Moving into a new apartment is a chance to start fresh. It’s the perfect excuse to get organized, update your décor, and create a home you’ll love. Of course, making a new apartment feel like home is easier said than done, especially when you’re renting and working within the restrictions of a lease agreement.
The good news: There are a surprising number of minor changes you can make to an apartment that will allow you to personalize it without doing anything permanent. We asked our designer friends at Decorist, an innovative online interior design company, for some advice. They’ve provided us with 5 easy to implement tips:
1. Hang wall art.
Many renters shy away from hanging photos and art for fear of having to patch holes in the wall on move out day. But wall art can truly make all the difference in giving your space a lived-in, personal feel (well worth a few hours with a bucket of spackle at the end of your lease), especially if your apartment comes with walls in the standard shade of renter’s white. A timeless and popular solution is a gallery wall, an arrangement of photographs, drawings, and prints. Of course, before you go creating a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall, check with your landlord to make sure he or she is OK with you using nails in the walls (most will give you the go-ahead). If not, try a less permanent option like using adhesive wall mounts instead.
2. Replace light fixtures.
One of the best ways to add your own style to a space, and something many renters overlook, is swapping out light fixtures throughout the apartment. Replace an ugly light fixture above your bed with a glam flush mount or chandelier, or swap out vanity bulbs above the bathroom mirror for vintage Edison-style versions. When you move out, simply put the old fixtures back and take yours with you.
3. Cover up bad flooring.
Rental apartments are notorious for wall-to-wall carpet and dated linoleum. If you’ve moved into a place with bad flooring, there’s only one way to get rid of it: cover it up. Laying down a large area rug (yes, even over carpet) that covers a good portion of the floor is an inexpensive yet effective solution for hiding a flooring eyesore.
4. Try removable wallpaper.
You may not be allowed to paint the walls in your place, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with that red living room. More and more wallpaper and paint brands are offering temporary, peel-and-stick versions of their top prints which are easy to put up and non-damaging to painted surfaces when taken down (AKA they’re a dream for renters). Try using a bold pattern to create an accent wall in a bedroom or living room, or even using a print you love to give old appliances or cabinets a non-permanent facelift.
5. Create a look you love.
Since there are certain things you just have to live with when renting an apartment (yes, you’re stuck with that pink shower stall), furniture and décor become even more important in creating a space you can’t wait to come home to. One way to get a stylish, comfortable space without spending all of next month’s rent money: consider working with an online interior design service.
Companies like Decorist offer professional room design for as little as $199. The services typically include a dedicated designer, a style consultation, and a full room plan including visual layout, a shopping list for furniture and décor, and paint colors (if you’re allowed to paint). The designers can even work in your existing pieces, or help you make the most of any eyesores in the apartment. Before you move don’t forget to make sure you have everything you need for your place. Check out our post, New Apartment Checklist to find out what you need.