This is such a great question, and one that is near and dear to me, because I RENT TOO!!! 🙂 In fact, I’ve rented a house or apartment since the day I moved out of my parents home almost 17 years ago! Yikes! Now I’m really dating myself!
As renters, we’re constantly looking for reversible design solutions to blah apartments, and I’m right there with you! All this personal experience makes me quite the expert when it comes to temporary design, so I’ve compiled my list of sure fire ways to customize your rented spaces with ease!
1) Paint – Oooh! I know, the dreaded word for renters across the globe! But seriously you guys – IT’S. JUST. PAINT. Your home should reflect YOU, and not some cookie cutter landlord’s idea of you. Since you may live there for a few years or more, you may as well create a space that inspires you by choosing a soothing hue. If painting the whole room is too intimidating, start with an accent wall for a subtle punch!
2) Temporary Wallpapers – In the last several years, many products have been created just for those of us who rent – and one of my favs is temporary wallpapers! These sticky designs are easy to install and stay on like a charm! When you’re ready to move, simply peel them off the wall where there wont be any trace that they were ever there! Check out tempaper.com, modcloth.com, or even etsy for some super cool temporary paper designs!
3) Creative Storage -One of my biggest dilemmas in renting is where to put all my awkward belongings and equipment. I love using bed risers (less than $10!) that elevate the bed frame so that I may store funky things with all that space – and make my bed look waaaay cooler than it normally did at a regular height. I swear by an ottoman as opposed to a coffee table, as I find the added covered storage is perfect for my blankets, cookbooks, or pet supplies – and also serve as extra seating for my guests during parties. Last but not least – Invest in COVERED storage! Purchase a TV stand that has doors rather than those open kind that reveal your entire DVD collection, your gaming consoles and all those crazy wires and cords. Closed side tables, night stands, and credenzas are also great options to hide things like books, photos, cookware or bulk purchases!
4) Lighting – I have absolutely no good reason why apartments and rented spaces seem to really drop the ball on this particular necessity, but overhead lighting realllllllllly seems to be hard to find in most rooms. To combat this problem, invest in a few great floor lamps with architectural interest like this:
not something cheap and tacky like this:
…and make sure to get some great table lamps for your living room and bedroom as well!
5) Add plants – Never underestimate the power of a beautiful living tree in your home! This is my cheapest and all time favorite thing to add to a space and I love the way a plant can take up some vertical real estate! Try a selection of indoor house trees like the fiddle fig leaf tree, an areca palm, or even a funky cactus!
6) Art – if you’ve decided that you just can’t paint (some of you are so stubborn, I know!) then invest in some large colorful prints! They will take up a lot of wall space and give you some design direction in terms of color and style! Hang either one GINORMOUS piece, three poster sized prints hung close together, or create a cool installation with a collection of smaller framed art Just don’t be afraid to put a tiny little nail hole in the wall because they are SUPER easy to repair!
When all else fails, remember to keep your space CLEAN! I can not tell you the benefits of a tidy and well organized space – and to others – cleanliness translates as a well put together home. I hope these ideas really get you thinking and can help you create the home of your dreams – even if it’s not your dream home!