One of the joys of renting an apartment or home is that you’re not responsible for maintenance and repairs. However, one of the challenges is decorating your temporary home to reflect your style but with impermanence in mind. Everything you do should be easily undone, able to move with you, and not cause permanent damage, which can sometimes limit your options. With a little effort, a bit of creativity, and expenditures as small or as large as you want, you can still make your rental the haven you desire and deserve.
First, Check Your Lease
Review your lease and see what modifications are allowed — and what isn’t. Many leasing companies are okay with painting if you repaint to the original color when you move out. Also, check the rules for putting holes in the walls. Generally, small holes for hanging art or small items are permitted, as long as you patch them before you leave.
Choose an Area Rug That Brings Warmth and Style
Rugs to cover existing hard flooring will serve a dual purpose of softening sound in the room — no one likes an echo inside — and providing additional insulation and warmth. Area or large rugs that cover most of a room also add color, texture, and a touch of your style. Consider indoor-outdoor rugs for durability and easy clean-up, especially if you have a pet.
Hang Wallpaper Instead of Painting
If you’re not allowed to paint — or don’t want to — wallpaper is an easy DIY option. Dress up an entryway, add some pizzazz to the living room, or set a calming tone in the bedroom. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is an excellent option as it is easy to put up and remove. Plus, you can easily swap it out when you need a room refresh. If you use traditional wallpaper, pay close attention to hanging instructions and be prepared to do some paint touch-ups when you remove the paper at the end of your lease.
Find Inexpensive Wall Art
Do you love art but don’t want to spend much money? Online shops like Etsy offer digital downloads that you can print and frame yourself for a fraction of the cost of a premium piece of art. Or snap your own photos of scenes or details you find appealing, then print them in poster sizes. To cut costs, source inexpensive frames from thrift stores and Buy Nothing groups on Facebook.
If art’s not your thing, consider displaying a collection of something that matters to you. Movie posters, magazine covers, LP sleeves, dishware, you name it. You’ll have the pleasure of seeing your collectibles daily, and they’ll provide a starting point for conversation.
Don’t Neglect the Ceiling
Sometimes, we forget the ceiling is another wall — it’s just above us. When we hang items from the ceiling, we maximize all of our space. In addition to light fixtures, signs, and mobiles, you can hang plants from the ceiling for an extra touch of greenery. Lightweight air plants are a great option, as they need little light and no soil and are easy to care for.
Wall mirrors do more than help us check our appearance before walking out the door. When strategically placed, they amplify the natural light from windows and make a room feel bigger.
Lamps are also crucial. Standard overhead ceiling fixtures are often too small to provide enough light and create unflattering shadows with the light they shed. Instead, invest in lamps that are fun and easily changed, whether through a quick paint job or a new shade. Experiment with location, too. Lamps that have been relegated to the bedroom can create a whole unique vibe when relocated and given a new topper. Lamps are also a great place to splurge now and then because they will move with you again and again.
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