Renting an apartment means you have little responsibility when things break down. Usually, your part ends when you notify the owner of the property that a faucet or a furnace needs repaired. But renting also means there are limits on improvements that you can make, and if you're an avid decorator or someone who's stubborn about how the interior of their home should look, it can throw a real wrench into your plans. You can solve the dilemma of renter's limitations by using a few of innovative decorating tips listed here:
Sometimes your landlord will allow you to paint walls in the apartment you're renting, but typically, this isn't the case. If you've grown weary of walls covered in builder's beige paint, measure the height and width of one focal wall in your room. Purchase enough sheets of lightweight, Polyurethane foam to cover the area, and use simple staples to cover the panels in a pretty, decorative fabric. Lean the panels snugly against the focal wall, and voila! Instant wall-covering. Even better -- this is one wall covering that can move with you when you pull up stakes.
To dress up drab flooring such as worn linoleum or scuffed wood, use interlocking carpet panels. These are are small squares of carpet that have been affixed to high-density foam backing, and installation is as simple as placing squares on the floor and locking the edges together.
Interlocking carpet tiles were originally developed for trade shows where small areas of flooring needed to look nice for only several days, but you can take advantage of their simplicity to cover trouble spots in your apartment as well. A single layer of double-sided tape around the perimeter helps to hold the tiles in place, but even that isn't necessary.
If you rented your apartment fully furnished, but yearn to change up a few of the uglier pieces, use accessories. Accessories such as throw pillows, lap quilts, woven rugs, scarves, and even swaths of burlap add personality and character to stuffy chairs and couches. And if you're strictly a no-sew decorator -- no problem. Use pins or glue to affix fabric and ribbon to pillows and lampshades.
If it's dark or outdated cabinet doors that have you down, use a screwdriver to remove them. Open shelving can open up a room in glorious fashion. Just be sure to store the doors in a safe, easy-to-reach location so you can re-install them before you move out. And once the doors are off, use the same trick you utilized for your walls to back your cupboards -- cut pieces of sturdy cardboard and cover them in attractive paper or fabric. Using this method, walls full of dark cabinetry become pretty display areas for some of your nicer pieces. Just be sure to keep them neatened up, or you'll end up with more clutter than character.
Most landlords don't mind if you switch out the existing window treatments. Occasionally, however, someone does. And when that someone happens to rent to you, don't despair. Use rope, or decorative beads to pull ugly drapes out of the way and then add your own finishing touches to your window dressing. Try hanging a stained glass panel in the window, or dangling starched, vintage doilies from invisible thread. Line a row of antique canning jars along the sill and drop a pretty silk stem in each.
Apartment life through a company like the Certified Rental Building Program is perfect for those who aren't quite ready for the responsibility of home ownership. But renting doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your decorating style. Be innovative. Be creative. But most of all, be happy with the home you've created.