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Making A Rental Feel Permanent…Without Pissing Off Your Landlord

I moved into my apartment about 5 months ago and it has been a super inspiring challenge creating my own space that truly feels like home. Unfortunately, when people think of a rental property they often think of something very temporary. But really, just because you are renting doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a personalized space that feels consistent and “permanent”.

Here are 5 of the ways I created a home in my rental:

1. Painting
Now before you get too excited and run off to buy the trendiest colour you can find at Farrow & Ball make sure to check in with your landlord. When I got the keys to my apartment I could tell my landlord preferred a light and airy palette which is definitely up my alley. I later learned he also liked to keep the paint colours consistent in all his properties to make it easier to touch up in between tenants. While I didn’t “mind” the colour choices I felt that if I could get him to agree on my paint choices it would easily help to personalize my space. I chose Unicorn White by Behr for my bedroom, and Kitten White by Behr for the livingroom. I reviewed the swatches with my landlord and luckily for me he approved them right away.


2. Plants
Adding greenery to your apartment either with live plants or faux is a fantastic way to create comfort and a “homey” vibe. Finding a florist or botanist that you trust will definitely help you choose the right plants for your space and save you tons of money and frustration in the end. Don’t forget your patio or deck if you have one. Hanging baskets and railing planters are the perfect way to create a sense of green space when you don’t have any to begin with. The great thing about plants is that everything can be moved to your new space when your lease is over.



3. Pictures
Including wall pictures in a rental apartment can be a bit tricky! First of all, you should again check with your landlord first to see what their thoughts are on traditional ways of hanging picture frames –  you don’t want to leave them with walls full of holes at the end of your lease if they don’t patch and paint before the next tenant. Command Hanging Strips will likely become your best friend as they did with me. Just remember to always check the weight capacity of the strips and the frame you are looking to hang. Measure twice – hang once!


4. Lighting
Using different light sources can help make your space feel more comfortable, it makes colours deepen and shine and adds a glowing energy to all of your rooms. According to the book Apartment Therapy – Complete & Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban there are three types of lighting sources to consider : ambient lighting which provides overall illumination, work lighting is bright light in areas you will read/cook/get ready for work and then accent lighting which creates visual interest and puts the focus on parts of your home you want to highlight. Always remember that the most interesting spaces will include multiple points of light!


5. Textiles
Curtains, rugs, throw blankets, and pillows are just a few ways that you can use textiles to personalize a generic apartment rental. When working with window treatments consider extending the curtain rods past the width of the window frame to create the illusion of larger windows and in turn, larger spaces. Area rugs that all your furniture can sit on will create a beautifully cohesive room, don’t be afraid of patterns and different textures. Mixing up throw pillows help to give couches and beds added depth without taking away space in a room. When choosing your throw blankets remember that heavy knits and furs can sometimes make a small room feel even smaller!

Above all, the most important way to turn your rental into a home is to truly give it the time and attention it deserves. Your apartment holds just as much value as your friend’s brick tudor or your boss’ mid-century ranch. Incorporate the art and accessories you love the most and try not to take yourself too seriously, style is ever-evolving.