It seems we have all become renters, but that does not mean we have to eschew our need to decorate – even if your home is a rental.
No matter where you live, it should always be a reflection of your personality and taste. It’s time to make it feel like your very own, otherwise you never really feel like you are vested.
Unfortunately, with a new lease comes strict rules that vary from landlord to landlord. It is common for most renters to feel hesitant to throw up a loud chintz wallpaper to liven up the living room. A security deposit, after all, is something you’d like to have returned to you one day.
Below is a starter course in making your rental feel like you own it—one that involves cutting corners, pushing limits, and breaking the rules (just a wee bit).
Change the Light Fixtures
So this is major! Changing a light fixture is not as big a deal as one would think. The right light in a bathroom or bedroom can go a long way to improving the quality of life.
Lighting is so personal, and landlords typically opt for something plain and forgettable. The piece you choose should make you happy, and remember that it’s coming with you if you move, so spending some extra dough on it isn’t foolish—it’s an investment.
Hang Some Colorful Curtains
If you are satisfied with the dusty, off-white blinds that came with your apartment, I’m happy for you. The other 99.99% of us are not. Curtains bring the drama and the color pop you need in a living room.
Keep the blinds raised to their highest level to avoid seeing them at all, and have a professional install them. It shouldn’t cost a lot of money if you go to Curtain stores—where they take care of everything from soup to nuts—and will be very easy to remove and take with you when you decide to break the lease.
Upholster your Bedroom Door
You must upholster a door. Not the front door, though. No, you already painted that.
Decorating your door can go a very long way, and is somewhat easy to reverse. Upholstery is not as easy as paint, but you might as well. Leather is pricey, but there are plenty of fun faux-croc fabrics that don’t cost a lot but look expensive.
Hang a Fabric from the Walls
This is the ultimate design hack. Take a look around your living room or bedroom at those many vertical feet of a blinding shade of white. A new paint job isn’t an option because you will have to restore the apartment to its original color when you leave, so either your wallet or your back are going to suffer greatly at some point. Same goes for wallpaper, but worse.
Well, lucky for you, nail-holes are typically considered “normal wear-and-tear,” so pick a wall—I suggest the one behind your headboard—and hang a colorful, patterned fabric across it.
Paint your Front Door
This is the pulling-off-the-Band-Aid portion of the story. They always tell you not to paint the walls of a rental. OK, so don’t! Instead, buy a can of paint and go to town on your front door.
If the day ever comes that you decide to move, you will only have to paint over that one spot. Believe me, it’ll be worth the one hour of backache.
Change the Shower Head
Water pressure is not something many of us can regulate. Sometimes we just have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that taking a shower in our rental will feel like sprinkles poured over a scoop of French Vanilla.
You can avoid this by investing in a rain shower head, which, when positioned at a perfect 180-degree angle, gives the illusion of luxury. The water comes down a bit harder and more evenly over your head and shoulders. If you close your eyes, you can almost picture yourself showering in a seven-star hotel.
Make a Gallery Wall
Every home, regardless of whether it is owned, shared, or rented must feature a gallery wall. Not only are they fun to plan and put together, but they allay all concerns about art.
Hanging art in a thoughtful way, goes a super long way and can hide a lot of boring off-white walls, which seems to be the predominant color of rentals.
If you have 10 works framed, ranging from photos and prints to posters and your child’s finger-paintings, the eye—yours or that of a critical houseguest—won’t land on just one.
Install a New Kitchen Faucet
For the most part, the faucets in rentals are pretty heinous. I have encountered some that were so sad and grimy, I took my life into my own hands just by using it to wash them.
Invest in a new and contemporary (read: expensive) faucet for a new look. Don’t throw out the original, though, because: A) As with the lighting fixtures you replaced, you’ll need to reinstall it before leaving; and B) This is an investment faucet, so take it with you wherever you end up.