Romanticizing Your Rental (Pt. 1)

It seems we can afford a castle in France but not a desirable house in the Bay Area, so our plans for that have been put aside for a while. After all the day dreaming about how I would fix up our prospective house I’m left with the restrictions of a rental in both size and permissions, but I’ve grown too worked up over what I think my ideal living space should be to completely give up on it.

For that reason I’ve recently spent a lot of energy imagining how I can change the appearance of our apartment without any permanent additions. I want to focus on making the rental more than the standard structure it comes in while adding charm in every way possible, and of course I had to share these ideas with my dear readers.

Upgrading Your Fixtures

Today’s post is how to “upgrade” the fixtures in your rental without the extensive use of a toolkit. While you may not have a say in much of what your domicile was built with, there are still a few things you can do to have it match your ideal look.

Better lighting

This is such an understated and accessible item that has a large effect on how we view our surroundings, and it’s a great way to evoke different moods just by changing a bulb. Warm whites are great for comfort areas such as the bedroom or den, while bright or cool white bulbs are perfect for workspaces or bathrooms where precision and color correctness are important.

Forget about the standard ceiling lights and add a towering floor lamp in the living room or a cozy reading light by your bed. Place a petite candelabra aside the tub for a dreamy bath, or tack LED strips under a shelf to highlight your favorite collection. The options are endless and good lighting is anything but boring. Customizing your own lamp shade is also a great DIY project that can be as simple as a hot glue gun and trimmings!

Area rugs

As a victim of ugly apartment carpentry I understand how frustrating it is to have floors that are far from fashionable. Although we can’t permanently replace them with something more attractive, we can still do what we can to cover them up.

Tie in the colors of your decorum with a matching rug, or opt for neutral in a contrasting texture. Use a rug to visually separate different stations in a multipurpose room. Be sure the new rug works with the current color of your floor or it may clash worse than what you had before. Special rug holders for carpet will prevent lighter rugs from shifting or buckling.

Temporary Wallpaper

Even if the apartment management allowed me to paint I would prefer an option with less commitment and fumes my dear pets might inhale, which is why I opt for temporary wallpaper. The quicker payoff and limitless amounts of patterns make it a perfect match for apartment dwellers who want an easy alternative they won’t have to paint over in a year.

Cover the walls in neutral florals for a look that compliments every season or make a statement with bright patterns. Cover just one wall or all of them, and use the left over wallpaper to line bookcases or drawers.

Hang Fabric

The standard window blinds are great for averting unwanted eyes, but they are so unfortunately plain. Dressing up your windows adds a soft touch that contrasts nicely with the solidity of furniture, and what Lolita can resist dressing up her room in frills?

Go a step further and replace the closet doors with curtains to showcase your enviable wardrobe (being sure to save any screws and store the doors safely for when you leave). I love the idea of hanging fabric to hide unseemly storage or even draped on the walls or over the bed.

Faux Built-Ins

A lot of rentals come with bland, standard trimmings. Adding furniture that appears to be a part of the interior architecture is easier than it sounds and even if your apartment won’t allow installations and you aren’t handy there are a few options.

Perhaps the most charming of them is to bring in a fake fireplace. You could purchase a mantle alone and decorate the inside with logs or books or flowers, or visit a hardware store for a fake fireplace that houses a space heater (if you’d really like to pretend you’re sitting by a fire).

Another great way to fake a built-in is by the employment of bookcases. Use them to frame a door or hallway, or line them up to fill an entire wall! Make sure to find them in the same color as the apartments trimming, and for a really built-in look you can fill the space between the top of the bookcase and ceiling with crown molding.

I’m not quite yet done with my spring cleaning this month, but once I am I intend to employ all of these ideas into our current apartment to really transform it! For more inspiration check out my Pinterest board of inspiring spaces, and be sure to check out Part 2 of the series!

If you have any ideas or tips that you think would fit in this series, let me know in the comments! Have a sugar sweet day and thanks for reading!