Decorating on a Budget: Renter’s Guide to Getting Creative

real estate  /   /  By Tracy

For any renter, it can be hard to imagine that cookie cutter apartment reflecting your unique style or standing out from all the other units, especially when your budget is limited. However, there are ways to create a distinctive style without breaking the bank or the landlord’s guidelines.

A few of the ways to give your apartment a unique stamp with any budget.

First, check out the local shops in the area. Used furniture pieces can be refreshed with paint and new hardware. These different pieces provide an architectural talking point. They can also create height, making rooms feel larger. In addition, these pieces can create additional storage options for units with limited closet space.

Art pieces can also be located at local fairs and festivals. Fresh pieces from homegrown artists can be conversation pieces, while at the same time providing support to local economies. Most landlords have guidelines about painting walls within the apartment, it might be possible to create an accent wall using specific colors from a predetermined range.

Lamps can be made from a variety of pieces, including old wine bottles or even mason jars. Rummage sales can be the place to find components for these pieces. While it might mean getting your hands dirty to rewire or rework these components, the end result will be a reflection of your style and taste. This type of creativity also allows for exploration of your own tastes, particularly when it comes to distressed or antique options.

For renters who are also collectors, finding unique ways to display important pieces can also provide a personal touch. Books, pictures and other memorabilia can be showcased on different types of shelving, including furniture and bookshelves. These pieces can be rotated, so the look and feel of the apartment can be similar to a gallery. Examine your apartment for any architectural features that stand out, then use furniture and art pieces to accentuate them.

While most units come with standard window coverings, it is still possible to add some flair under your budget. Use curtain material over blinds, for example, to give a pop of color within a living room space. Lace coverings over colored material can give depth to a room without painting the walls. Additionally, there are times when a space can feel larger just by eliminating several smaller parts in favor of one large central piece. If a room feels tight, consider reducing the amount of furniture and art work to maximize the vertical and horizontal space.

There might be other options available to put your own stamp on a space. For instance, does your landlord offer upgrade options for lease renewals? Use these opportunities to add those one of a kind touches, such as distinctive countertops or alternative paint colors on walls. Even without these upgrades, you might be able to negotiate for a relaxation of the guidelines as part of your lease renewal.

Not every apartment can have those wonderful historical touches or slices of quirky charm, especially those built within the last decade or so. Yet a renter with a creative eye and a little elbow grease can put a distinctive touch to any space, while not breaking the bank.

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