The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


Weekend to-do list
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Five decorating ideas for a rental apartment

  • In this undated publicity photo provided by courtesy Kyle Schuneman, stencils create the look of patterned wallpaper on a rental apartment wall for a ...

    Associated Press / Kyle Schuneman, Joe Schmelzer

    In this undated publicity photo provided by courtesy Kyle Schuneman, stencils create the look of patterned wallpaper on a rental apartment wall for a burst of color as seen in "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces," by Kyle Schuneman (Potter Style, 2012).

  • In this undated publicity photo provided by courtesy Kyle Schuneman, stencils create the look of patterned wallpaper on a rental apartment wall for a ...

    Associated Press / Kyle Schuneman, Joe Schmelzer

    In this undated publicity photo provided by courtesy Kyle Schuneman, stencils create the look of patterned wallpaper on a rental apartment wall for a burst of color as seen in "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces," by Kyle Schuneman (Potter Style, 2012).

  • A bold sofa pattern and plaid carpet add personality to a rented apartment in this design by Kyle Schuneman, as seen in "The First Apartment Book...

    Associated Press / Kyle Schuneman, Joe Schmelzer

    A bold sofa pattern and plaid carpet add personality to a rented apartment in this design by Kyle Schuneman, as seen in "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces," by Kyle Schuneman (Potter Style, 2012).

It's yours, but it isn't. A rented apartment or house can be a wonderful place to live, and a challenging place to decorate.
The restrictions are many: Landlords often want their white walls to stay white. Many won't let you do even the most minor construction. Some even ask renters not to nail anything to the walls.
Complicating things further, many rental properties have small rooms and no-frills, builder-grade light fixtures, and doors and cabinets with little personality.
How can you inject some of your personality into a rented space without enraging your landlord?
The first step is to go all in.
"So often people think of their rental as not theirs, and therefore go through life not creating a beautiful home or nest," said designer Kyle Schuneman, author of "The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces."
"Life is too short to not create a sanctuary that represents your unique vision."
Home decorating blogger Wanda Hoffs gives the same advice to her readers at recreateanddecorate.com. As an Army wife, Hoffs has lived in many rental properties around the country and has learned to decorate each one as if it were truly hers.
Here are five ideas from Hoffs and Schuneman that can help you embrace your rented space.
Plan carefully
"Usually rentals are small, and I am a firm believer in function before form," Schuneman said. "Sometimes it's a puzzle piece to get those 'must haves' into your space -- the desk, the bed, the couch."
Hoffs suggests spending wisely on new items. Rather than buying an expensive new piece that fits your rental perfectly, "use thrift store furniture and paint it yourself," she said.
Little or no paint
"Wallpaper used to be only for the homeowner crowd," Schuneman said, "but now with companies like Tempaper, you can put up temporary wallpaper that peels on and peels back off when you're ready to move."
Hoffs suggests using wall decals, which now come in a many styles and sizes, or even duct tape.
"It comes in many great colors and patterns," she said, "and can be used on a wall in many different patterns, such as the trending chevron pattern, stripes or even to create a border around a wall grouping."
Infuse with color
"Bring in the color through fabrics and textures around the room. If you leave your walls white, hang a bold curtain on the windows and a coordinating couch that really pops." Schuneman suggested.
Lush plants are another option, Hoff said. When it's time to move, they're easy to take with you.
Fifth wall
"Your floors are a blank slate for design," Schuneman said. "Treat it as your fifth wall and find a beautiful rug to ground the whole space."
Schuneman is a fan of FLOR carpet tiles, which can be arranged to make what appears to be a rug of any size.
Temporary swaps
Although you can't change the cabinets, Hoffs suggests swapping out the hardware on doors and drawers at a very small cost.
"You can always change these back to the original ones," she said.
The same goes for light fixtures. Just be sure to store the landlord's fixtures carefully and reinstall them properly before moving out.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Who are these people?
Who are these people?: Before you vote, get to know the candidates
Waiting for a home
Waiting for a home: Animals up for adoption at NOAH (updated photo gallery)
Herald endorsements
Herald endorsements: Opinions on election races from the Herald Editorial Board
By land or by water
By land or by water: Packrafts open up entire landscapes to explorers
SnoCoSocial