1. Makeover Walls
“The simplest and least expensive way to enhance your rental's architecture (or lack of) is by revamping the walls,” says Hennesey. One way to make rental walls over is with WallPops, the premier line of peel-and-stick wall art from Brewster Home Fashions. With wall art designs ranging from Wall Art Kits, Stripes, Dots, square and die-cut Blox, an offering by red-hot designer Jonathan Adler and more, there are limitless options.
“As the wall décor isn’t permanent, it provides an opportunity to go bold, I particularly like stripes, especially for a foyer or hallway. For a fun metallic accent to add to a space, I like the WallPops by Jonathan Adler Santorini Stripes in a fresh grey, white and gold design.”
WallPops by Jonathan Adler Stripes are approximately $17.99 per roll and are six-and-a-half feet wide by twelve-feet long and come one to a pack. WallPops are available to purchase at select retailers and online at www.wallpops.com.
2. Add Bold Built-ins
While some apartments come equipped with beautiful built-ins, others can be more lifeless. Olsen says, “To add intrigue and make the space feel like it was built just for you, add your own built-ins without damaging walls.” One way to do this, he advises, is by adding two tall bookshelves that reach to nearly the top of the ceiling on either side of a doorway. To make them pop, try painting them in a bold color such as high-gloss black, burnt orange or Pantone’s 2013 color of the year, emerald green. Create your own built-ins with a pair of tall bookshelves.
3. Let It Shine
“Most rentals have dreadful, cheap ceiling lights and fans,” says Hennesey. She suggests updating these eyesores with inexpensive landlord-friendly fixes. “Swap out current fixtures with new pendants or lampshades that complement your décor. When it’s time to move you can easily put back the old fixture and take the new one with you.”4. Choose Transitional Items
As apartments often provide little space to fill with all of your favorite items, make sure to be particular with the furnishings and accessories you do have in each room. Hennessey says, “Chic Europeans live with less things but they are all very fine. I’ve adopted this approach in my own life. I live in a small apartment in my favorite neighborhood that doesn’t require a lot of furniture, but all the items I have, I love.”
To get this chic look, first get rid of any items that have lost their purpose or are no longer in style. Then invest in pieces that can easily transition to the next apartment, such as neutral upholstery, chairs, end tables, beautiful bed linens, lamps and art. Olsen agrees and says, “Even if you’re not locked into your current apartment, invest in great items that finish off a room and make it feel cozy, such as area rugs and curtains. When you move you can always cut the rug down if it doesn’t fit in the next space. For the curtains, if your next rental’s ceilings are shorter you can let in the hem or if ceilings are higher, you can simply let it out. Don’t shy away from these details that make a place feel settled into and a real home.”
Interior designer Allison Hennessy
5. Go Big
To create architectural interest and to seemingly double the size of the room and welcome more light, add a large leaning mirror to one wall. Find a mirror that’s nearly half the size of the wall or place a few medium-sized mirrors side-by-side to visually enlarge the space. Try positioning it or them across from a window that receives natural light so it can be reflected back into the room. If, like some apartments, you don’t have a window in a room, Olsen advises to, “Add a large-scale oil painting, even in a small space. The painting will bring light and vibrancy into the room. People are often too cautious when it comes to scale, but I’m a big proponent of creating impactful decorating by maximizing it. When you love the artwork, you shouldn’t have a half of it or two-thirds, measure the walls, add a large fitting piece and see how it wakes up the room.”
By incorporating these tips, you’ll find that you don’t need a mortgage to feel like you really have a home.