Renting your home has some advantages over owning it: your landlord will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, giving you less to worry about if the water heater breaks or a pipe freezes. However, less responsibility comes with less freedom, and not owning the space can present some limitations in how you personalize your home.
But just because your name isn’t on the deed doesn’t mean the space you live in can’t reflect your personality! Here, we take a look at some of the most common problems with decorating rented apartments, and our favorite solutions you can do yourself that won’t make you break your budget or lose your deposit!
Problem: 50 Shades of Beige
Photo courtesy of Errez Design
Neutral color palettes are popular for decorating rental spaces because light colors make the space appear bigger, and neutral tones are easy to touch up between tenants.
Unfortunately, this can mean that everything in your apartment is a blah shade of white or beige. Even if painting isn’t an option, there are other ways to make your space more colorful.
Simple Fix: Nothing pops against neutral tones better than brightly colored accessories. Pick a color palette for each room and a piece that you want to be your focal point. Area rugs will both accentuate your style and keep your carpets cleaner, making less of a dent in your deposit. Bonus- because you aren’t committing to a paint color, changing your color palette when the mood strikes you will be a cinch.
For the Diehard DIY: Wall decals have all of the interest of an accent wall with none of the commitment. Simply find one that appeals to you, install, and go! They are less expensive and time consuming than painting an accent wall and will still offer a nice focal point for your room. If you can’t find one that inspires you, it is simple to make your own design from removable wallpaper.
Problem: Let There Be Light
Photo courtesy of Brian Paquette Interiors
Unless you are lucky enough to live in a corner unit or the top floor of a building, many apartments can have a short supply of natural light. Add in a shortage of electrical sockets, and you can end up with a dark and dreary space.
Luckily, there are a few tricks to maximizing what you have and brightening up your home!
Simple Fix: If your apartment has blinds that block out natural light, replacing them with curtains can maintain your privacy while allowing light in. Ten minutes with a drill and a level and you can hang your own curtain rod, complete with custom curtains. Placing a large mirror on the wall opposite a window will not only increase the amount of natural light in the room, but will also make the space look bigger.
For the Diehard DIY: There is no reason for you to be stuck with the lighting in place when you moved in. If there is no overhead lighting in a room and floor lamps aren’t quite cutting it, you can create your own hanging lamp that plugs into a wall socket with parts available from any hardware store. Simply tack or tape the cord up in the corner of the wall and along the ceiling- you can even paint the cord the same shade as your wall to camouflage it better by asking your landlord if they have any samples of the paint. Your creativity is the limit when you create your own hanging lamp to light up your room!
Problem: Details, Details
Photo courtesy of Errez Design
Character is all in the details. You won’t be able to change larger features in your apartment to fit your style, but small details are key when building an overall impression. A space with few personal details can end up looking temporary and bland. If it still looks like you moved in yesterday, here are some changes you can make to leave your mark.
Simple Fix: Live plants add color and personalize a space. Even if you aren’t much of a green thumb, there are plants that can survive in just about any climate. While totally transportable, plants can give an impression of permanence and make a space look livable.
Blank walls can look impersonal and thumbtacks on the wall can look like a dorm room. For a more sophisticated look, frame your wall hangings. Frames can be found cheaply at garage sales and thrift stores and will look good as new with a fresh coat of spray paint.
For the Diehard DIY: Any bathroom or kitchen can be given a five minute makeover with new hardware. Replace boring kitchen and bathroom drawer pulls with updated ones from a hardware store for a classy, pulled together look. These can also be taken with you when you move- keep the originals together in the bottom of a closet or drawer, and you can take your personal additions with you when you leave.
Apartment decoration comes with its own set of challenges, but sometimes limitations can be the spark for creativity.
Top Image Credit: Brian Paquette Interiors
Have you ever had a challenging apartment space that called for a brilliant solution? Let us know in the comments!