Yesterday a friend asked me about another friend’s rental apartment. It’s a little sterile. She just moved in, doesn’t know how long she’ll be there.
“Is she allowed to paint?” I asked innocently. Because, well, duh.
“Not even a little bit?”
“Not even a little bit.”
Well. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
But it occurred to me, there ARE things you can do besides paint to make your rental home lovely. Try adding…
1. A floor lamp. Soft, indirect lighting is the easiest way to make a room look terrific. And a tall lamp serves as a piece of sculpture, filling that yawning space between furniture and ceiling.
3. Straight drapes on metal rods. You can get drapery panels anywhere these days (Restoration Hardware, Country Curtains, JCPenney, for crying out loud), and as you can see in Nate Berkus’s picture above, they make a HUGE difference. Screw the rods into the window moulding and the holes will be easy to patch when you leave…and the large panels move easily from home to home.
4. Pillows and a throw to make your sofa the centerpiece of your living room. Think of your sofa as a work of art and make it look great.
5. An upholstered headboard. A splurge, admittedly, but it looks so built-in! So custom! It’s the same principle as the sofa: focus all the attention on the bed, and no one will notice that your walls are dingy rental-unit beige.
And finally, you can…
6. Be tidy. I know. Bummer of a suggestion, right? But ever since reading Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s “Apartment Therapy: 8-Step Home Cure,” I’ve realized that little things like hanging up your jacket and keeping the mail neatly stacked go a long way toward making your home look pulled together.
So there are your 6 best decorating tricks for a rental home. Anything more is just showing off.
Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She’s also the creator of the “bossy basic,” a one-time service that jump-starts the interior design process in your home.