what really makes a house a home? it’s not necessarily a mortgage, is it? we’ve all rented at one point in our lives, and until recently i’ve rented my entire life. so i’ve been there — and apartment hunting can be frustrating and competitive. Finding the right apartment in this tight market can be tough enough without dealing with nightmare rental agencies, agents, and outrageous fees. i was invited to check out
you know how when you’re just starting out in an apartment, maybe decorating for the first time and you’re feeling a little cautious or limited? maybe you’ve got boring budgets to contend with, or perhaps because you’re in a rental so you don’t want to do anything too permanent. i think that’s quite alright — it’s sometimes wise to take things slowly, adding elements to our homes over time, rather than all at once. this process ensures you make far fewer decorating faux pas, and get it just right, rather than wasting your budget with snap decisions. it can also be much more gratifying and fun to go slowly as you decorate, revising plans and tweaking your ideas as your awareness for your design aesthetic becomes more clear. you kind of grow into your space!
i thought i’d share a few things i’ve learned over the years to add a bit more style to a rental with some easy and inexpensive projects that you can do to completely change the look of a room without spending a ton of cash. and, they’re decorating ideas that are easy fixes — ensuring that if you grow tired of them, or decide you want a change it’s no big deal. things like paint, for instance, are always an easy fix if your landlord approves (i’ve very often offered to pay for the paint just to get them onboard — even if that just means a fresh coat of white paint).
a few easy and inexpensive fixes:
• if your landlord says yes, paint! i think i once painted a bathroom three times, so while the room may have shrunk (ha!) the mood change was always a pretty easy and affordable transition.
• fresh flowers can make a huge difference (plants, too!). i try to hit the flower mart at least a couple of times a month for inexpensive branches and flowers. or go wild, and forage the hillsides for your own.
• if you aren’t allowed to put nails in your walls, consider 3m command strips — they remove easily and don’t leave marks on your walls. however, if you want to look tres chic and effortlessly cool, just lean your artwork against the walls or cabinets and dressers. i swear, it looks great.
• use furniture that doubles as storage — like this sweet and petit table (just below) that’s also a magazine rack. perfect space saver for smaller apartments. daybeds are a good solution, too — perfect for seating but also ideal for last-minute sleepovers. ikea has got great design and loads of super affordable options. look there first for statement pieces and easy storage solutions for sure.
• accessorize! pillows and rugs can make a dull room come to life. there are so many textile options online these days, so let your keyboard do the walking. or, if you’re handy, get out your sewing machine make your own pillows. vintage fabrics found at the flea market make for beautiful, one of a kind pillows.
• speaking of vintage flea market finds: i found these wall sconces and mirror for next to nothing. i’ve also found dressers and chairs super cheap on craigslist. even beat up old pieces given a coat of glossy black paint can look fabulous. a very small investment for a quart of paint and a little elbow grease.
• books!!! for me, what really makes a house a home are my books. they’re like best friends i just can’t part with. arrange them by spine color for a really cohesive and good looking bookshelf. or, seek out those little nooks and crannies (especially unique in older apartments) and stack your books for a great look.
so it’s exciting to finally take some chances with your design plans as you get more comfortable with your taste — after all the hard work you put in to accomplish your goals around renting your home, it’s time to start to have a little fun with your decorating — and without spending a ton of money. and remember, it’s always a work in progress! now, go find your perfect rental.
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