With the current state of the real estate market, it seems more and more of us are renting – and often we’re renting a house rather than an apartment because many owners can’t sell their house … so they rent it. Whether you’re renting a 3000 square foot house, 1500 square foot condo or 800 square foot apartment, the dilemma is the same. How do you make it your own?
8 Ways to Personalize a Rental
1. Use modular and multi-purpose furniture to maximize how it will fit and work in a room. Avoid overscale, overstuffed pieces because not every rental will have enough room to use those pieces comfortably.
This photo represents several positive attributes of rental furnishing: multi-use furniture – the ottoman/benches tucked under the end tables can be pulled out for more seating or table surface; light colored furniture to work in any color scheme or home style; clear lamps and chair to maximize the feeling of space in what is often smaller rooms; and, reflective art (the abstract mirrored piece) to bounce light around the room.
2. Cover ugly flooring or stained carpet with lively area rugs. Define spaces with rugs.
Area rugs in these two photos define a seating area, add color and pattern to the floor, and hide potentially unsightly flooring.
3. Hide clutter. Maximize closet storage, use baskets and bins and pretty storage furniture to store papers etc. so your space feels as big as possible. Make sure the accessories and personal items left out really exemplify your personality and style.
4. Hang art to cover the standard white walls and bring your own personality into the space. Most landlords understand you’ll want to hang pictures so don’t restrict that, but you may have to spackle and fill the holes when you leave. An alternative would be to use the Command hanging strips/hooks – they don’t leave a mark and work to hang most anything.
5. Paint when you can. Some landlords will let you paint if you choose something neutral. I’ve rented off and on over the last 10 years and have been able to paint every home since I volunteer to do the work and buy the paint so it doesn’t cost the landlord anything. Some have wanted to approve the color before I paint, but that’s okay. To me, anything (even a quiet neutral) is better than apartment white! If you can’t paint, you’ll have to add color in more creative ways.
6. Enhance window treatments. Most rentals don’t have draperies, they have those inexpensive plastic or metal mini blinds. There are LOTS of better options. Without spending a lot of money, you can add drapery panels (nothing fancy) in at least the most important or public rooms and soften the look of those bad blinds. It instantly personalizes and warms up the space. Watch for sales on the hardware and just choose basic pieces. I’ve added drapes in some rooms in every rental I have lived in. Draperies just never seem to fit the new house so I usually leave them behind (then I don’t have to patch holes or store the drapes that don’t fit the new place).
These are drapes I added to a home we rented in Arizona. The hardware is simple and basic and the panels were from Walmart – very affordable and much better to look at than the plastic blinds (I have them pulled all the way up).
7 & 8. Personalize your kitchen and bath with judicious use of accessories. Most rental kitchens and baths are very utilitarian and neutral. Plain, plain, plain. Add curtains in the kitchen using a spring rod drapery hardware so you CAN take it with you. Hang plates or fill a window ledge with plants to personalize the space.
The biggest impact on a neutral bathroom is the shower curtain. Even if the room has a built in glass shower door or glass doors on a tub, add a shower curtain. It adds personality and color instantly. Finish with bright towels and a fun piece of art and the space feels less like a rental and more like your home.
Take the Time
Just because you rent doesn’t mean your space can’t reflect your style and personality. So, what’s holding you back? Go ahead and transform your rented space into the place of your dreams! Remember, if you need some help creating that space or figuring out how you can adapt what you own to where you live, Cindy and I can help. Check out our consultation options by clicking here.