It’s not your forever home, but it’s home right now — and it’s time you make it feel that way. Even with restrictive rules that prevent you from, say, painting the walls or renovating the bathroom, you can still customize a rented apartment or house so that it feels like yours. And, by the time you are ready to move into a place of your own, you’ll have the decorating prowess to make that one even more reflective of who you are.
Here are six ideas, from guest blogger Kacey Bradley, to make wherever you’re living feel like it’s your home.
1. Choose Flexible Furniture
One of the secrets of decorating a temporary abode is to buy furniture that’s versatile, rather than pieces that fit perfectly into your current layout. That way, you don’t have to continually sell and replace items when you move from one property to another.
Fortunately, flexible furniture is available in all different forms. Modular sofas with movable pieces or adjustable armrests, for example, can be stretched or cut down to size depending on the dimensions of your living room. Folding chairs, adjustable tables and pieces with hidden or built-in storage will always work.
2. Camouflage Floors
Not every rental will come with the hardwoods of your dreams. Whether you have old linoleum, scratched planks or carpet, you can instantly update your floors with an area rug. These cost-effective accents not only disguise whatever material it is that you don’t like, but they also add interest and colour to any space. Plus, if your rental has an open floor plan, area rugs define the different zones — living room, dining room, office, etc.
3. Light It Right
Light is one of the easiest design elements to customize, and yet it’s so often overlooked. But having the right bulbs and lighting options can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a space — especially if your rental has overly bright or too dim overhead lighting installed.
Once you have the right combination of table and floor lamps within your rental, don’t forget to look outdoors. Illuminating your backyard, patio or balcony will not only make it look romantic at night, but it will also enhance the functionality of the space — say hello to late-night summer parties and barbecues.
4. Update the Hardware
Your rental property’s cabinetry isn’t as modern as you’d like it to be, but a quick project can make it look fresher — no renovation or painting required. Just swap the cabinet hardware for handles and pulls in a more contemporary finish.
You can easily remove the hardware that’s there and store it somewhere so that, when you move out, you can re-affix them back into position. Just make sure you choose a handle or pull similar in style to the ones already there — you can’t drill any additional holes to put them in place.
5. Swap Window Coverings
Most rental properties come with standard, neutral paint colours, as well as white-painted trim, to appeal to as many potential tenants as possible. Adding classic white vinyl blinds to this already plain palette won’t make your space any cozier than it is now.
So, consider choosing bamboo Roman shades, which come in a warmer tone that’s still neutral. They’re simple to install, and many hardware stores will trim them down to fit your windows, whatever size they are. If rods are already installed — or if you’re allowed to drill holes in your walls — then add curtains for a pop of color and warmth. As a bonus, closing the curtains in winter will serve as an added defense against the cold weather outside.
6. Add (Even More) Fabric
If you’ve hung your curtains or laid down an area rug already, then you know the power that fabric can have in any room of your home. This is especially true when you’re unable to paint the walls or hang art — the right tapestries can bring the brightness you seek.
So, as you finish up decorating your rental property, don’t skimp on fabric accents. Throws, pillows and blankets, for example, can transform the look of your entire living room with a big pop of colour. The same goes for bathroom and kitchen towels, as well as the linens you use to cover your bed. The best part is that fabric elements are typically budget-friendly, meaning you can swap them out when you want a new pattern or colour palette.
Make It Yours
Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean your apartment or house shouldn’t feel like home. So, thoughtfully plan and put together a décor scheme that works with your landlord’s rules and your tastes, too. And, once you’ve struck that perfect balance, you’ll find yourself so much more in love with the place in which you’re living, no matter how temporary of a situation it is — that’s because it feels like it’s yours now.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.
Images courtesy of Deborah Cortelazzi, Toa Heftiba, Dane Deaner and DesignEcologist, via Unsplash.