Turn-Key Stay. Tips for Turning Your Rental Into Home-Sweet-Home.

Metropolitan life poses an interesting dynamic. One can maintain a great sense of community in the vibrant character and activity afforded right outside the door, and yet still feel a bit unsettled and transitory by occupying a rental that's not quite what you'd imagined home-sweet-home to be with the white picket fence and potted geraniums at the doorstep.

Are you feeling like you could get more out of your life? Have you been overheard saying: "I'm only going to be here two years. I'll just wait until I buy a home before I decorate."?

Whether you realize it or not, you are making choices about many aspects of your life by the way you exist in your home. Space has a documented effect on your mood and perception.

One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity, elevate your mood, get more creative, feel organized and prepared is to design your home with intention, for functionality and aesthetics, and treat your leased home as though it's yours. For the long haul... Because who knows what the future holds, and who wants to look back on 5, 10 or 15 years and realize they were living their life on someone else's stage? Your home is the backdrop for your happy memories. It only takes a bit of inspiration to get your heart-light shining bright in your leased space.

Here are some recommendations to get the most out of your rental:

  • Create a Design Concept for your space as a whole -- as a consequence of the smaller footprint of many rentals, there is often a lot of play between the rooms and areas. It's good practice to come up with an overall concept and carry that through, from upholstery, case goods, window coverings, floor coverings, and even your tableware, bath accessories, and bedding.

  • Invest in classically proportioned, quality upholstered pieces and case goods that are on point with your style. If you stick with a scale that isn't oversized, you are likely to enjoy it for many seasons of your life, no matter where you move.

  • Add color to the walls -- many landlords will allow you to paint. Sometimes even the cabinetry if it's old or worn. Submit a few colors to the landlord to get approval. Frequently they will even do the painting for you before you move in. Chances are, your landlord will appreciate you taking pride of ownership in your rental home.

  • Create a feature wall -- Removable wallpaper and murals are a fantastic option for a feature wall and can make a strong statement in your design concept. There are a plethora to choose from these days, many at real reasonable prices. I've recently been turned on to trompe l'oeil wainscoting and libraries.

  • Change the lighting - lighting is the jewelry of the home and it speaks to your personal style, so changing it out can have a tremendous effect on your senses as well as your sense of place. You can easily swap it out and take it with you when you leave!

  • Invest in art you love. This is a very effective way to personalize your home. I prefer a mixture of one or two larger statement pieces to drive the design concept and smaller, more personalized pieces as supplement. And sometimes a gallery wall of smaller or mixed sized pieces is perfect for marrying two spaces or setting the tone from the entrance hallway.

  • Get a new shower head. Rain heads can be purchased and replaced in a jiffy. They can be inexpensive and elevate your bath's design.

  • Add plants in beautiful planters- there are many plants that thrive in the shade. Studies prove plants improve concentration. And having the biodiversity of living organisms interacting with you in your home has a calming effect on the mind and the health benefit of increasing air quality.

  • Window treatments can really make a strong statement in a rental. With windows and ceiling heights usually constructed within typical width and height and ranges, it's possible for window treatments to be retrofitted to the next space. I've done this several times with much success. In fact I've moved a set of the same cornices through 4 of my own homes.

  • Replace both the kitchen and bath sink faucet -- This is an inexpensive and cost-effective way to elevate the style in your home.

  • Cover some walls or even a ceiling in fabric- stunning walls in saturated colors can be fastened in silk dupioni using tack spray. This makes an opulent impression. On your leaving, you can pull the fabric right off.

  • Install LED strip lights under the kitchen cabinets- these dimmable tape lights come in strips that can be cut to the correct sizing for your cabinets. This makes for a nice ambient lighting in the kitchen and can be removed at the end of your lease. Lighting has a profound impact on our mood and it 's great task lighting.

  • Invest in rugs and carpets to cover less than beautiful flooring -- Hand woven carpets and natural fibers such as sisal or jute on the floor bring an additional textured dimension to the room. I often layer hand-woven wool, oriental and, Islamic carpets over top larger, natural fiber rugs.

Are you considering a redesign of your current apartment or moving to a new space that you'd like designed? Please contact Casey & Company if you have any questions about your upcoming design project.