Décor in a rental: limitations and possibilities
When hunting for the perfect apartment, save your time and grief by taking one extra step: do a little research before committing to signing the lease to find out how deep are you allowed to get involved in the apartment’s redecoration. Personalizing the décor ranges from repainting the walls in a different color, to replacing light fixtures, and adding or removing carpeting; be aware what the landlord approves for the apartment you wish to turn into your home.
Many landlords have a certain level of flexibility, but just as you can come across one that allows you to make significant aesthetic changes to the apartment, you can find one that doesn’t. Regardless of their reasons, financial or marketing concerns, or perhaps just the desire to keep uniformity and assert control over their apartments, find the landlord that suits best with your needs.
Once you’ve found the best place and the approval to modify it so that if feels like home, here are some suggestions that could inspire you:
- Give the appliances the glowing look of stainless steel by using peel-and-stick contact paper with a stainless steel finish. You’ll give them the nice façade at a fraction of the price of the real thing.
- Freshen up the walls with this simple trick – install new switchplate covers (the covers on light switches and electrical outlets). A basic white cover costs about $1, and is really easy to install. For the kitchen you could consider those of stainless steel, but can also hunt online for patterned and decorative covers.
- Check the lights in each room and make sure that the ‘light spectrum’ from the bulbs is the one appropriate for the area of the home. Opt for soft bulbs that emit a yellow/red undertone in the “chill out” areas like the living room, and for bright bulbs with blue undertones in “study” zones such as the home office or reading spot.
- Repaint the walls or change the wallpaper. Choose light colors if you tend to make a room look bigger.
- Decorate with photos and art on the walls. Accentuating the idea of making the space look bigger, consider hanging mirrors even in places that are above eye-level; this increases the light that shines through the apartment. Placing two in the same room on opposite walls will also give the impression of a larger room.
- The kitchen and bath rugs, as well as the doormat, are a few simple ways to put your signature over your new home.
- Plants don’t need a separate security deposit payment, or approval. Put plants everywhere, indoors and out, they’ll brighten up the place, regardless of the season.