Home is sweet regardless whether you rent or own, and you need to love where you live.
Making a rental home feel like home can be challenging, but there are tips and tricks which can help you create smart ways to express your design savvy, in a rental abode, knowing that down the road, what you can't take with you is an expense you can't recoup.
Don't hold off buying nice furniture Don't fill the space with substandard furniture because you plan to own someday. Go ahead now and spend money on good quality furniture pieces you really like. Otherwise when you do buy, you may find yourself having to furnish a whole home because the pieces you bought in your 20s and 30s are falling apart. And that's stressful.
Do make nice with your landlord A good relationship with your landlord, could make it possible to provide input on design choices when upgrades are made. You may be able to suggest a new faucet or sink or backsplash tile at a decent price that looks much better. Don't forget, your landlord wants the place to be rentable, too."
Don't wallpaper You really don't want to invest in wallpaper, even if your landlord okays it. Wallpaper can be pricey, and you'll likely face the hassle of taking it down before you leave. If you're looking to make a statement, try removable wall decals or wall tattoos, which are available at most home decor stores in a variety of patterns and colours.
Do paint A $30 gallon of paint creates a powerful mood in a space, and adding that it's also an affordable way to inject your own personality into an apartment. Note: Be prepared to prime your walls before you move out, and get permission before painting anything.
Don't invest serious money in structural features Pouring money into permanent structural elements, including crown moulding, hardwood floors, counters, etc, in an apartment simply isn't wise. One exception: the joy of gleaming cherry kitchen cabinets, for example, may be worth the price if you are planning on living in the rental unit for many, many years to come.
Do try less expensive flooring options Just can't stand the dated, filthy-looking hall linoleum? There are a number of affordable flooring options perfect for renters (get written permission from your landlord before embarking on any renovations). Carpet tiles provide a simple, comfy underfoot splash of personality. Water impervious woven vinyl floor covering called Bolon, cut to size, is great for bathrooms and kitchens. And so are peel-and-stick tiles, available at most major home improvement stores. Last but hardly least, rugs can cover up an ugly floor and help ground a room. Most rugs will transfer smoothly to any future living space, too.
Don't invest in built-ins Every renter is desperate for storage. But built-ins are too costly, and impossible to take with you. You always have to think about what can go in a truck. Consider open shelving units, freestanding wardrobes or a piece of antique furniture that offers storage. And while you're at it, try to kill another bird (like an ugly structural feature such as kitchen cabinets, for example) with one stone: "Buy a basic pantry unit that you can paint to complement (or perhaps draw attention away from) your existing cabinets. Something idiosyncratic can become a focal point.
Do swap out lighting and hardware Two smart rental design investments are lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware. Most apartments usually come with generic lights round ceiling fixtures with a screw cap. Swapping them out for a new or reclaimed antique fixture will change the whole look of a room. Put them on a dimmer while you're at it. Dimmers are great for changing the atmosphere of a room. Just hold on to the old fixtures and replace them when you go. The same goes for the old hardware (but if you can't source new ones that match the existing drill holes, don't bother). Don't sacrifice your personal design style Express your adventurous design personality in accessories. Panel curtains are perfect because they move easily into your next place, and you want to avoid window treatments that are measured to fit. And you just can't beat the presence of artwork, which is an investment you can take with you.