Decorating a rental apartment

With La Maison Chic

Are you renting an apartment? Just because you're renting doesn't mean you can't create your dream home. Most rentals are decorated to be very neutral so that they will not put off any prospective tenants. Consider your home a blank canvas to which you can add your personal touches, personality, colour, and style, to turn bland and boring to appealing and exciting.

Here are some ways you can decorate your home without overspending or upsetting your landlord.

Paint is the quickest and least expensive way to dramatically change any room. Consider just painting your focal walls — the wall behind your bed, your sofa wall, fireplace wall, or a wall that you look directly at when entering your home. An entry wall can be very dramatic.

If painting is out of the question there are other quick and easy ways to add colour. Purchase a couple of large canvases, paint them your favourite colour, and hang wall-to-wall for a fabulous look, or purchase an inexpensive folding screen and replace the plain fabric with one from your colour scheme.

Since most apartment walls and floors are a neutral colour palette, don't be afraid to add pattern with fabric. Add it to your windows, bath, bedding, and pillows. Bring in a variety of patterns and mix and match two or three. Start with a large print, add a plaid, check, or stripe, and finish with a co-ordinating small print. These are all items you can take with you to your next home, so splash out if you find a fabric that you really love.

Lighting can make such a big difference in how you feel in your home. In your kitchen, under cabinet lighting is great for both function and accent when the ceiling lights are off. Place small accent lamps inside your bookcase, any open shelving, or on your kitchen breakfast bar.

Add picture lighting to artwork, use lights to accent your floor plants, and light any dark corners to brighten up a room.

You can also jazz up your rooms with removable wall treatments. Buy inexpensive medium-weight fabric and hang from drapery rods, attach to the walls with small staples, or wallpaper your walls with the fabric using liquid starch. When you move out, just peel off and wash the starch off the walls. Just double check to make sure the walls have at least a satin finish, although most will be semi-gloss. Either way, make sure you test this before covering a wall.

Another fun wall treatment is removable wall words and designs. You can have any saying or words printed in any size and colour and find a design for every style of home. They rub and peel right on, even with textured walls.

Use room sized area rugs to completely change the look of any room. Purchase a decorative area rug, paint your own floor canvas, or have a remnant bound. This will make a tremendous difference in how you feel when you walk into the room.

To dress up your vertical blinds, purchase ready-made panels or valances to add colour and pattern in all your rooms. Window treatments really help finish a room.

You can purchase discount fabrics and make no-sew treatments with seam tape and decorative drapery clips. This treatment is nice for both valances and panels. For a quick, easy, and inexpensive cornice box, purchase the foam cornice boxes from a craft store and simply cover with your fabric.

Accessories make a room. Since you can take them with you wherever you go, buy things that you love and want to keep. To give your rooms that punch or colour, think bigger versus more, plus less to pack when you move.

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