Renting definitely has its upside. When the plumbing leaks and the power goes out, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to fix it, not yours. But there is a flipside that’s not so great: the apartment really isn’t yours. That means that you really can’t rip out those hideous kitchen cabinets nor can you rip out the ugly Astroturf type carpeting. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with the apartment strictly as is. There are several strategies you can employ to make your new apartment your own, without causing the landlord to tear up your lease.
A Coat of Paint
Most landlords will let you paint the walls any color you like, as long as you repaint the walls to their original bland color before you move out. Be forewarned – if you choose a dark color, you may have to apply several coats of white or beige paint to completely cover the darker color. If you’re not up to devoting an entire afternoon or longer to repainting your entire apartment, then choose one or two walls. For instance, paint the wall behind your couch or bed to provide an accent of color.
Bare overhead lights are a functional and efficient way to illuminate a room, but they give spaces an institutional feel. Ask your landlord if you can temporarily switch out your overhead fixtures for chandeliers or other lighting that casts a softer glow. If the answer is no, then floor lamps, table lamps and temporary track lighting mounted on the walls or ceiling will suffice.
Floor Coverings and Window Treatments
Many vintage apartments have gorgeous wood floors or other attractive flooring treatments. While you don’t want to completely cover up a nice floor, throw rugs or area rugs provide an easy way to add color to the room. If your floor is covered with ugly wall to wall carpeting, pretend it’s a bare floor and cover it with room sized rugs in each room.
Apartment window treatments also tend to be nondescript – either plain blinds or worse, roll up shades. Hang a curtain rod and add drapes to give the room a luxe look. If your windows are small, feel free to extend the curtain rod beyond the actual width of the window and purchase drapes to cover the entire width. You’ll give the impression that the windows are larger than they actually are which can give your room a more open feel.
Even the pickiest landlord can’t object to your hanging photos and artwork on the walls. If you can’t place nail holes in the walls, use removable adhesive hooks that won’t damage the walls when you remove them. Place vases of fresh flowers in your living room and bedroom. Decorate your couch and bed with pillows of various sizes. Even if your apartment is small, these touches will make your rooms homey without causing them to feel or look cramped or cluttered.