Guest Post by Anna Flowers: Rejuvenating a Rental

I’m excited to announce Anna B. Flowers as today’s guest blogger! She’s one of my best childhood friends and  I’ve always appreciated her style, especially when it comes to decor. Each place she inhabits is warm, super inviting, a little bit eclectic, and filled with the best book collection! Anna currently lives in Atlanta with her husband and two cats and is here to share her tips for transforming any rental apartment.

Many design bloggers will tell you never to repaint/refinish/restore a rental. “Why bother,” the logic goes, “when you will only be there temporarily?” I used to think that way too. Going to the trouble of repainting a rental apartment felt like getting a fancy manicure and then immediately going rock climbing, all that work…wasted.

That was until I woke up to some post-financial-crisis truth: I will likely be renting for years to come. Must I thus resign myself to suffer through years – if not decades – of sloppy beige walls until some moment when my husband and I felt our careers were rooted enough to pull the trigger on a financing scheme that would lock us into one place for at least a decade? “No way!” I thought, “I spend way too much time on Pinterest to postpone home decorating that long.”

So I picked up my paintbrush and got to work! Here are a few tips I learned along the way:

  1. Take Your Time. Put Quality First. 
    My repainting project became a bit of a restoration project when I decided to strip all the 1920s antique hardware that was hidden under layers of paint in the apartment. And because it’s a 1920s apartment, there was a ton of hardware. I boiled all the paint off on my stove, which was a real nice and chemical free approach I learned from This Old House. The work was tedious as it was rewarding, so a slow but consistent room by room pace helped me push onward. It added a huge amount of charm to the place and showed off the character – which for Atlanta real estate is rare!
  2. But when the going gets tough remember: it’s only a rental!
    Could anything be better than to give yourself an excuse not to be perfect? For Type-A folks like myself, the “it’s only a rental” card is a treasure. I’m happy to say that I pulled it in the heat of battle with my bathroom door hinges. I was sweating there with my screwdriver and it just seemed to me that every single screw was completely stripped and it would take me all day just to take the door down. When I realized this, I took a deep breath and thought to myself, “Screw it. (No pun intended.) It’s just a rental.” That was a beautiful moment. Renters – relish it!
  3. Used Furniture is your Friend.
    I’m hardly the first to say it, but I’d be remiss without mentioning just how much of my home comes courtesy Craigslist. This is a treasure trove not just for the renting gal, but for home-dwellers everywhere! In addition to Craigslist, I also love furniture consignment. The quality level tends to be a bit higher at a consignment store than taking your chances with Craigslist so when you’re investing in big pieces I recommend going the consignment route. I bought my new living room couch and two side chairs for a song from Consignment Furniture Depot in Atlanta. It’s a goldmine!

Finally, just have some fun. The nice thing about redecorating a rental is that you can take some design risk (as long as you check with your Landlord first!) and know that if it comes out terrible, you will always move or change it – whichever comes first. So get out there and make your home your own!

OK, now the fun part! Let’s take a quick tour of Anna’s apartment and see some of the before and afters.

both roomsDining area beforedining area afterLiving room beforeliving area afterwork arearestoring hardwareHave you ever tackled a large renovation project while living in a rental?


2 thoughts on “Guest Post by Anna Flowers: Rejuvenating a Rental

  1. One of the hardest lessons to learn is sizing your furniture to the size of the room. Mistakes can be made when you buy furniture that looks great on a showroom floor but simply doesn’t fit in your smaller, circa 1828 Cape. Lessons learned the hard way….!

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