5 Genius Temporary Renovations For Renters

Interior designer and small-space expert Kyle Schuneman shares his most clever "rentovating" solutions.

During our recent interview with interior designer and small-space expert Kyle Schuneman for our tour of his seriously stylish West Hollywood, LA apartment, the designer mentioned a word he'd coined that blew our mind: rentovating. The term refers to his solutions for "the troubles of temporary living." Genius. Naturally, we had to learn more about these clever tricks, so we invited Schuneman to share his guide to rentovating with you. Read below for a handful of ideas that can completely transform your rental. And, if you're intrigued by his DIYs, pick up a copy of his book, The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces, for the full tutorials. _main A lot of times apartment dwellers feel trapped when decorating their homes; landlord restrictions and the idea that you won't live there forever stops people in their tracks. My philosophy has always been to make any space you live in your home. These are the surroundings you wake up to and make memories in, so why shouldn't it reflect your unique perspective? There are so many products out there these days like temporary wallpaper and tile decals that can help you customize your apartment without losing your security deposit. I call it "rentovating," and it means creating non-permanent design solutions that make your rental fit your way of life. Here are five rentovations to try that I've done in the past on apartments all over the US. _1
Temporary Wallpaper This San Francisco apartment had a beautiful old fireplace. Granted, it didn't work, and it was a bit dingy, but by painting it a crisp white and adding a geometric temporary wallpaper, it made the whole vignette pop. I filled it with a bunch of thrift store books, and it became the focal point of the room instead of an obstacle to try and design around.
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DIY Chandelier Project A lot of times in apartments or lofts, we just have a big open space, and we need to define the areas to make it work for us. Lighting is such an integral part of design, and it can be a great way to define a dining room. In this Nashville loft, I took an old box spring, garden string lights, and an extension cord and created a huge chandelier hung just by chain from the ceiling. I didn't have to do any extra electrical work to get my custom light, and it also acts as a conversation piece.
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3 I can't stress this enough, but I think that layered window treatments take a room to the next level. Having Roman shades and curtains on a window make a whole room feel rich. I know renters are hesitant to get custom shades made, but I've used old plastic blinds and dollar-a-yard fabric to create these Roman shades and found the curtains in a clearance section. I then built the design of this room around them.
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1 I love the look of a fully upholstered headboard wall or wallpapered headboard wall in a high-end hotel but know I can't do that in a rental. The next best thing to get the look is to paint a pattern.  This Cleveland bedroom only took two gallons of paint, as my third color of white was already on the wall. By painting this classic argyle pattern, it immediately gave the room interest and a visual anchor to the mostly plain furniture pieces.
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Tile Decals Kitchen and baths are always the hardest thing for renters because we really are stuck with what we get. But I love using these tile decals in an all white bathroom like I did in this ho-hum shower in Seattle to give it a personalized touch. Plus, it's great for covering up an old cracked tile your landlord doesn't seem to want to fix.
_sig Photographs: Joe Schmelzer
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