By: Demetrios Salpoglou
Living in a rental has so many advantages over homeownership. Toilet leaking? Call the landlord. Snow needs shoveling? Call the landlord. Driveway needs repair? Well, you get the idea.
One of the things that rental life doesn’t always give, however, is the opportunity to run wild with your creative side when decorating your home. After all, most landlords don’t think much of your experimental design aesthetic, especially if it involves paint, architectural details, or other “fixes” that can’t be easily removed when your lease is up.
But it’s so much fun to decorate and change up the look of your space. And the good news is, there are many things you can do to bring high style to your space while still staying on the best of terms with your landlord. Here then are 5 fun ways to personalize your rental that are totally temporary.
If you haven’t seen the gorgeous plant walls decorators are using, you’ve been missing out. And the best part? They don’t require you to make any major changes to the space. Whether you use shelves full of leafy greens, hanging plants on ropes and pullies (which makes for easier watering), or a wall of succulents embedded in salvaged frames or flats, you’re sure to find a style of plant wall that you’ll love and that you can maintain. This is an especially great option for apartments that get a lot of sunlight.
Hate the look of those standard mini-blinds in your rental? The good news is, they are so easy to pop out of their brackets and replace with some gorgeous Roman shades or honeycomb blinds. There’s even this gorgeous fabric shade that is dirt-cheap, totally adjustable, and sticks on like a post-it! Mount it in the frame in seconds, then peel it off and replace the old mini-blinds when you move out.
Or cover those blinds with curtains. If you don’t use heavy drapes, the curtain rod will put only small holes in the wall, or get a tension rod to mount inside the frame and you won’t even need to drill a hole. There are so many cute options, including fun vintage curtains in a kitchen or bathroom for low-cost kitsch that will brighten up any space.
Want to keep your rental from looking so generic? Ditch those builder grade light fixtures and replace them with something truly special. Find a vintage fixture, a gorgeous chandelier, or paint a garage sale find and have it installed in place of your current fixture. Just be sure to keep the old light so that you can have it replaced before your move out. This is a very easy and inexpensive install that can have a huge impact on your space. Obviously talk with your landlord FIRST to make sure you can work together on the task so that it is done properly.
One of the reasons we sometimes feel that an apartment is bland is because it has been furnished haphazardly, with mom and dad’s castoffs, flea market finds, and other hand me downs. Want to create a sense of style, even if you can’t afford all new things? Use color to pull the place together. Choose one or two main colors, then one accent color, and remake everything in one of those shades. For example, a black and white color scheme, with pops of scarlet or gold, can be a sophisticated palate. Or pale blue and gray, with accents of bright yellow, can bring a modern feel to that outdated furniture. Then use those colors to paint, slipcover, or reupholster until everything is pulled together in your new color scheme. And the best part? If you change your mind next season, you can paint it all again.
The Crowning Touch:
Wondering why some apartments look so flat, especially if they are fairly new built or renovated spaces? Part of the reason is the lack of crown molding next to the ceiling, baseboards, and around the windows. The good news is you can buy molding, then install it using Velcro with adhesive backing. Use it around doorways or windows to give a finished look. Create a chair rail to define a space. Don’t have a way to cut it to size? You can buy peel & stick molding that you trim with scissors for a perfect fit.
Any of these ideas can help you take your rental from blah to BLAM! in no time at all, without damaging the surfaces in your apartment, to create a custom space that looks like a showplace and feels like home.