Everyone wants their home to feel like theirs. And, why shouldn’t this be the case even if you are only renting? No, you can’t knock down partition walls or remodel the kitchen. But there are still tons of ways that you can make the house more personal to you, and reflect your tastes and personality. Here are some of the rules, though, when decorating in a rental.
First things first, know that you’ve got to get written permission for any changes you make that include anything other than rearranging furniture. Second, know that you’ll be spending your own money toward decorating. Your landlord isn’t going to reimburse you. If you want to change the faucets, or cabinet knobs, ask the landlord. If they say O.K. then you’ve got the green light. But they aren’t going to pay you back for those cabinet pulls. Landlords are also looking to save money, and they aren’t going to spend it on new cabinet hardware.
This is the time to bring your your thrifty, DIY side. Don’t feel like everything you have in your house has to be expensive in order to look expensive. You’ll find that people with money love to mix expensive items with non-expensive items. Find a great second-hand furniture store; you’ll be amazed at the pieces you’ll find there. Go to garage sales to find books that you can use to fill your bookshelves.
Do be careful when you buy any upholstered furniture. Bugs live everywhere. You don’t want to end up with someone else’s bed bugs. If you buy upholstered furniture, you should buy it from a store. If you buy it on Craigslist, or at a garage sale, that’s fine. But you need to re-upholster it. You never know who’s been sitting on it.
Add accessories! Lighting fixtures (even lamps), area rugs, flowers, and brand new hardware can transform a home from dated, to trendy. If the apartment you’ve rented has old, accordion blinds, hide them with gorgeous curtains. Of course, if you remove any fixtures that are the landlords, keep them in a closet, or somewhere where you won’t lose them. When you move out, you’re going to have to put everything back the way it was when you rented it.
Do not use wallpaper. Yes, this one might upset you. But your landlord is likely not going to approve you wall-papering the house. Wallpaper is a very personal thing. People have strong personal preferences to wallpaper. Your landlord might find it hard to rent the apartment to someone else when you move out, depending on what wallpaper you’ve chosen.
Never paint the baseboards, or any other wood in the home. If you’ve got a bare-wood fireplace and you want to paint it, don’t. There are some things you’ve just got to accept about your rental. Most landlords are going to let you paint the walls, and almost any color that you’d like to. Sometimes they will require you to paint them back when you leave, but most of the time, not. Again, you’ll be paying for this expense. The landlord doesn’t care that you love green walls. If there’s nothing wrong with the walls, they aren’t going to put money toward fixing something that’s not broken.
Lastly, embrace your apartment! Don’t spend the whole lease wishing some aspect or other was different. Savor your renting days. They’re great stories and memories for when you look back, when you own your home. You’ll miss these days!