Monday, April 18, 2011

Living with Style in a Rental

We have all lived in rental apartments. Before our current house I lived in a total of 9 different rentals. I was always willing to put in a little money (and a lot of time and effort) in to making the spaces feel like my own. Obviously that is not always the case for everyone. It is difficult to rationalize investing money into something temporary.
The following are a few suggestions for taking a basic, all white, sterile rental apartment and making it a stylish home in which all of the elements move with you.

The easiest way to inject life into a space- colour. Not just a single colour but several colours used throughout your space to varying degrees. The key to successfully incorporating colour into a space (i.e. making the room feel cohesive) is that each colour (or wood tone) must be used a minimum of 3 times.

Worth noting- Although it may not seem like it, paint is actually the way you will get the best bang for your buck. For a total of about $40 ($35 gallon of paint, $1 dollar store paint brush, $4 big box store roller and handle) you can give a good sized room a completely different look and feel.

Below are several example photos and lists of accessories you can use to help style each room in your rental.

The Kitchen

1) plant(s) in colourful pots
2) rug- the size depends on the size of the kitchen but bigger is better
3) wood or bamboo cutting board
4) bowl with fruit
5) cookbooks on display
6) curtains (roman, cafe or valence)
7) other accessories not in the example photo- art either on the wall or leaning on the counter and colourful tea towels

The Dining Area

1) substantial centerpiece (e.g. flowers, plant, candles, bowl)
2) placemats or table runner- in a different colour than the table
3) art on wall(s)
4) full length curtains on every window
5) rug- not in our example photo- large enough to comfortably fit all chairs on it

The Living Room

1) art on all walls
2) full length curtains on all windows
3) pillows for sofa(s) and chair(s)
4) table accessories (e.g. books, candles, bowls, wooden box, etc.)
5) rug- big enough for all the furniture to have their front legs on it
6) plants in colourful pots- not in our example photo

The Bathroom

1) colourful, fabric shower curtain which hangs on the outside of the tub and has a functional, fabric lining for the inside of the tub
2) colourful accessories (e.g. flowers, candles and candle holders, etc,)
3) colourful towels (both hand and bath)
4) a washable bath matt
5) art on wall

The Bedroom

1) colourful duvet cover and shams
2) pillow(s) for bed
3) art on wall(s)
4) bedside table accessories (e.g. books, candles, dish for jewellry, wooden box, etc.)
5) full length curtains on all windows- not shown in our example photo
6) rug- either at the end of the bed or completely under the bed- not shown in our example photo

The Front Entrance

1) small table for placing keys and mail
2) mirror (to check your appearance before leaving the house)
3) baskets (for storing seasonal items)
4) colourful runner
5) chair or bench (for sitting to put shoes on)- not shown in our example photo
6) shoe shelves- not shown in our example photo
7) wood box or bowl (to keep your keys in)- not shown in our example photo