How to make your rental feel like home.

Happy Friday friends! I hope this post finds you well as you head into your weekend:) So, something I have been wanting to write about for a while, and to be totally honest, I just haven’t made time to do so, is about renting your home. I have received multiple requests to write a post about being renters and how to make your house feel like your own as a renter. Honestly, I forget that we are renting and not home owners because we have done so much to make this house our home. But, we are renters, and I wanted to share a little bit about how to rent and still make your space feel like YOUR home. So, here it goes.

A question I get asked often is, “Why do you do so much to your house and spend money on things you can’t take with you? Great question! I’m asking myself this as I write:) Haha!  I have a history as a renter of doing things to our houses that most people would only do as a home owner, not a renter. Truth be told, I can’t help myself. I know the smart and financially wise thing to do would be to aggressively save every extra penny to buy our house, or another house. But for me, I just can’t not do certain things because I love to design, and,,,,I love to design:) It’s as simple as that. I’m not saying that you have to go and spend a ton of money on your rental because you just can’t help it. Trust me, I have lived and I have learned, and there are just some areas that you can live with and some areas that you can spend a little to make a big impact. Every home I have ever rented, I have spent some money on to make it feel more like home. Some things I regret, others I have felt are totally worth it. I think that’s something you have to figure out along the way. So, with that said, I am totally aware that I have spent money on a property that I may not ever own (although we have every intention of buying it) but the things we have done have made it feel like home in every way, and to me personally, that makes it totally worth it. So, with that said, I wanted to list a few areas that I have invested money into in our home as renters that I have absolutely NO regrets on! Also, a side note, we signed a 3 year lease. I think that’s important to know because had we only signed to live here for a year, I probably wouldn’t have done certain things (like switch out fixtures and painted every single room) But, we very much plan on buying this house, so I think because that is on our minds often, we make room to do a few extra things to the house because we feel like never want to leave:) Okay, back to talking about some areas that we have personally invested money into, and that most landlords ( from our own experience) would allow you to do.

Paint: Yall, I can not say this enough, but paint costs so little and it makes the most drastic impact on your home. I am so so happy we decided to paint our house. Honestly, the walls were a neutral beige and totally fine, but I had this vision of our house being white and what it would do to the space, and after almost a year of living there, I finally decided to do it. Now, if you can paint yourself, you will definitely save some money. I painted every room of our house that I physically could, and then I had to hire someone to paint the entryway because of how high the walls are! Still, it was worth every penny.

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Above are some pictures of rooms we have painted. We painted all of the main living spaces in the house “Greek Villa” by Sherwin Williams. We did the bathrooms, bedrooms, and laundry (other than master which we did white) in the color “Agreeable Gray” by Sherwin Williams. And lastly, I wanted to change it up a little for the boys bedroom so I did a darker green/gray color called “Illusive Green” by Sherwin Williams. If you are looking for the perfect white, Greek Villa is by far the best white I have ever used. One of my friends recommended it to me, and I am SO glad she did. It’s the perfect blend of white, not too warm, not too cold. It’s perfect. Also, Agreeable Gray is hands down my favorite gray out there. It is on the warmer side, but it looks good in almost every angle of light, and that’s hard to find with a paint color! All in all, I am thrilled with how our house turned out once it was all painted:)

Lighting: This is another area that makes a really big difference in your home. Lighting makes a big statement on the style of your home. One of the first things I changed when we moved in was the dining chandelier. I just had a specific style I was going for, so I bought a new fixture and had my father in law install it (which obviously saves money on labor) and it totally inspired how I decorated our dining room. I have also changed out our bedroom fixture, and the most recent change, our island pendants. Wayfair, Amazon, and Overstock are great places to find inexpensive light fixtures. Important to know, I have an arrangement with our landlords that we either put the old fixtures back up when and if we leave, or we leave what we have and it’s on our dime. I will end up leaving them if we don’t stay (again, we plan on never leaving:) ) I am going to end up changing every light fixture eventually, I’m just taking my time!

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These are the main fixtures we have replaced so far. We bough our bedroom fixture from Ikea for $90, our island pendants for $66e on Amazon, and our dining was the most expensive one, and I believe it was around $250. I have NO regrets on doing our lights so far. It has made such a difference, and it really makes everything else around it feel more cohesive in our house.

Hardware: I love a good cabinet knob or drawer pull yall. This is something that you probably don’t even need to ask your landlord permission for because it’s non damaging and you can put the original hardware back on when you leave if they don’t want what you chose, or if you want to take it with you! I changed out every piece of hardware in our house, not because what was there was bad, but because I had a style in mind that I wanted to incorporate, and it was inexpensive, easy, and doesn’t do any harm or any damage to the house! Here is a little extra note on this topic for ya. There are plenty of cheap options out there for hardware, and if you are renting and unsure if you are purchasing your rental, don’t buy expensive hardware. Just my opinion. But even if you do take it with you, chances are you will want something different or it may not work in your next house. That’s just me, but it may set some of you free:)

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These are just a few spots I have changed out the hardware in. And I have never looked back and thought I shouldn’t have done that. It is SO easy to swap out hardware, and if your landlords don’t like it, you can SO easily put the original hardware back. This is one of the best, most renter friendly ways to change up your rental property. We have done it in our kitchen and every bathroom. And I am so happy with all of it!

Decor: This is an obvious, but decorating is something that most landlords are pretty easy going about. I decorate every single room in the house, which means there are holes behind every frame and accessory I have on the wall. As a renter, something I have really come a long way in, is making sure you put the home back better than when you got it. I haven’t always been good at this. But if you don’t end up purchasing your rental, I would always tell a you as a renter, make the house look like it was never lived in when you leave. I have done some things in the past in rental homes that I am NOT proud of…ie: painted the kitchen cabinets with the wrong kind of paint, added a wood wall to a few places, made a billion holes that i didn’t patch, stapled christmas lights to the outside of the house and then left the staples….yall, i’ve grown alot. All of that to say, I’m a much, much more considerate renter now:)

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I have had alot of fun decorating our house. I think as long as you are committed to being a good hole patcher, you can be creative and really find ways to express your style in how you decorate and accessorize your rental! I have come a long ways in my hole patching/ painting skill set, and if we don’t end up buying this house, I am determined to make it look like it was never lived in when we leave! I haven’t always been like that, but I feel like as the renter, we owe that to our landlords. Have fun with your decor (as long as your lease/landlord permit it) and worse case scenario, if you are limited to the amount of holes you put in the wall, there are plenty of options out there that can be hung and displayed on a non-damaging command strip. Where there is a will friends, there is a way!:)

Here is an important side note, it is so important to ask for permission before you do anything to your rental property! I ask our landlords for permission before I do any project in our house. Thankfully, we have wonderful landlords who have given us a lot of freedom to do what we love in the house, and I am beyond grateful for it! And honestly for us, even if we were never allowed to do anything to our house, it was stunning before we ever even moved in.  And if that’s the case for you as a renter, if your landlords aren’t keen on letting you paint and switch stuff out, I would encourage you to find ways to make your decor bring out the “home” in your home. We lived in a rental property years ago that was built in 1960 and the bathroom was still very much living in 1960:) One bathroom was tiled in a seafoam green on the floors, in the shower, and on the walls, and the other was a lovely salmon color. Yikes! And since I couldn’t change out the tile or anything, I changed what I could. I swapped out the mirrors to something more modern. And I added new knobs and some decor to the walls. And I made it as “homey” as i could. Sometimes all if takes is adding your touch to something to make it feel like your own!

I hope this post has been helpful for all of my fellow renters out there! Comment below if you have any questions, and I would love to help in any way I can!

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