Living in a rented home or apartment means that you’re already spending a bunch of money every month on rent, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like the place you live in. But, when it comes to decorating your place, it’s not just the lack of money that stops you; it’s also the fact that you simply don’t want to invest whatever you have left on sprucing up somebody else’s spot. Also, you might have questions about what you’re able to actually upgrade since you don’t own the place.
But the important thing to remember is that although the place isn’t yours, you still need to live in that space for the time being so you might as well make it work for you.
Luckily, there are ways to personalize your apartment and make it feel a bit more “homey,” even when you’re on a tight budget.
Paint the Walls
When you live in a rented property, you need to consult the landlord before doing any changes. Although painting the walls seems like quite a big change, 99% of the landlords will probably say yes because you’re actually doing them a huge favor. They’ll get their walls painted for free and you’ll finally get freshly painted walls in the color you prefer. Paint the whole home white to freshen it up and get a blank canvass to work with. And if white feels too plain, paint a small wall in a more shocking hue.
Invest in a Great Rug
If you’re living in a rental, the rugs probably haven’t been changed for decades and are now worn out. Even worse, the property doesn’t have any rugs and you have to see that ugly old laminate floor every single day! When it comes to rugs, don’t be afraid to splurge. Great vintage rugs never go out of style and the best thing is you can take them with you when you decide to leave the rented place. Try using Scandinavian rugs to add an art deco feel to the apartment which goes hand in hand with the current interior design trends.
Change the Furniture
When you want to furnish a space quickly and on a budget but without sacrificing appearance, IKEA is a lifesaver. If your apartment is entirely or partially furnished, set about $500 aside. With this amount, you can literally go wild and buy everything from plants and plates to mirrors and footstalls.
However, as mentioned earlier, when you’re renting, your money is best spent on stuff you can take with you when you leave, so make sure to invest in at least one stand-out piece of furniture.
Finally, if you are a bit skillful, you can save lots of money by DIY-ing. Pallet beds, plywood dining sets, side tables made with old magazines… just scroll through Pinterest and you’ll find tons of ideas.
If You Can’t Buy New Furniture
If buying new pieces of furniture is still too much for you, just change the fixtures and fittings. Bathroom cabinetry, kitchen cabinetry, ironmongery, entrance doors, wardrobe doors… Changing these can upgrade the feel of the entire home. And the best part is you can take all of it with you when you leave. Installing pretty new handles on ugly kitchen cabinet doors will divert the attention and uplift the entire kitchen. Change the fabric, hooks, and feet as well.
Another thing you can do is paint the furniture. If it’s not very ugly, you can paint only small parts of it to brighten up the space.
Don’t Forget the Soft Furnishings
Don’t forget the finishing touches, such as cushions and bed linen. Cushions are a great way to add some color to your apartment and make it feel more homely. If the property has an outdoor space, opt for printed linens that work great both inside and in outdoor areas.
If you’re looking to update your bedroom, changing the sheets can do wonders. Layer up subtle neutrals in linens and denim or, if you prefer bolder colors, choose cotton sheets with striking patterns and bright colors.
Make a Difference with Accessories
Besides changing the furnishings, home accessories can also make a big difference in your rented home. Add them to shelves, mantels, and any other empty space in the apartment. Vases, decorative storage, candle holders, trays, you can really add whatever your heart desires. Use them to put the space together and create a story. However, be careful not to go overboard. Display only a few things and always keep them tidy.
Display Pictures and Art
Just like accessories, artworks are great for drawing attention off ugly furnishings or walls. If your landlord doesn’t allow putting paintings on the walls, lean them against the walls to create a more relaxed feel to the room. This works especially well with larger pieces. You can also use tape instead of nails or place your artwork on easels.
Bring Nature Inside
If the inside of your rented home looks dull, bring in some life (and extra oxygen) with plants. House plants are an easy and affordable way to personalize any room and add a pop of color. In addition, they help clean the air which is known to reduce stress levels. Put them on the windows to divert focus from ugly window ledges. Oh, and make sure to choose plants that are easy to keep alive. Just in case…
Solve the Lack of Storage Space
If your apartment is on the smaller side, you can easily solve the problem with storage space with shelves. You can either buy cheap shelves or make your own by using plywood and wall brackets from the nearest DIY store. Then comes the best part – personalizing and dressing your shelves. Most landlords have no problem with you putting shelves as long as you agree to fill the holes before leaving the place.
Dress the Windows
There is no quicker fix than changing the window dressings. Remove the ugly old dressings and replace them with shades, curtains, or drapes in your favorite color. Don’t forget that you’ll be able to take this when you leave, so it is worth the investment. Bamboo shades are especially convenient as they are inexpensive and easy to hang and add instant texture and warmth to any space.
Light it Up
Often neglected in rented homes, lighting is key to making the space more homely. Remove boring central pendants and invest in a small but great-looking lamp to add personality to your rented apartment. You can also use an overhead light to add instant ambiance to the room. In addition, consider the bulbs you are using – if there is no dimmer switch in the apartment, opt for bulbs with lower-wattages or filaments to get a beautiful evening glow.