I’m a renter and have been my entire adult life. My biggest challenge with renting is that I can’t make our space fully our own. I can’t change the stain of hardwood floors, put up wallpaper or demo our outdated bathrooms. That said, I DID make a few changes that made our current rental feel a lot more us and I’m going to share them with you.
Credit: Annie Selke
UPDATE LIGHTING FIXTURES
A new light can completely change the look of a room. I updated almost all of the light fixtures in our current rental home. I swapped out two chandeliers, updated sconces over our mantle and changed a couple of vanity lights in the bathrooms. All of these new fixtures had a transforming look. If you do change out your lights, just make sure to save the lights that you’re taking down so when you move out you can swap them back and take the ones you love with you to your next home.
HIDE YOUR FLOORS WITH RUGS
Our hardwoods (which cover most of our downstairs) are an outdated ‘90s stain of wood and it was all I noticed when I first walked into our home. We also have wall-to-wall white carpet in our living room which looked totally monochromatic with our white furniture. The solution for both? RUGS. I layered two rugs in our living room to cover most of the carpet and added runners throughout the downstairs to break up the color of the outdated wood. Rugs can be a little tricky to move to a new home if they’re large in size, so I recommend sourcing rugs at a price-point that you’re OK to leave behind if you have to. Layering rugs is another great way to save money. Opt for a larger natural fiber rug, like sisal or jute, that you can always find for a good price, and layer a colorful, nicer rug on top in a smaller size.
Credit: Caitlin Wilson Design
BRIGHTEN UP WITH PAINT
Depending on where you live you may or may not be able to paint, but as long as you paint it back to the color you found it…will they know?! Most of the walls in our current home are neutral enough that they worked, although we did add color to a bathroom and our daughters’ rooms to make them feel more our own. For homes you plan to rent longer-term, ask your landlord if there is something you want to paint that’s more permanent, like a red brick fireplace or outdated cabinets in a kitchen. These changes can add a lot of value to your rental and oftentimes the landlord is happy for you to make the them if you’re personally willing to invest.
We need a new couch, but we’re waiting to get one until we buy our first home. The reason being, couches are expensive and there’s not guarantee it will be the right size and/or shape for our next home. When I can’t update the furniture, I update the accents. Accents like lamps, throw pillows, and art can reinvent a room. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive furniture to make your home feel refreshed – you can make an impact with accents alone, and accents are guaranteed to work in your next home.
Credit: Cailini Coastal