How To Be You In Your Rental Space
I started a new series called For Rent to help you find yourself in the home where you are.
It wasn’t long after we decided to move back to Atlanta that we realized we would need to downsize. We were mere children living inside a nearly 5000 sq ft home. However we often looked more like people crashing there than living since most of the rooms were less than occupied.
In preparation for moving and downsizing, we made the decision to hold lightly to our stuff. I went from room to room and listed out all that we had. Then, I asked myself these questions: “Do we need it?” “Do I love it?” I did the same tasks with the contents of our kitchen cabinets, closets and toys. We weeded down probably 60% of our stuff. We either gave it away or sold it or in some cases gave back hand-me-down furniture.
By the time we got to Atlanta (took ages to sell our dream home), we walked into a 1850 sq ft rental house. We practically had just enough stuff. Since I had disposed of most of our furniture, I was left with stuff I liked. So we put it to good use. We made good use of what we had while reflecting who we are.
For instance, what was once a coffee bar in our dream home is command center for kids and life in the rental home.
What was a dresser in our master bedroom now serves as a media piece of furniture in the rental.
Our fancy sofa from the dream home living room made our little rental living room look perfect.
We (I mean the handy husband, Scott) pieced together two salvaged pieces of wood to create a desktop to sit on top of two filing cabinets we already owned.
We made good use of what we had. Once we settled in, I took note of what was missing. Turning to Craigslist, we found an armoire (already painted SCORE) for linen storage in our bedroom. Next, we hit up Ikea for a dining table, dining host and hostess chairs and a dresser. Lastly, we needed rugs since most of our rugs we sold since they were too big. The runners came from Home Decorators and living room rug from Target.
Another way to inject who you are into a rental is to paint and change out light fixtures. We asked permission from the owners before painting. We actually didn't ask permission about the lights however we knew we would put their old fans back in place before we moved out. The kitchen and living space was a dingy yellow color and the master suite was PINK. Actually, MAUVE. I typed all caps because I want to yell it at you! Can you believe that?!? If you know me, you know those don't reflect me. We painted the entire space (minus the turquoise hallway which still needs to be painted.) Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter. This color is so versatile and makes everything look good! Honestly, the light fixtures really sell this place and make it look like us. The living room and dining room chandeliers came from Southeastern Salvage in Chattanooga.
One thing I learned through the whole moving process was to enjoy where you are. Whether you are in your dream home or temporary home, enjoy where you are. Maybe step one is actually changing your mindset or perspective. I wrote a little about that in the previous post. In my rental experience, I am able to enjoy where we are much better when I don't view it as temporary. Do what you can do to enjoy your time there however long or short it is. Make good use of what you have. Be creative. Don't just buy something or accept something because its cheap or on sale or it was a family piece. You will love your space more if you are surrounded by what you like.
When you are renting, it’s tough to want to spend money on stuff and furniture for a home that may be temporary. To make a space reflect who you are, start with what you have and then go from there. Make a list of what you have. Do you need it? Does it serve a purpose? Can it be replaced easily? Do you love it? Keep what you love and move on from what you don’t. In Elsa's famous words, "Let it go." It helped my space be me when I got rid of stuff that stressed me. There were pieces of furniture and artwork that just didn’t fit me. It's okay that you don't like something. We all don't have to like the same thing. Maybe you think I'm crazy for painting over the pink. Maybe pink walls are your jam. We are all unique and have personal style. There was something freeing about narrowing down our belonging to what was us. When I walk into our rental now, I feel the whole thing reflects our style. Any home can feel like home if you inject it with who you are.