Whether you're a recent college grad renting your first apartment or a mid-career professional moving to a new city, making a rental feel like home (without upsetting your landlord) can be tricky. Designers Casi Francis and Michelle Mashon say, however, there are some low-commitment ways to style a space with a personal touch.
Making a statement in a small or temporary space all is in the details. Francis, an interior designer for Eclectic Home, doesn't recommend buying anything permanent. For example, invest in small pieces like cubes or nesting tables instead of a large coffee table. "You can move them to where you need them, they can be used as side tables, or you can put your feet on them," she says.
Sometimes, moving into an apartment means inheriting damage left behind by the previous tenant. Francis suggests covering dingy floors with rugs, which are easy to pack up if you move. "I'd put a hide rug with splashes of metallic on it, anything to lighten up the floors if they're dull," Francis says. "Layer all types of things, from lighting to art to bedding — anything like that will liven up the space so you don't have to do anything drastic."
Michelle Mashon of Spruce recommends using temporary peel-and-stick paper for an accent wall.
"It's removable and reusable, and you can put it up yourself," Mashon says.
Be aware of crooked floors and ceilings — frequent wallpaper foes in older New Orleans homes. Temporary papers are available in panels or rolls and they needn't be limited to walls.
"If you have scraps left over, you'll find places to use them around the apartment," says Mashon, who recommends covering drab refrigerators, cabinets or tables with temporary wallpaper. Spruce also sells peel-and-stick backsplashes for kitchens.
When it comes to walls, Francis suggests starting an art collection. "I try to buy things that I really love, and if you do that, it all ends up working well together," she says. Instead of nailing holes to hang frames, which might have to be spackled when your lease ends, try standing pieces up on a bookshelf.
Francis says as long as renters love the pieces in their apartments, they can throw caution to the wind. "It all comes together somehow," she says.