Making The Most of Your Rental

If you are a renter, or a leaser, it can be tough to think about all of the things that you would do to your place of residence if only you actually owned it. Some people get lucky if they get a landlord who lets them be as creative as they wish, but most landlords don’t even allow you to cut a hole in the wall, let alone update the white or beige paint scheme that is plastered in every room. How, then, do you make your rental feel more like home?

Start With The Landlord

The first thing to do is be aware of what your landlord will allow; and what he won’t. It is important that anything allowable should be written and spelled out in ink. You’ll want that agreement in hand when you finally move out and it will give you peace of mind until that date.

Also, if you plan on making a simple change such as swapping out the shower head, don’t send the bill to the landlord. He’s looking for ways to save money, not spend it, so you should foot the bill for little changes. You can always save any fixtures that you replace and swap them back to the original when you move. You just might be able to use your new Kohler faucet in your next place, keeping your investment with you.  Or, just buy a inexpensive faucet and leave it there when you leave.

A Little Bit Of You

It is important to remember that even if this is just a temporary home, it is your home, and you will want to make it as welcoming and comfortable as possible. Our home is our retreat and we want to feel that love when we walk in the door. A little bit of you goes a long way and by keeping some basic do’s and dont’s in mind for your rental, people who enter your home will see the you shining through.


• Upgrade the lighting. Truth be told, lighting seems to be the worst feature in any rental. Overhead lighting is harsh and sterile, so if you can avoid using, do so. Instead, focus on fashionable table lamps, like those from Decorative Crafts, or a pendant lamp in the center of the kitchen. Even swapping out a lampshade or two can make a drastic impression.

• Accessorize. New window dressings, rugs, and even new knobs on the cabinets can give your place a personalized feel without making any permanent changes. If you have hardwood floors or even carpeting, pick up a few area rugs to bring in some warmth and customization. In the kitchen, new gel mats go a long way toward style and comfort for your feet. And drapes, shades, and blinds can be purchased and customized to reflect your personal taste.

• Accent the walls. Some places will let you hang pictures, mirrors, or anything decorative on the walls as long as you don’t leave huge holes when you vacate (a little spackle-and-paint will cover that). Wall mirrors bring in light and make your space feel larger; a classy vanity mirror or a modern round metal mirror by Uttermost can make quite a statement. Consider pictures, lithographs, or classic artwork. Even a large tapestry can transform a room without permanence.


• Pick out new wallpaper. Yes, this is a fantastic way to express yourself as there are so many styles available, but as tempting as it seems to wallpaper a room, or even a single accent wall, this is something to stay away from. Removing it is difficult and messy and you won’t want to spend your last few days with that problem. If you want to add accents, consider the new peel-away paper and decals to make a bold statement.

• Paint the wood. Wooden doors and door frames need to stay that way. Anything natural, no matter how you feel about it, is dangerous to toy with. Stay away from painting it and let it be a natural accent to your accessories. When it comes to crown molding and baseboards, stick with the original glossy white to keep it natural.

• Go overboard. It’s a home, but it’s not a resort hotel. As much as you want to spread out and make it your own, this is still just a temporary stop on your journey to the future. Keep the changes visible, but subtle. Have fun with one-of-a-kind thrift market steals and creative designs. Pick up a few items and let them be your focus.

Stay positive and have a blast with your rental. Remember that it’s likely a prelude to your future home. Play with what you can, learn to live with what you can’t, and enjoy your space to the fullest.


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