Miss A Columnist

Denise Willard has over a decade of experience transforming the homes of clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Her work has been showcased on ABC Affiliate, News Channel 8 and published in The Washington Post, Home and Design Magazine, Washington Home & Garden, The Washingtonian, and Elan. She writes a regular design column for Viva Tysons, and has a blog where she shares her interior decorating insights, DreamDesignLive.com .

Denise specializes in creating simple, but elegant transitional interiors that are reflective of her clients' personalities and lifestyles. The combination of her southern roots and urban lifestyle can be seen in her personal design style, which combines the comfort and hospitality of the South with the flair of the big city.

How To Decorate Your Rental Apartment And Make It A Home

For some apartment dwellers, getting excited about decorating your space can seem impossible. I mean, you aren’t likely staying there for more than a few years and it’s easy to think…why bother? This isn’t my forever home, it’s a rental property that belongs to someone else. However, it’s my job as an interior designer to aid you in transforming your house (or apartment) in this case, into a home. Even if your stay is only for a few months, like a stint in a dorm room, its always nice to come home to a space that feels completely yours, safe and comfortable. One of the grave dangers in neglecting your home is that it will ultimately lead to a sense of unease and restlessness in your life, adding to anxiety, poor mood and frustration (bad Feng Shui!).

I have a few ideas about how you can add some flair and personal touches to your rental property without over-committing, or breaking your lease restrictions or bank account.

If you are bold enough – paint! It seems like a daunting task to paint a room knowing you will have to paint it back to white before you move out, but the truth is, it is one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways to personalize a space. Also, you dont have to commit to a whole room, paint an accent wall or a simple horizontal stripe to add a pop of color and personality to your apartment. It won’t take long to paint back when it’s time to move. Finally, be sure to talk to your landlord, if you get the paint color approved by them you may not be required to repaint when you move out.

Paint the wall behind your bed for instant gratification.

Get some artwork up on those bare walls. Nail holes and spackling are a thing of the past thanks to products like Picture Hanging Strips by 3M. Picture Hanging Strips make hanging art simple. One click tells you Picture Hanging Strips are locked in and holding tight. Best of all, when you are ready to take down or move your pictures, they come off cleanly – no nail holes, cracked plaster or sticky residue. Having art on your walls will really bring some warmth and character to your apartment. Find pictures that reflect your interests or places you have been, or frame some of your favorite photos of times spent with family and/or friends. You can also look for art that embodies the colors of your current home decor accessories. You don’t have to spend a fortune on art, shop at places like Home Goods or Target and utilize your own photography and art skills to make DIY art.

Hang art that reflects your personal interests and tell a story about yourself.

Accessorize! Throw pillows, art, lamps, vases, drapes and area rugs are all portable. You can take them with you when the time comes to re-locate. Add personality to your home by placing vibrantly covered and textured novels on your end tables or bookshelves. Bring the outdoors in and pick up flowers on your way home from work and arrange them in a cool jar or vase. Think about using area rugs to cover up cold and stark flooring. Personalizing your space with accessories will make you feel more at home and transition a crash pad into a friendly retreat.

Use items you have as accessories. Books can make a great statement piece.

Turn on the Lights! Lighting is an essential part of every space rented or owned. Some apartments offer more natural sun light due to location and some come with better overhead lighting. However, if you are living in a space where lighting is scarce, invest in some lamps. Colorful accent lamps can add function and character to an apartment. Check out sites like Joss & Main that have daily sales on amazing lamps. A little light will go a long way to brighten your space and your mood.

Lamps offer more than just light, they can serve as great accessories in your home. (Decor Pad)

Finally, don’t neglect your windows! Window treatments have a positive impact on any room. First, you will need to talk to your landlord about weather or not you can install hardware. If you can, your options are unlimited and some amazing fabric drapes will be sure to liven up your space. If you cannot hang hardware and want to save money and time hang sheers from a tension rod and avoid holes altogether. Either way, it’s important to give some TLC to those bare apartment windows.

If your apartment does not accommodate wall hanging fixtures, try using a tension rod instead.

Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to making your impersonal rented space much more personal.

Happy decorating!

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