Guest post by jeweledinteriors.com
So you find yourself renting, do ya? I hear you my friend! We just made our 12th move in 17 years, and let me tell you that this is faaarrrrr too many :) The funny (not funny) part is that we have rented all but two of these abodes. Now, it may not be a title I’m proud of, but I fear that makes me a bit of an “expert" on setting up shop quickly, easily, and inexpensively. So, with that, let me share five of my favorite tips to personalizing a rental…(You guys, I seriously can’t believe I’m telling you all of my deepest secrets…)
// FLOOR THEM WITH YOUR WALLS //
Regardless of your style, the most effective way to go for big impact, visually, is to add character to your walls.
1. In the last rental I wallpapered six rooms in 10 months. I found this a fabulous way to get the most bang for my buck because walking into a room with color, pattern, and/or texture is so swanky. When it came time to remove said wallpaper, I noticed that Tempaper and some of the others were a breeze to remove, especially with these easy tips. The same can NOT be said for all wallpapers. I learned this lesson the hard way.
2. Learn From My Mistakes. Don’t try to buy paintable wallpaper as a way to get out of repainting when it’s time to leave. I used this product in three spaces and the paint bled and dyed my walls! It was a beast to take down, and it required so many touch ups. Painting would have been easier and less expensive.
3. Sometimes painting is an option, even in a rental. It doesn’t hurt to ask. If your contract or landlord gives you the green light you may enjoy wallpapering an accent wall and painting the other three.
// CURTAINS //
Fake it, don’t make it! When decorating a rental I find it liberating to think of my personalization of the space as staging vs decorating. The best way to illustrate this point is to talk curtains. Why invest in custom made drapes if you are only going to live in a place for a year or two? That’s just plain silly! Instead, think of inexpensive and time-conscious ways to customize your home.
1. Shhhhh! I almost NEVER hem my curtains with a sewing machine (though I really can sew). Instead, I use straight pins. I have no idea how tall my windows will be in the next house and I like to keep my options open. I have to keep my options open. I have one set of silk curtains that I let flow and pool on the bottom, because they look lovely (and because I’m too lazy to sew 10 panels).
2. Think cheap. It is probably no surprise that you can take Ikea curtains and sew (ok…let’s be honest- iron glue) ribbon to add pops of color. However, did you know that you can also use the same trick on dirt-cheap bed sheets?
3. I love to use rings to hang my curtains. I’m such a cheater, but I often just take fabric, fold over the top, and shove it into the ring clips. Tada! Instant no-sew curtains.
// BECOME AN ART COLLECTOR //
Ok, real art is an amazing way to bring character to a space. When you are just starting out, however, expensive art may not be a realistic purchase. Instead, try these tricks to make your home look pretty without breaking the bank.
1. Shop for frames at thrift stores or Craigslist. The uglier the art the better bc that usually makes it less expensive. These thrift scores often come with their own mats which can easily be painted with a flat paint.
2. While at the thrift store look for art that speaks to you. Some of my best art scores have been thrifted.
3. Filling your frames can be ALMOST free. Lately I have downloaded a lot of free art from unsplash.com. Yep, you read that right. FREE! A quick trip to Walmart and the print is all mine.
4. Find your inner Picasso. I’m guilty of creating a lot of my own art. Not because I consider myself a talented artist, but because I find a lot of joy in the effort.
5. Need a huge frame? I’ve built frames, covered them in drop cloth, and finished them with guesso primer. This way I can custom size the canvas. I have also used 4 x 8 sheets of plywood/backer board and nailed them directly to the wall when I am done.
6. TIP: to hang my pics straight I add a wad of poster putty at the bottom of each frame, level it, and then apply pressure. No need to worry about crooked art.
// THRIFT LIKE ITS GOING OUT OF STYLE //
I have thrifted almost EVERY piece of furniture that I own…Not even exaggerating folks. While I did pick up some of my favorites at British auctions during our years across the pond, nowadays I find success stalking Craigslist and Facebook marketplace.
1. There is no better way to find unique pieces on a budget than thrifting.
2. Often renters are still developing their style. I think it is fair to say that my style is constantly evolving. I don’t want to splurge the family inheritance on a set of chairs that I may or may not like in 5 years. Instead, I shop until I find the perfect set for a couple hundred bucks, reupholster them, sell, move, and repeat.
3. Don’t forget to see the vision in the items you buy. A can of paint or a few yards of fabric can go a loonnnggg way to updating a piece.
// BECOME THE CRAZY PLANT LADY //
I don’t know about you, but it just doesn't feel like home until I splurge on a couple of plants. Not only do they make my space feel less like a rental, they are good for air quality. Those pretty little plants come at a cost if purchased at local big box hardware stores. Instead, try these locations for budget-saving flowers.
1. Craigslist/Facebook Market place- Not only can you find good used furniture here, you can also score big, beautiful plants that people can’t take with them when they move.
2. Walmart/Costco/Ikea- I’ve priced it out and, in my area, each of these stores have less expensive plants than the big box hardware store.
3. The clearance section of a nursery or hardware store. If you have a green thumb this can be an easy way to save some Cash.
// BECOME A RUG DOCTOR //
Rugs are a great investment for renters because:
1. They are a great way to hide less-than-beautiful floors all while anchoring spaces. Even wall-to-wall carpets can be covered up by a beautiful rug.
2. Rugs can infuse your personality into a room.
3. When it’s time to go, you simply roll them up and take them with you.
// Pep Talk Time! //
You've got this my friend. Keep your eyes on the prize and go out there and show your rental what you've got!!! I believe in you!
All photography is courtesy of Amy Greene at @contactamygreenphotography