When it comes to decorating a rental apartment you've got to put your own stamp on it - no matter how generic it may appear on move-in day. Because no matter how many people have lived there before you, or how many people will live there after, it's yours now and it needs to reflect your style. And while it's true that you have to live within certain parameters, there are plenty of things you can do to create a space that's all about you (without breaking any rules).
Change the Hardware
An easy way to make a big, but subtle difference is to change a room’s hardware. And this doesn’t have to be limited to kitchen cabinets. Change doorknobs, outlet covers and switch plates if the existing ones don’t suit your style. Although it seems like a small thing, hardware helps set the tone of a room. Replacing something standard with something special makes a world of difference. Just hang onto the old ones so you can switch them back in when you move out.
Change the Light Fixtures
Many rental apartments come with standard, run-of-the-mill light fixtures. Living room lighting is very important so these should be switched out right away when you move in. Replace them with something stylish and special that suits your taste and your decor. Just be sure to let the landlord know (in case there are any electrical concerns), and store the old fixtures so that you can put them back when you leave.
Remove the Mini Blinds
Nothing screams, “this is a rental!” like white mini blinds covering all the windows. And more often than not they’re dingy and have a few bent pieces. If you move into a place that has them take them down ASAP and cover them with proper window treatments. You can replace them with any other style of window cover, but give serious consideration to curtains and drapes. They’re great for hiding things like dirty, dingy windows and cracked molding (all too common in inexpensive rentals).
Use Removable Wallpaper
Peel and stick wallpaper may be one of the greatest things that’s ever been invented (at least in the world of rental décor). Traditional wallpaper glue is well-known for being almost impossible to remove, but peel and stick papers are quick and easy. So go wild and paper your entryway, powder room, or create a take-notice feature wall. The possibilities are endless with this decorating hack.
Cover the Walls
An empty wall is a lost opportunity. Art helps to express your personality and your style, and it also has a huge impact on a space. Hanging art is a must-do in any rental (in any room, really). It's better to have to fill some nail holes when you move out than never install anything on the walls. And if your landlord gives you a hard time about hammering nails into the walls, try some adhesive picture hooks. They're available in many different sizes - just make sure you get ones that can handle the weight of whatever you're hanging.
Too many people become complacent in rental units, thinking that since their options are limited they can't create the kind of home they really want. But even if you can't replace the floors or move any walls, you can still have the home of your dreams. Paint the walls, put down area rugs, accessorize with beautiful pieces and try some of the above tips. You'll be amazed at the kind of beautiful space you can create!