to the arms of the chandelier. This is another DIY project that always solicits comments and appreciation from visitors.

Cork Board Collage

When the girls started pre-school they began bringing home all kinds of cute artwork. I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it all in the trash, so I had to come up with a way to display it.

I picked up several old picture frames at yardsales and thrift stores, painted them bright colors, and added cork board. Then I arranged the frames into a collage on their playroom wall. They loved hanging their artwork up for everyone to see and I did too!

State Silhouette Wall Art

The Army and all of the places it has sent us is a huge part of our lives and our family identity. So, I decided to make some home decor that reflected that. I also had tons of empty wall space and a tight budget.

After a trip to Wal-Mart, I had everything I needed to complete a wall collage of the states we have lived in. (You can see the full tutorial for this wall art here.)

home is where the Army sends us collage

Farmhouse Buffet

Our most recent project was a true flea market flip. While marking items off of our Fort Bragg Bucket List, we came home with a dusty old dresser.

We were able to turn it into a farmhouse-style buffet that functions as a charging station and storage cabinet. (You can see the full tutorial for this transformation here.)

These DIY projects, while amateur, have made our once empty house a home. We began doing these DIY projects out of necessity, since we couldn’t afford to buy furniture or decor, but it quickly became a hobby that we both enjoy.

Our future goal is to one day buy a forever home and make it our biggest project yet. Until then, we’ll spend our days creating smaller pieces to fill that home with.

I hope our DIY projects have inspired to take on some of your own!

10 DIY Projects for Rental Homes | Finding Mandee
10 DIY Projects for Rental Houses | Finding Mandee

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