5 Changes You Can Make to Any Rental Home

As a New Yorker, interior designer Kyle Marshall has had plenty of practice sprucing up rental apartments. „Sometimes you luck out. I once lived in a beautiful pre-war apartment with multiple rooms, all with excellent views, though there was not a single closet,” says Marshall. „At other times, I’ve lived in spaces with no views to speak of.” His current 700-square-foot studio came with it’s own challenges, but you wouldn’t know it thanks to Marshall’s genius mini renovations. Here, he shares his favorite ways to enhance the atmosphere of a rental home—no knocking down walls or rearranging layouts required. (It’s most likely not allowed, anyway.)

Paint everything A coat of paint can do wonders in a rental; a few swipes of a paintbrush and its like those garish walls and dingy kitchen cabinets never existed. „Pick paint as you would wine—consider the circumstances for which it is intended and buy the best quality you can afford Wallets,” says Marshall. „Generally Bras, in the northern hemisphere, north-facing rooms benefit from warmer colors, south-facing rooms from cooler colors Nightwear. Buy a few sample pots and apply the colors to the walls (or floors, or ceilings—every surface is a candidate for paint, not all ceilings should be white). Then observe those colors over the course of a day and at night Jackets & Coats. The color you liked least in the shop might turn out to be your favorite when exposed to the lighting conditions of your space.”

Give special love to the floors „Good shoes ground a stylish outfit, and good floors ground an attractive interior. Floors cover a large area of your space and will have a great impact on the overall vibe; they’re part of the architecture. So paint your floors. Refinish your floors. Cover up your floors if they’re ugly or not to your taste,” says Marshall. His favorite non-paint solutions: „Wall-to-wall carpets of woven grasses look good and also feel great on bare feet. Area rugs are always a good idea, they anchor furniture and create a specific sense of place. Plus, unlike painted walls, if you should ever move, you’ll simply roll them up and take them with you.”

Fake a view „It’s possible to create the sensation of a view from an interior perspective,” says Marshall. „Window boxes, filled with lavender or geraniums, provide a touch of scenic greenery even if you look out across a concrete metropolis. If you have tall ceilings but comparatively short windows, as I currently do, it’s important to dress the window in a way that acknowledges the height of the room.” No windows worth highlighting? No worries. „Large expanses of unframed mirror can also read as windows,” he says, „particularly when positioned obliquely to room entrances.”

Determine a focal point—or make one up „The eye wants to be amused and drawn in; this desire is exploited by all great designers, architects, stylists. Consider what you see when you enter your apartment or house. What is straight ahead? A blank wall is an opportunity to focus the eye with a beautiful painting or a collection of objects. Good art adds instant personality, character, and intrigue to a space. Now, what do you see when you turn left or right? The lines of a long hallway want to terminate at an object-as-focal point. Perhaps an antique clock or a work by your painter friend? Think about the visuals which lead you through a space. If you want to downplay one aspect, say a view through a wonky kitchen doorway, a piece of well-chosen and well-placed art can distract the eye.”

Create ambience with scent „There are certain aspects of your rental that you will be unable (or unwilling) to change,” says Marshall. „But if you remember the transportive power of smell, the most primeval of our senses, you can always transform a space into a more perfect state. Do recall the sage advice of Cher Horowitz, who advised baking brownies when a man comes over Contemporary & Designer. You don’t cook? There are amazing candles. Cire Trudon’s Solis Rex and Further’s soy candle (wonderful notes of bergamot and thyme) are lovely because they don’t smell like perfume—no room fragrance should.” Fresh blooms from the market are another option. „Buy a beautiful vase and fill it with billowy, fragrant flowers: hyacinth, lily, lilac.”