Please welcome Bethany, the author of today’s post! Bethany and I “met” online a few months ago and instantly hit it off. We have a lot in common, and I love her blog. Bethany’s writing is always smart, sometimes hilarious, and tells a good story. I haven’t read her whole archives yet, (as I often like to do when I discover a new favourite blog), but I’m looking forward to doing so, with a good cup of coffee.
I know you’ll love her post today about transforming any apartment, rental, or temporary living space to feel like a home with personality and style!
Guest post by Bethany of Dandelion Pie
I felt hopeless when we moved into our first apartment as newlyweds.
I had always lived with family or on campus, but then I got married, went on my honeymoon, and then moved into an apartment with my new hubby. Our new apartment had a lot of positive attributes: it was newly renovated, we had a great landlord, and it was fairly inexpensive.
However, my heart sunk because the apartment was beige from the floor to the ceiling. The carpet was beige. The walls were beige. Even the shower curtain was beige. The kitchen was tiny, and there were only two small windows in the entire apartment. I would watch Fixer Upper and long for the wide open spaces, windows, and beautifully-painted walls in the show. Then I would turn it off, and stare, lackadaisically, at my own dark, beige abode.
Then I bought The Table That Changed Everything. About a month into our marriage we purchased a large, stainless steel table with a shelf underneath it for our kitchen island. My hubby set it up one warm, autumn afternoon and the kitchen was transformed. Suddenly, the kitchen seem larger, more expansive, and for the first time I had ample storage and counter space. That’s when it clicked for me: I had the power, the creativity, and the time to create a space I loved. I didn’t need to wait for new circumstances to create the home of my dreams. I could start that very day.
Here are my tips for breathing life, comfort, and joy into even the most cramped, uninspiring, and beige-y apartments.
Ditch every single thing in your apartment that looks like a rental.
One of the first things I did, was to pack away everything that made our apartment feel like a rental. I took down the beige shower curtain and replaced it with a new white, Hawaiian curtain (a nod to my hubby’s heritage). I watched a YouTube video on how to remove blinds, and replaced them with curtains. I even took off a few kitchen cabinet doors so I could have exposed shelving. You, too, can personalize your space! Just be careful to store away everything so you can reinstall it all before you move out, and not lose your deposit.
Buy a houseplant or four!
My apartment has two small windows so I thought I would be doomed to no plants, but I had a couple of houseplants to begin with, and they have thrived clustered around my windows. I have a peace lily, fiddle leaf fig tree, money tree, and an orchid. The first three are incredibly easy to grow, and if you need tips for orchid care read my post here. Plants not only improve air quality (which many apartments desperately need), but also make the space feel more alive in general.
Notice items that make you happy, and decorate with them!
We all have special things that remind us of home. Start paying attention to what those are for you! I love little figurines, and legos. I don’t know why, but placing them around my home makes me feel like there are a few Borrowers afoot in my house. So I have placed just a few around my apartment. Maybe you love old books or penguins or branches. Start thinking of tasteful ways to incorporate items that bring you joy into your decor! Start decorating with things that mean a lot to you personally or remind you of home.
Put holes in the wall with reckless abandon.
One of the simplest ways to decorate your space is by hanging pictures on the wall. Frames tend to be expensive new, but thrift stores are usually flooded with unused, beautiful frames. I always grab these babies up, and I have had so much fun printing pics of our wedding, the trail my hubby proposed on, and even mementos of trips we have taken. I used to be so afraid to put holes in the wall, because I was used to living in a dorm where a mark on the wall would equal losing my deposit. But gone are the days when I had to rely on command strips! Most landlords allow nails, so enjoy that liberty to the fullest!
Be grateful for the space you have.
I was visiting a friend the other day, and feeling envious that she had so many beautiful windows (yes, I have natural light envy) in her apartment, as we were drinking our tea, she admitted that someday she wants to live in a place where she has a window over her sink. I realized that I had always taken for granted the fact that one of my two windows is above my sink, and it looks over my little garden in the backyard. No matter how less-than-ideal your living space is, I promise you that there will be aspects of it that you will miss in the future (even if it is just the lower price point). Start looking for these blessings in your rental, and celebrate them! I certainly do not want to live in my little loft apartment forever, and I sigh gustily when I drive by expansive houses, but I cannot deny the fact that there are aspects of my home I love.
No, my rental is not perfect, but by working at it I can honestly say that it is a home of which I am proud: beige walls, lack of light, and legos included.
I’m Bethany, blogger at Dandelion Pie–a lifestyle blog focused on marriage, natural living, budgeting, and faith. I fell in love with my Hawaiian hubby, Saia, in a collegiate history classroom, and we have been dating ever since. I spend my days working as a CA at a local chiropractor’s office, drinking gallons (literally) of cold brew coffee, and connecting with women through blogging. My heart behind my blog is to connect with other women around the world, and encourage each other to live lives centered around natural living. Come on over and join in on the conversation!