Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On Decorating for Renters

About seven years ago, our life changed drastically, and we found ourselves looking to rent a home. Our decision was God led and was one of the most beautiful moments of our life together {that story is another whole post on it's own!}. For the sake of this post, I wanted to share some things I've learned along the way about being a renter but still having fun decorating. Bloom where you're planted people! Bloom!


Fortunately, we are blessed to have a landlord that has been like a father to our family, as I said, this was a God led path, and God placed us in our little Garden of Eden. I had dreamed my whole life of a home like this, but never dreamed how the path would be laid out before us. It was bumpy and paved with boulders rocks at times. But here we've landed and here we pray we will always stay.


Renting can be extremely challenging as far as decorating goes because there are such limitations. Even here, in the best scenario imaginable, I have limits that I just can't get around. Our living room space has wood paneled walls that would be just dreamy painted a crisp white. But that's something I just can't do. Same with the dark wood kitchen cabinets. I would love to paint them, but again that's a biggy for a renter and I feel it oversteps our boundaries. Our landlord has been very gracious and has allowed us to paint walls and change out lighting. From that point I had to learn how to brighten any other dark areas with a little illusion. I began painting some things everything light, cool colors or white.


This chest of drawers, for example, was a thrift store find, but it was a dark cherry colored wood. I painted this piece Benjamin Moore's "Bird's Egg", and I lightened up an otherwise very dark entry wall. This visually tricked the eye to seeing more light where there was previously darkness. Don't be afraid to paint your furniture. Google repainting furniture and learn how to spice up your old, lifeless pieces.


This piece was once a dresser with attached mirror and was given to us by our landlord's wife.  Once again, dark wood. I removed the mirror, repainted it a buttery yellow with white distressed drawers and it's now the buffet I always wanted in our dining area. Thinking outside the box works every time.


We've had this armoire for years.  It, too, was dark wood, so white it went. This was the first piece of furniture I painted. I've never regretted that decision. Please remember that EVERYTHING we do here is on a shoestring budget and took many months, even years to match my vision. Don't not start because you can't see a finish line. Just work on one piece at a time,and keep trucking along. I learned that a can of spray paint is my best friend. I repainted a thrift store lighting fixture with just a bit of spray paint. I've done this to every fixture in the house! Everything here was 1970's brass and that just didn't cut it, but I wasn't about to go out and buy all new!



I've pretty much painted everything in our home {not much has escaped me}. But, it makes such a huge difference.  Your home should reflect your personality. It is your blank canvas. Another big help, are throw rugs. Begin slowly collecting light, bright one's and change your space from the floor up.


Another biggie, if you have very dark surroundings, is to change your upholstered furniture. If you're like us, sometimes new is not an option, so learn to slipcover. Of course I couldn't afford to have someone make them for me, so I began to search online for how to sew a slipcover. I found a fabulous e-book, "The Lazy Girl's Guide to Making a Custom Slipcover" at http:/pinkandpolkadot.blogspot.com. This helped hugely and gave me the confidence to drastically change our surroundings. I'd dreamed of going white with our furniture and this allowed me to begin. After much saving, we were able to purchase a new couch to replace a very old and sad one. Finding the best deal at IKEA, we purchased a white slipcovered sofa from their EKTORP line and I'm still over the moon with it! We have four kids and six house dogs, and we entertain A LOT. When it gets dirty, I throw it right in our washer, then hang it to dry and voila, like new again. Going white with our furniture has made a huge difference. 


I think this will give you an idea of how lightening your furniture can really have an impact on a room. That coffee table was a Re-Store find for ten dollars and yes, those precious little casters are original to the piece. This was also a dark colored wood originally, and got a thorough sanding and a coat of B.M's "Bird's Egg" also {I just LOVE that color, can you tell?}. Don't forget your walls.  Lighten and brighten there too!



Renting doesn't mean that you're stuck with someone else's stuff, it just means that you've got to think outside the box a little. It's still your home, enjoy where you are right now!

Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. I know this post is an older one, but I have to say I love your home! I would LOVE to have your wood walls! They are so warm and cozy! We also rent. I love our rental, but not the exact location, as it is on a very busy road. We are fortunate to have great landlords, so we have painted just about every surface, including the kitchen cabinets and the exterior. Some would probably think that is crazy, as this is not "our" house. I think this is a long-term home for us, since we've rented here twice and lived here in total longer than any home we've paid the bank for. ;) Sorry for such a long comment, I just had to say that I love your home and this blog. Oh, and I am also a Ga. Peach!

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    1. Elise, I'm so happy you stopped by for a visit! I don't think it's crazy to be doing ALL that work on a house that you don't own. I'm a firm believer in 'Bloom Where You're Planted'! For now, it IS your house- enjoy!

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