An Interior Designer's Guide to Making Your Rental Feel Like A Forever Home
With real estate prices steadily rising, renting a home as opposed to buying one is more common than ever. The likelihood of being able to purchase property is just out of reach for many families, but just because you don't own the house you live in doesn't mean that space can't feel like your very own. Interiors expert and Principal Designer of her namesake Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors agrees.
In fact, Davies-Gaetano's got quite a bit of experience on the matter. While her family's ocean-front California dream home is being built, she and her family are currently renting a place in Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach. And if there's anyone who knows how to make even a temporary space feel like a forever home, it's a decorating veteran. Check out some of the key tips she's incorporated into making her own rental feel warm and fuzzy—and how you can, too!
Fashion a Makeshift Dressing Room
Our current rental home does not have adequate closet space, especially for my shoes. I dream of my future closet, but in the meantime, I took over the adjoining guest room to our master and have transformed it into my closet/dressing room. To maximize my shoe storage, I bought white shelving at Ikea to house my shoes.
Designate Fun Play Areas for the Kids
Being a mom and running my own company can be stressful and rewarding. I often work from home with my son by my side. I set up a corner of the study with a toddler table, chairs, books and toys. Since storage is limited in rentals, I use baskets for my son’s toys and books.
Get Creative With Small Guest Bedrooms
Re-Think Your Methods of Displaying Your Favorite Art
Coming from a family of artists, I have more art than I know what to do with! Rental living can sometimes mean a lack of proper wall space—or perhaps you don’t want damage walls with multiple photos. One tip is to lean a painting on top of a chest or bookcase. I used this abstract painting on top of an antique chest to create a layered vignette within our home. The scale of the painting would have felt off balance had I hung it on the wall, so by leaning it on the chest, the balance of scale was more in keeping with the overall room.
Create a Gallery Wall
Our rental home is older and some of the ceiling heights in the home are very low (like in our study, for example). To maximize the space and make it feel as large as possible, I played off the lower ceilings by making a gallery wall of our family’s artwork. Personalizing a home is so important, even if the home is just temporary. To create a gallery wall, buy ready-made frames and either use photographs or personal art to tell a story that represents your own personal lifestyle and history.
Use Color to Bring Your Space to Life
Color in a rental is so important. If your landlord allows, I highly recommend paint to refresh the space and make it feel like your own. The fireplace in our family room was typical red brick and the walls were mustard yellow when we moved in. The first thing I did was paint the walls and the brick white to make the space feel fresh and bright. I am a big believer in the power of white paint!