Though we think of the focus of "This Old House" as being homeowners, renters enjoy their time in the spotlight too. One editor documented the changes she has made over the years to her small 550 foot studio rental. Inexpensive and simple, they're applicable for anyone looking to add livability and practicality to their small home with minimal time, effort and money. Do we see a show of hands?...
Some of her changes include building these plywood bookshelves in the recesses on either side of her fireplace to hold her books and electronics. She added these shutters to the bookshelves. They act as doors to hide the unsightly stuff.
Colour was an important part of her improvements. In the living room she painted the focal point wall above her fireplace a bright red, bringing warmth without having to commit to painting the entire room. She painted her entry a dark eggplant. Stepping from the entry into the bright living room creates the illusion that her living room is bigger than it actually is. Where can you try this trick in your home?
Though she painted her bedroom a cool colour, this bright painting over the bed pops out at visitors who pass by but doesn't detract from the calm of the space because she can't see it from bed. Think about this if you have a lively piece you love but are nervous that it will detract from the calm oasis you are trying to create in your bedroom.
In her kitchen, she painted her kitchen cabinets. Because she couldn't change the bright orange laminated countertop, she painted the walls a citrus green to complement it. It's a good lesson that working with what you have rather than fighting against it can often produce a great result. Now no one would ever know that the colour of the countertop wasn't her choice!
These "built-in" kitchen cabinets are actually Ikea Varde cabinets, turned upside down and piled on top of each other, a great place to hold glassware but they'd also work well in a living room, bedroom, bathroom, closet or entry, as part of a neat and functional landing strip. Join a few together, add legs and a butcher block or marble top for a easy kitchen island that doubles as a bar.
For the complete slideshow, click here.
[images: Alexandra Bandon for This Old House Online]