Gifted renters understand how to make wonderful homes in temporary dwellings, and squeeze seriously stylish and functional spaces out of nothing special. They make it look easy, but exactly how do they do it, you ask? Here are the habits of some seriously creative renters.
#1: Elevate Inexpensive Materials
True creativity comes when we see common objects in a new light, and can put them to use in fresh ways. Above, Alex Kalita's kitchen "backsplash" is actually tile mounted on plywood which is in turn mounted on the wall with a french cleat. The whole project was about $50.
#2: Understand How They Really Live
Smart renters prioritize what is most important for day-to-day living, then organize their space accordingly. Emily's bed is right inside her apartment's door, which frees up the room between the front room and the kitchen for a full-sized dining table, something Emily, a frequent entertainer, considers essential. Although it might not work for everybody, it does for her.
#3: Make Peace With Existing Elements
There will always be features that can't go away and that you'll have to work around. In this rental bathroom, Megan Pflug decided to embrace the blue wall tile, and created a design that makes it look intentional, instead of an eyesore.
#4: Cover What Doesn't Work
While Sarah Lonsdale's countertop looks like butcher block, it's actually plywood that was laser cut to fit perfectly over the existing (ugly) one. Thin strips of plywood to hide the front and the sides of the inexpensive wood.
#5: Invest Time And/Or Money
Great spaces rarely just happen on their own. If you are in an apartment for a couple of years, use your own energy (or pay someone else) to make it work better for you. It's up to you how much you put into the project, but Brady did a pretty amazing job transforming his vintage bathroom —with old tile, an over-painted medicine cabinet — into a fresh space, with a few purchases.
#6: Don't Rush The Process
A home is never really done and changes over time along with you. Amelia continually edits her Hell's Kitchen apartment so she's always living with the things she loves right then right there.
#7: Buy Only What They Love
You can't control what the brick and mortar looks like, but you can control what goes inside your home and it should only be things that speak loudly to you. Interior designer Allison Crawford has a colorful, vintage-filled home in Austin, TX that's filled with eclectic pieces.
Re-edited from a post originally published 12.19.16