When you’re renting, you don’t always have the luxury of personalizing your space. But there are things you can do to make your space feel like a home.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize
Image: Laurel & Wolf
“It’s so important for your space to feel like home sweet home, especially after a long day of school or work,” says interior designer Jessica Today of Laurel & Wolf. “One of the simplest and most affordable ways to brighten up your space and show off your style is to add throw pillows, textured blankets, your favorite scent of candles and area rugs. Rugs are perfect for laying over old, existing flooring.”
More: HGTV Dream Home accessories you can find on a budget
Dress up the walls, no paint required
Image: Bed Bath & Beyond
If your landlord won’t let you paint the walls, consider the easy alternative: temporary wallpaper. NuWallpaper is a peel-and-stick wallpaper that goes up in minutes (no paste!) and comes down in seconds without damaging the walls. Cover an accent wall or an entire room without worrying about how it might affect your security deposit.
Featuring trendy beachwood and white brick patterns as well as fun, quirky animal prints, NuWallpaper is perfect for DIY projects, too. Line the backs of bookshelves or on an upcycled dresser for your own customized furniture look. Each 20.5-inch wide roll of NuWallpaper is 18 feet long. (Bed Bath & Beyond, $40)
More: 10 Wallpapers that prove wallpaper isn’t ugly anymore
Use tension rods for temporary style
Image: Saklakova/Getty Images
Drilling holes in the walls or window sills is likely to have a negative effect on your security deposit. But no one expects you to forgo privacy by leaving windows bare. Tension rods (the kind you’d use to hang a shower curtain, for example) come in a range of sizes that are ideal for drapes and curtains.
Beyond helping you dress your windows, you can use tension rods to add privacy within your rental. Use them to hang pretty fabrics on door-less closets, and use them within the closets as extra rods for hanging clothes. Add a tension rod and a bit of canvas to your bookcases to hide the shelves that aren’t so neat.
More: The best window treatments for each room in your home
Swap out the lighting, then swap it back
Image: Razan Altiraifi
Rental units rarely feature appealing light fixtures. But Apt. Envy’s Kerra Michele Huerta, who resides in a 560-square-foot rental in of Washington, D.C.’s fabulous Dupont Circle, encourages renters to check with their landlord to see if they can change out the existing light fixtures and put the original ones back in place when they leave. In her dining room, Huerta replaced the rental’s light with a trendy pendant light with a black barrel shade.
More: How lighting can affect your mood
Don’t hang, lean instead
Hanging a really heavy mirror or piece of art can be problematic for renters. You’ll need to add reinforcements (think drywall expanders) to the holes you’re probably not supposed to make in the first place.
Instead, consider leaning your large framed items against a wall or mantel. This way, there’s no damage to the walls — and they’ll look really trendy, too!
More: DIY botanical wall decor to bring the outdoors in
Easy, inexpensive kitchen update
With new cabinet and drawer pulls, an out-of-date kitchen can look instantly refreshed. Measure the existing pulls (better yet, take one along) and start shopping. Shoot for a modern brushed metal design, or have fun with mismatched handles in funky jewel tones and patterns. Bonus: When you move out of your rental, your knobs move with you.
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