Before & After: How One Renter Upgraded Her Basic Bungalow With Easy DIYs

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Name: Filia Herbert, my husband Chris, and my two sons, Max and Ozzy
Location: Los Angeles, California
Type of home: Bungalow
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: 5 months, renting

DIY washi tape design

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My name is Filia! I’m a fiber artist and I have a little online shop where I sell wall hangings and pillows that I make. I met my English husband in New York and we moved out to LA about six years ago with our two boys (who are now 6 and 7 years old). We love LA for the weather, the combo of city and suburbs, and the amazing community that we found.

Our home is a cozy 1500-square-foot LA bungalow with little hints of charm throughout. It has a beachy, indoor/outdoor vibe, which we love. We rent this home because the housing market in west LA is insane!! The going rate is $1.3 million and above for a small fixer upper. It is NUTS. So we rent and we’ve always done our best to make our rentals feel like home. I love DIYing and styling on a budget. We were lucky in this particular house, as we didn’t have to switch up too many things. It already had freshly painted white walls, a white kitchen, original doors with black hardware, and updated bathrooms.

I did add some renter-friendly upgrades like a new pendant lamp for the dining room, removable wallpaper in the bathroom and faux grass in the back patio. I also used washi tape to make a modern design on the kitchen bar and switched up the hardware on the cabinets. Minor changes can really make a rental house more your style and FUN without making any permanent changes.

Our serene master (DIY bed & headboard)

My husband is a software engineer, but he loves to work with wood, when he has the time. He actually made our king size bed and headboard out of old mahogany wood from the one house that we did own, back in New York.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is our master bedroom. I never gave enough attention to decorating our bedroom in the past… it was always the last one to finish. I guess because it was the room that no one would really see, except us. I really wanted this room to feel uncluttered, tranquil, and somewhere I can feel my most vulnerable in.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Modern/beachy/boho/natural elements and color.

Our cozy living room (DIY wall hanging)

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I would magically add a pool (loving the stock pool idea)!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Turkish towels, a white planter with stand from All Modern, and new plant babies from Home Depot.

Temporary wallpaper in the bathroom

Any advice for creating a home you love? Yes, get rid of clutter and pieces of furniture that don’t feel good. We purged so much when we moved here and I only kept pieces that were my style and felt special to me. I definitely channeled Marie Kondo!! Less is more! Get rid of knick-knacks that you really don’t need. Do some research to find out what kind of style/vibe you want your home to have and once you have an idea, slowly go from there, it helps to make a mood board of ideas and pieces that you want to include in your home. Make it fun!

DIY wood wall art on patio

This submission has been edited for length and clarity.

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