Our family is just finishing up our second year of renting a quaint 1400sf cottage that’s about a hundred years old, and while we have loved the location, it’s taught me quite a bit about decorating smaller spaces and how to make a rental house feel like home.
For those of you who are new here, welcome. I’m Christy and I blog along with my dear friend and former college roommate, Amy, here at 11 Magnolia Lane (read our blogging story here). We’re a military family and my husband is currently finishing up an overseas assignment while the kids and I are in the States. We’ve lived apart for almost two years but are counting the months until we’re reunited under the same roof this summer (our destination is still unknown but if you sign up for our email updates I promise you’ll be almost the first to know)!
Amy and I always love joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for her home tours. We take turns sharing our (current) homes and soaking up inspiration from all of the other participating bloggers. Are you visiting from Haneen’s Haven? If so, we’re glad you’re here. Haneen is one of our favorite blogging friends and she has such a fun, colorful sense of style, doesn’t she?
Because we’re a military family, I have A LOT of experience in decorating rental houses and military quarters. There are definitely a few things that I do over and over again to make our houses feel like homes. Today I’ll share a few examples in our living room and dining room while I feature our spring decor.
Ask your landlord if you can paint; it’s an easy and inexpensive way to customize your space
If we’re renting, I ask the landlord if we can paint and have them add permission to the lease (they always say yes). Many of them will reimburse for the cost of the paint, but I don’t let that stop me, because paint makes such a huge difference and it’s so inexpensive. Paint changes everything.
In our current home, the living room, dining room, and kitchen were three different colors when we moved in (see the “befores” here). They’re all the same color now and it creates a much more cohesive and open space. The color is Oatlands Subtle Taupe by Valspar; I hear they recently renamed it Villa Grey, though.
Bring your own lighting: chandeliers, lamps, and sconces
Builder-basic lighting is usually hideous. I have several chandeliers that travel with us from one home to the next. Some I found on Craigslist and eBay, and some are much more expensive, but I taught myself years ago how to wire them and hang them and it makes a huge difference.
Go neutral with your larger pieces and add color with accessories
When you move a lot, you never know what your color scheme is going to be. If you’re willing to paint you can influence that, but it’s a fact of renting that you furniture never fits exactly the same way from one house to the next. I tend to stick with neutral larger pieces and add color with throw pillows, flowers, and other decor accessories. Then I can change it out seasonally and continue to build the world’s largest throw pillow collection (#lifegoals).
| Matchbox |
Add inexpensive window treatments
Military and corporate spouses know that the “curtain box” is a part of life. Since the number and size of windows is different from one house to the next, we normally carry along a box of misfits. While my forever house will sport perfect pinch-pleat drapes, my right-now house has inexpensive panels that work on a variety of window sizes.
(White normally works best, but I went with gray this time)
Matchstick blinds can be cut to match each window and are very inexpensive:
Some windows don’t even need window treatments, unless privacy is a huge issue. I don’t really care who sees me doing dishes–let’s all suffer together– so the kitchen sink window stays open to let in the light.
I appreciate your stopping by our sweet little home; all of my sources are below. If I missed anything, just leave a comment or email me.
Now, I hope you’ll head on over to visit sweet Karianne at Thistlewood Farms and tour her beautiful farmhouse!
If you missed any of the homes this week, you won’t want to miss a single one. Here’s the complete lineup: