I have spent my fair share of time living in apartments. College, first married, new city, etc. With each apartment a main goal of mine was to make it feel homey and mine. Sometimes that can be hard because you are in an apartment that you don’t own. You can’t rip out the kitchen and go back in with those fabulous cabinets and granite counters like you might in a house that you own. But, there are a few easy things you can do to personalize your rented space. My sister just bought her first home and is leaving the world of apartment living soon. I decided to snap a few photos and share with you some tips.
Most apartment complexes will allow you to paint, as long as you paint it back to the original color or pay a fee. While I wouldn’t suggest painting every wall, I do think it is a good idea to paint a few accent walls. It can really add depth to an open space and personalize it immediately.
Utilize beautiful curtains with color and pattern. If you are stuck with neutral walls, then it is the perfect time to purchase some curtains that have character! Go outside your comfort zone a little and grab those paisley curtains that you would otherwise think were too “busy”. When all the walls are neutral the space can handle some bold patterns and bright colors. Another tip…hang them as close to the ceiling as you can (while still having them touch the floor). This will draw the eye up and give the illusion of taller ceilings.
Area rugs are another great way to bring color and pattern into your space. Apartment carpet is standard, run of the mill, plain jane stuff. So it is easy to make a big impact with a beautiful rug.
Don’t be afraid to hang photos and wall art on the walls. You can always fill in the holes when it comes time to move out. In my book, few things are more lonely than blank walls staring back at you. Remember to keep in mind scale. You either need to go big with your frames (think 16 x 20 and larger…..an 8 x 10 is tiny for a wall and should only be used in collages) or consider a collage. Both of these options allow you to fill a wall nicely and proportionately.
At my sisters we decide to incorporate a large mirror with a series of framed travel photos. A quick and easy tip for selecting collage frames is to stick with one finish. You can get different sizes and styles, but stay with one finish. That finish will tie the whole collage together.
I think it is important to use photos and items that are personal to you. Don’t just hit up your local store for “wall art”. Having memories hung throughout your home tell YOUR story. And that is what is so unique about each and every home. Maybe it is travel photos, old family photos, a vintage flea market find, or a fun souvenir from your time in Africa. Whatever it is, put it on display so you have the joy of seeing it and sharing it with people that visit your home.
Think outside the box when it comes to furniture. When I was first married we had a huge compilation of furniture that was handed down and left over from college. It was always exciting when we got a new piece of furniture, or when I found a way to revamp what we already had. Be creative. Here my sister took old cabinet doors that she found at an estate sale, attached them to one another, and set them on top of a lower headboard (that she already had) to create a larger, unique headboard.
For her bedroom wall art she tore out pages from old magazines, accordion folded them, and hot glued them together. This cost basically nothing and fills the wall perfectly.
Lighting can make a big impact as well. Floor and table lamps are great additions to any room. Here she used some hanging lamps that can be easily removed when she is ready to move.
For her old dresser she swapped out the original pulls and used new ones that she found at Anthropologie. A simple hardware change made a huge difference!
My sister has a degree in apparel merchandising and you could say that one of her hobbies is shopping! So, she had a huge need for closet/storage space. The apartment she chose had a “computer desk” area that she knew she wouldn’t need. So instead of a computer and printer filling the space she decided to use it as her accessory closet. A perfect place for all of her shoes, jewelry, scarves, and purses.
Instead of it being all thrown in there she took the time and had fun organizing it to fit her needs and wants. She used the vertical space to hang her purses and scarves. The shelves that normally would hold file folders were perfect for her many shoe boxes. And an old door is used to display all of her necklaces.
A vintage typewriter drawer and ceramic egg crate provide the perfect spot for earrings and rings.
A beautiful antique glass ash tray provides ample room for hanging bracelets.
I think my biggest tip is to make your space your own. Whether it’s an apartment, house, or a single bedroom, make it reflect you and what you like. Let it tell a story so that when people visit they get to see a piece of you. Nothing will be more comfortable than coming home….even if it is an apartment!