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Push the Limits when Decorating Your Apartment

Aug 30, 2008
It's easy to feel creatively stifled when living in a rental property. Other than hanging a few pictures on the wall, there isn't much you can do to decorate. Or is there?

Most people don't realize there are many changes they can make, from painting to installing new window shades, as long as the manager agrees.

Talk to the Manger about Your Project
Before making any major changes, you must talk to the apartment manager. Even if your lease forbids certain things, managers may make exceptions if a tenant is reasonable. Remember the manager has to consider the next tenant.

Apartment dwellers eventually move and the space has to be rented out again. This means you must be prepared to change your apartment back to its original state. It also means you are responsible for any damage. If you manage to knock a hole in the drywall while putting up window shades, you have to get it repaired so the next tenant can't tell there was any damage.

Paint it Black...or Red or Green or Whatever
You apartment has white walls. Maybe not actual "white" but something like Off White, Antique White, or if your manager is very daring, Ecru. The reason is neutral walls match any furniture new tenants bring in.

Neutral is boring and you might want to add some color. Maybe you want a subtle blue tint to compliment the colors in your furniture, or you might want a bold and bright red to bring lots of energy in the room. Changing wall color is an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room. It's also easy to change back.

Bold colors require extra effort to restore the original white walls. Even if your manager typically slaps on a new coat of paint when an apartment is vacated, it won't be enough. A primer coat, maybe more than one, is required to keep the old color from showing through. Those primer coats and maybe even the new white paint will be your responsibility before moving out.

Mount New Window Shades
You apartment also has white vertical blinds, right? Boring, boring, boring! There are so many more exciting window shades and blinds available to add to your apartment's decor and these are also great projects for an apartment.

Your manager may be a bit more reluctant since mounting window shades means drilling holes in the wall. The treatments have to present a neutral, white back to the shades so all the apartments look the same from the outside.

Again, you are responsible for restoring the original window treatment. When you take the old blinds down, be sure to store them carefully so you can remount them when you leave. Any holes you had to drill must be filled and painted over.

There are dozens more projects from bathroom fixtures to cabinet hardware than can make your apartment feel like a home rather than a motel room.
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