Redesign Your Rental: Expert Tips to Update Your Space

interior design for apartmentsAs tenants of a rental property we are often limited as to what kind of improvements we can make to our living spaces. So what to do when your landlord impedes your personal style?

There are plenty of solutions. Stylist Claudia Miyar, who has worked with magazines such as Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living, says even small changes can make a big difference -- and don't have to break the bank (or any walls!).

Here are a few of her top tips for adding personality to a rental property...

Paint an accent wall
Miyar tells clients to glance over their closets and see what color clothing appears most (aside from black), then choose a shade on the lighter end of that spectrum and paint one wall. Another tip? Make the task simpler by picking a wall without windows to avoid having to tape off areas and paint around them.

Add "architecture"
Faced with a plain box of a room? Miyar suggests scouring hardware stores for trim to add some impact. "You can create a 'headboard' around your bed with the trim and paint both the trim and inside a fun color," she suggests.

Think wallpaper
Miyar likes wallpaper as an accent for small spaces such as bathrooms or even a bedroom door (see Miyar's photo above) to add pattern to a room. There's an amazing array available -- do a little online searching for something unique! (A couple of places we suggest you start: Cavern Home, Tracy Kendall, twenty2, Designtex)

Change your hardware
One of the simplest changes you can make is to swap out hardware on cabinets. Miyar recently replaced plain knobs with milk-glass from Anthropologie for a "clean, elegant look." Just remember to keep the originals so you can take your more stylish hardware with you when you leave.

Carve out your space (but not literally!)
Miyar always encourages clients to invest in rugs and free-standing open shelving. Not only can you take them with you when you move, but they help define space in an open living area. Try placing open bookcases or shelves at 90-degree angles to differentiate different parts of the room. Miyar says area rugs are also great for defining space and anchoring furniture. "A big rug in a small room actually makes the room look bigger," she says. Her favorites are sisal rugs- they're cheap and available at many retailers.
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