2.24.2010

the renter's challenge: in lieu of painting

Renters make up more than half of the United States. I'm a veteran renter. Over the past 6 years I have lived in a place that is not my own. It started out in a 100 sq/ft dorm room to a 300 sq/ft dorm room and now a 900 sq/ft apartment all with a roommate. I feel as though I have constantly been making each stark, sterile place more like a real home. Now being a blogger, I have immersed myself in DYI blog projects for the home but not for the apartment. Noticing a lack of inspiration for people like me, I decided to dedicate a post each week to the renters challenge. With a little creativity and hard work, anyone with little or no money to spend, can turn a sterile space into a cozy home.

Most renters first challenge is not being able to paint due to landlord standards. 1. Its expensive 2. Not worth the trouble if you are living there for a short period 3. You almost always have to paint it back to the color it was before you moved in. Here are some simple solutions...

1. The sprinkle effect-
Your own worst enemy. The first thing I tend to do when moving into a new space is randomly displaying every piece of art or frame on every empty wall. It ends up looking like a hot mess. Solution: Draw an imaginary rectangle on the main focal wall in the room you wish to dress up. Fill that rectangle with a grouping of related art such as framed pictures, art, clocks, or plates. This makes a stronger impact for the room than the "sprinkle effect."

2. Scale-
Try to hang larger scale items to make the room seem bigger. See my do it yourself art work here.

EXAMPLES-
Stencils:
Wall stencils are all the rage. Etsy.com has boocuddles of these things. I have to say that I was a skeptic at first. However, after some investigating these vinyl pieces of art really captured my heart (cheese, sorry). Check them out.
photo from etsy
Wallpaper:
Even though you can't paint it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the fun of color. The shabby nest puts this to the test by using wrapping paper, yes wrapping paper. The fun pattern adds life to her make shift mudroom in a rental home. If you can't find a cheap wrapping paper you love you could always use wallpaper with her same technique, staples. Genius. 
photo from the shabby nest
Curtains:
A little trick that I used from my favorite home boutique, adding curtains behind your bed. No there is not a window, considering our neighbor is right behind that wall. However, it does lead your eye up making the room seem larger. Fabric in general makes a room feel softer and more relaxed. Curtains are key. Add to each window as high as you can but still letting the fabric hit the floor. An inexpensive trick is to use remnant fabric at your local fabric store. Make sure you measure the height for the window treatment and convert to yards. Then buy curtain clips and clip to curtain rod. Tada-easy, cheap, no sew curtains. 
Shutters:
Another dilemma with apartments is no architecture. My simple solution was to hang shutters found for $7 each. I painted them my favorite blue to add that pop of color the room needed. 
Windows:
For our wedding, I used an old window that I had in my room growing up to display the wedding pictures from our parents and grandparents. I now have this window hung in our guest bedroom/office. Another inexpensive way to make a rental more personal.
Chalkboards:
I love anything with word graphics right now, from subway art to chalkboards. This vinyl chalkboard can be placed on any wall you wish—without using mounts or tools. Just stick it on the wall and peel it off when you are done. Perfect for renters. Also check out my chalkboard here only costing me a $1.
photo from taylor gifts
Picture groupings:
Best way to make a home feel more personal. On display is our favorite wedding photos. Pottery Barn always has the best example of picture groupings if you are in need of some inspiration.
 
Fabric canvas:
Love, love, love this idea. I really wish I had a spare wall in our apartment. Head over to bella dia to learn how to make your own. So easy!
photo from bella dia
Plates:
Gives a wall a big statement in a little way. If you haven't found the nester yet, make a b-line to her site. She happens to rent (homes) and has some great budget friendly ideas including this one. 
photo from the nester
Frames:
If you have dozens of different sized frames and pictures, tie them together by painting the frames all the same color. Black gives an elegant touch to any style d├ęcor. White is very fresh, and a bright color can be found in a contemporary design.
photo from Country Living
I hope this leaves you with some sort of inspiration to make your nest more homey. Make sure to drop by for next week's renters challenge: hint, you might be blinded by the light.

Read On, 
MT

21 comments:

The Yorgason's said...

This is such great info! I have home that we are trying to sell, we have no money to decorate and I feel our house is just missing the mark. So I am going to try and use some of these ideas. Thanks!

Ally said...

Good post! I'm going to pass this on to an apartment dwelling friend!

Victoria said...

From one long time renter to another, thank you for the great inspirational ideas!!!

Becky@Beyond The Picket Fence said...

These are all really great ideas, even for non-renters. Very well written and descriptive. Thanks for linking up!

Bunny Jeans Decor... and More! said...

Those are some good ideas for renters. It's hard to rent and be able to personalize your "home".

Talk to you soon ;)
Bunny Jean

Remodelaholic said...

Good ideas all around! Thanks for linking to the party!

Andy Porter said...

All such wonderful ideas. I would never have thought to use wrapping paper instead of wall paper. Thanks for putting together such a fun post.

too Blessed to Stress said...

fun ideas! I love the wrapping paper idea :)

~ Emily N. from "too Blessed to Stress"

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

So many great ideas!! Thanks for the shout out!

Rachel said...

I LOOOOVE the Fabric Canvases!! What a fun idea! I might have to try that! I was thinking about doing something similar with scrapbook paper, canvases, and mod podge (I'm having fun learning about Mod Podge this week), but the fabric looks so much more awesome, I might have to try that instead!

Kristi @ Creative Kristi said...

Just wanted to point out that I own my home but it is 80 years old and the walls are plaster...finding a stud to hang something heavy is hard and patching a hole is even harder...I always use 'renter's advice' decorating tips when hanging things because of this! So you actually helped out a homeOWNER in this post ;) Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

Brilliant ideas!! With the houseing market being in the toilet, more and more people are renting. Wonderful ideas to get around not being able to paint!

Ericka said...

Loved ALL of these ideas...very useful and practical decorating solutions for renters!

Shannon said...

Great ideas! Even having my own home, I think I still sometimes have the sprinkle effect on decorating. Have a good weekend!

Linda said...

I'm lovin' the window display at your wedding...I have done this at my home with a window from my Great Grandparents home built in 1910...this window will be soooo nice to have at my daughters wedding...luv using family pieces!

Blessings,
Linda

Rachael said...

where did you get the $7 shutters??

MT said...

So glad you loved the ideas! Thank you all for the encouragement :)

Rachel- The shutters are from On A Shoe String in Bluff Park. Let me know if you are ever in town and we can go. I'm pretty tight with the owner.

barbara@hodge:podge said...

I too am a veteran renter and completely agree with all your tips. I too wrote a series of posts about sprucing up a rental home. I am enjoying the limitations, it get the creative juices flowing!

Jaime @ Our Journey said...

Thanks for sharing these great ideas! We are living in Germany and renting a home ... first time we've rented in over 10 years. Making it "our own" has been a challenge especially as our landlord has also requested minimal nails and screws. I've used some vinyl appliques on the walls and love it. Found you through Tatertots and Jello!

The Starr Family said...

Well thank you for the abundance of information!! I'm not a renter, but thought it could apply all around :) Your bedroom curtains make a great statement, and yet are soft/romantic! Well done my friend!

jenjen said...

Great ideas! I love all of those. And they are so cute too!

Thanks for linking it up to my party!!!

XOXO
Jen

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