How To Be Creative With Restrictions
We are in the middle of a series about rentals. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed it. In Part 2 we talked about creating a space that reflects who you are. Today, I want to extend that conversation because part of creating a space in a rental (or a home with a tight budget) that reflects you means you must be creative. Most rental spaces come with restrictions—wall colors you don’t like, room arrangements, strange kitchen layout, outdated bathrooms. You get the picture. The first thing I suggest doing, is contact your landlord or property management person and ask if you can change anything. You never know unless you ask. This goes back to Part 1 in that we need to change our perspective towards the temporary. We need to stop viewing that space as temporary and dwell where we are. If you get the go-ahead from the landlord, go nuts. In our current rental space, we got permission to paint (everything is now Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter). That alone made a huge difference in our space. You just have to remember that if you paint something bold, they may ask you to repaint before you move out. I would love to paint the ceiling in our girls room a pale pink and the French doors in the kitchen a light blue. I need to take my own advice and ASK permission! Next we replaced outdated fans with new light fixtures (which we will take with us when we move). You can see those in Part 2. Besides paint, repositional wallpaper is a great option for temporary spaces. I’ve seen some removable wallpaper products online and in stores. Check out these from Target. We have thought about hanging this in our hallway bathroom. Personally, I'd like to use the mint color diamond pattern in there. It’s just another way to be creative with restrictions.
Part of getting creative is working with what is naturally good or pleasing or beautiful in your space. You want to accentuate that. Our home has some great bones. Both the kitchen and the master bedroom have French doors that lead out onto the deck. White curtains hang effortlessly to frame the French doors making it feel like a retreat. The living room has built-ins that surround the fireplace. We styled the built-ins and the paint color makes the crisp white trim pop. The master bathroom has a glass surround shower and clawfoot tub. We accentuated these things. We painted the bathroom a light creamy gray over the pink that was working against it. Find ways to show off what is intrinsic to the home.
Something else I’ve learned about dwelling where you are and creating a space with restrictions is to not be afraid. When we finally finished renovating our dream home, it wasn’t but a few months before my husband broke the news that we needed to sell the house and move to Atlanta. My heart sunk the bottom of the ocean. All of the sudden what was supposed to be my forever, permanent home felt very temporary. I was afraid to do anything in the space especially poke holes in my brand new walls. It took months before I allowed myself to dwell in our dream home even though I knew it was going to be temporary. To really be present in your current space, don’t be afraid to put holes in the walls. Again, you may live somewhere that hanging pictures or curtains are now allowed. If so, then work with what you’ve got by playing up accessories in your space or use Command strips. But if you don’t have the hole-restriction, then for heaven sakes, hang your pictures and curtains. We hung white curtains in our rental home it made the space look so fresh and clean. We immediately hung pictures. At the end of the day, you may need to fill in those holes before you move, but your space will have reflected you much more while you were there.
And lastly, get creative by being flexible. Often in rental spaces, you didn’t get to pick exactly how you wanted the layout of the house. We moved from a 5 bedroom (plus bonus room) home to a 3 bedroom home. Our first inclination was to put our girls in the back bedroom leaving the other bedroom as an office. We really felt like in a space this small, that it was more important to have a third living option rather than a rarely used guest bedroom. This third space had a sofa in it for any overnight guests. We also have a queen size blow up mattress if needed. You know, it’s not ideal. We would love to have a space dedicated to guests, but in this small rental, it just wasn’t the best option. We really wanted to USE every inch of our home. The girls had a room, we had a room and also an office. This worked well for the first 6 months. Then, we realized that our girls CANNOT sleep in the same room together with their toys. These people were waking at 5:30 to play, fighting by 6:00 and momma in the fetal position on the closet floor by 6:03. Not a good situation #thestruggleisreal So we opted to be flexible. We didn’t love losing our third space but that seemed like the best option at the time. We sold the girls’ twin beds and bought bunkbeds. Now they sleep in the smallest room with only their clothes. That move allowed us to make the old bedroom into a playroom. Part of me feels funny that they have 2 whole bedrooms dedicated to them in such a small house but it has also worked out nicely. They can create and play without stressing momma (I don’t do well with messes). So what did we do with our desk you ask? We got creative. We sold the desk that Scott made and bought a computer armoire off Craigslist to put in our kitchen. Bye-bye coffee station turned command center. Hello, Ballard Designs work station. It’s not ideal to work in the busiest part of the house, but it’s all about being flexible.
I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to For Rent. There are some great blog posts there along with inspiring pictures to get you motivated. Part of surviving Sarah is learning to be content. I am naturally a discontent person. I like change. I want to push things to be better. I can be frustrating (even to myself) so learning to content with where I dwell is a big deal to me. At the end of the day, I want (you included) to enjoy where you are. Enjoy the process of creating something. Don't rush it, but take your time. I tend to want to get to the end--of races, books, movies or circumstances, but isn't life supposed to be about the journey. Doesn't God tend to reveal Himself in the process? The same is true with your home. Enjoy the process of creating a space that reflects who you are. I want your space to absolutely reflect who you are and what you love. I hope you’ve liked this series. Let me know some of the ways, that you have been creative in your rental space.