September 07, 2022 – 8:17 AM
Even though she was moving into a rental apartment, Alexa d’Argence was eager to put her personal stamp on it.
“Loving my space is more important to me than my security deposit. So I just went for it with paint, shelves, window treatments and upgrading the medicine cabinet,” says d’Argence, who as a senior designer at BAR Architects in San Francisco knows something about creating a stylish space.
“My landlord actually appreciated the improvements. I’d say, consider changes that add value, and that wouldn’t be removed if you moved out,” she says.
Non-designers might not feel as comfortable doing that, since most rental agreements stipulate that you can’t permanently change anything. Another approach: Strike up a conversation with your landlord to talk about potential changes, and perhaps even offer to foot the bill.
Or, just make some temporary tweaks, little personal touches that can turn bland and basic into hip and homey with just a trip to the hardware store.
“Personalizing a rental is really easy these days; there are so many great accents that are designed to be temporary,” says Jessica Dodell-Feder, HGTV Magazine’s executive editor.
Jessica Shaw, interior design director of New York’s The Turett Collaborative, is a fan of removable wallpaper. “I’ve used it in my own home. Etsy, where I found mine, has prints, murals and custom options. When your lease is up, you can gently remove it with no residue,” she says.
And don’t forget the ceiling. On one project, she created a wow factor by putting a