How much do you do to a place you don’t own?
My bachelor client in New York is tired of that transient condo rental feeling…off white walls, plastic blinds, undefined style…. He wants something that feels like a real home. But since he might be moving again soon, he’s unsure what to do. What can, and should he spend money on? Here are some of my suggestions.
1. SPLURGE ON A PIECE YOU LOVE
A great couch in a color you love is a piece you can bring with you no matter where you move. This sofa from Plantation that we purchased for his previous apartment, works just as well in his new apartment.
2. PAINT JUST ONE WALL
Image from Lonny magazine.
In many rentals the walls have been painted an off white color. Should you choose to paint it another color, you have to re paint before you move out. Since most rental buildings generally make no distinction between ceiling, trim and walls, you get a generic off white paint job that I personally find depressing. Instead of painting the entire place, select only one wall to paint to add some color and warmth. Keep in mind a lighter color takes less coats of paint to return to white.
(Another option is to choose a brighter white for ceilings, moldings, doors and closet doors to create contrast and give it a more elegant look. I doubt any rental building would ask you to repaint.
2. USE BAMBOO SHADES
My client’s apartment has lots of windows! Bamboo shades add instant warmth, and work with most types of interiors. You can find lots of inexpensive custom bamboo blinds online. If your windows are standard sizes you can get them at Wallmart or Home Depot.
4. FIND A LOOK YOU LOVE FOR LESS
This client really likes Beni Ourain rugs. But since the antique Moroccan rug generally comes with a $ 3-5000 price tag for an 8 x 10, we searched for cheaper alternatives. In an apartment a rug will suffer more wear and tear, so a brand new rug will handle high traffic areas better.
This carpet for $ 549 will provide a similar feeling.
5. BUY VINTAGE – BUT NOT IN THE BIG CITY
We’ve selected some great mid century items. I always buy from internet sites or stores NOT located in expensive downtown areas.
6. PAY A VISIT TO A LOCAL SECOND HAND STORE
Check out local second hand stores for unbeatable prices. You might be surprised what you can find. I would only suggest this, if you’re willing to give a piece a makeover. I picked up these chairs, and a table with two leaves for $ 175. We’re refinishing them in black lacquer with green and cream chevron fabric.
8. FIND DESIGNER LINES AT INEXPENSIVE RETAILERS
Retailers are getting very clever in this bad economy, and you’re increasingly able to get designer looks for cheap. We’ve selected this orange chair from Nate Berkus line at HSN for the bedroom.
And we’re adding two of these Candice Olsen Chrome diamond lamps $ 198/each on top of the mid century sideboard.
I’m leaving the bathroom, kitchen and floor ideas for the next post!!
Do you have any great advice for a renter?
Would you refinish a floor in a place you don’t own?
I’d love to hear your thoughts…