Living in a rental has many limitations. For starters you don’t own the place. That’s a whole big story all by itself. But secondly the landlord has all these conditions that make you feel like you are doing him a favor just by living there. The first time you enter a rental you are about to occupy, it may look nice and spacious but chances are if you do not work on some things, it will remain that way well after you have moved in. So if you are living in a rented space take heart and grab some overalls, time for some cozying-up home improvements, Rental Edition!
Color and more Color
Don’t settle for the colors you got when you landed there. Usually landlords will throw on a quick layer of paint to make the house look clean and “new” but this paint tends to be a very neutral or dull color or worse yet, a very off color (that you do not like). So for starters, you need to figure out what personality you want your home to have; playful, serious, relaxing, invigorating, etc. Pick the colors that most appeal to your personality and moods.
Remember it’s not about shock-treatment by picking the wildest colors you can find (unless that’s your preference) but rather taking that house and coloring it into the kind of home you’d like. You can also experiment with art or prints that can create color zones in your house; excellent for creating multicolor designs for the house. You’ll find that even an empty house that has had some color work put in has a sense of coziness or homeliness.
Lighting and Fixtures
Lights, fixtures, action! You will probably find very standard and sometimes uninspired lighting and fixtures in the rental you take up; very basic stuff that just gets the job done. This is another area ripe for a design intervention. When it comes to lighting, you may not have the luxury to change the layout of the lighting but you can add some few things. For instance, replacing the one single bulb with a beautiful medley of light bulbs or a chandelier will instantly change the immediate character of the house.
Armed with some DIY tools, you can even replace the bulb holders with some fancier stuff. You can also install a light dimmer so that your house gets graded light depending on your mood. LED lighting is another hot new area you can experiment in because LED lights are both easy to work with and they produce the coolest light gradients and arrays you will ever see.
When it comes to fixtures, we are talking about door handles, switches, taps, etc. Depending on how adventurous you are, you can choose to go after all the fixtures in your house but if not, you may get away with changing the light switches and door handles, two things that will up the posh in your space.
Depth and Space
So you have moved into a studio apartment and all you see is space, and more space. Some may like this but others may not. If you are part of the latter camp, you have the option of creating depth in the space in a number of ways. One way is to use movable partitions or screens. These are easy to set up and come in various designs and made from various materials. The good thing about these frames is that you can move them around whenever you like.
If you get bored with them being on one side of the room you can shift them to another side or remove them altogether. Structural partitions are something else. These are wooden partitions that are built to be semi-permanent and that create additional spaces and rooms within the global space.
This is a great option especially for families because it becomes increasingly difficult for a family to live in a studio apartment (although it has been done before!) but it does make more sense. One thing to watch out for when working with partitions is they can end up making the house look and seem small so use them with discretion and don’t overdo it.
So there you have it, three ways to take your rental from house to home. Nice and easy to implement (although you may need some help, especially with the electrical and structural stuff) and that make the place look fantastic. Now you have no excuse for living in a rental just the way you found it, give it a dash of your personality and charm, make it yours!