Jennae's Stylish, Green Rental

Green House Call

(Welcome to Jennae, who's trying out for a spot on our editorial team. Enjoy!)

Who lives here? Jennae Petersen
Location: Duluth, GA

Who says a rental can't be stylish and green? I used to hate renting, but our current apartment has lessened my disdain by a few notches. Like most apartment dwellers, we couldn't make any major design decisions, nor can we make any improvements that can't be changed back before we move out. We didn't let that stop us from making this apartment feel like home, and making it eco-friendly too.

We like to think of our daughter's room as the green Pièce de résistance of our home. We took care to make ever possible element as eco-friendly and non-toxic as possible, from the organic cotton drapes and bedding to the low-VOC paint and storage and bench cubes made from recycled paper. Her upholstered headboard is covered in organic cotton and her TV stand is a flea market find that we refinished. Even her toy box is eco-friendly — handmade of sustainably harvested wood by a wonderfully handy mom who builds the pieces in her garage.

Our master bedroom has some green features, though it doesn't go quite as far. Our bedding is made of organic cotton, our bed frame of recycled steel and our headboard of bamboo fiber wall panels.

Like our daughter's room, we painted a single wall with low-VOC paint. We know we'll have to repaint the two walls (one in each bedroom) to eggshell white before we move out, but that seems small in comparison to making our apartment feel like home for the duration of our 15-month lease.

The living room and sunroom both feature bright colors — just not on the walls. We worked around the living room furniture we've had for years to make the space feel comfortable and cozy, with a few "new" additions. We added a mid-century consignment store console and a sunburst mirror handmade of rolled newspaper.

The sunroom/office is an eclectic mix of styles, including a mid-century desk and several thrift and consignment store pieces. I made the organic cotton curtains from a duvet cover and refinished a gaudy, gold sunburst mirror into something more modern and beautiful.

At the end of the day, a combination of DIY spirit, conscientious shopping and creativity have allowed us to turn our apartment into a place we really consider to be home. Now if we could just do the same thing when we finally move into our own house, we'll be in a great shape.

Thanks, Jennae!

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