Painting a Rental

virtual redesign from The Lettered Cottage

{A glimpse of what could be :: the ultimate motivation}

Remember how last week I was all “Help me with my wall?”.   The real issue is that my furniture just isn’t quite the right fit for this house.  I’m not moving, and I’m not buying new furniture.  However, I’m open to doing just about anything else that doesn’t involve some type of demolition.

Layla from The Lettered Cottage told me that she would take a photo of my room and come up with a solution for my little wall. Well, I’m no dummy, if Layla is willing to do up a photo for me, I’m not going to let her stop at a little wall. So, I asked if she would be willing to show me the room with a white, slipcovered sofa, a round coffee table and some super light but neutral paint color on the walls, and she added in a few other wonderful details.

Doesn’t it feel like a totally different room?  Do you LOVE that chalkboard?!

I hated to admit it, but I really needed a fresh eye {ok, two eyes} to look at my space and give me some ideas.  And I hated even more that Layla told me to change some things that I already knew! Like raising the curtain rods. Duh. See, I know this, but, my red buffalo checks don’t have enough fabric to go higher–our ceilings were two feet lower when I bought this fabric years ago, and I kind of fell into a funk just using what I had and I knew for this fabric I didn’t want to add onto the bottom.  However, seeing the difference raising the rods made was just the kick in the pants I needed to change it up.  They were fine the way they were, but since I only have two windows and I can do up some mistreatments pretty inexpensively and fast, it’s worth it to me to look for something different.  Now I’m excited about that.

She also told me my two lamps didn’t go well because they were too “hot” compared to the rest of the room.  I don’t think she meant it in a Kim Kardashian kind of hot.  But more of a Mercury, planet closet to the sun, kind of hot.  She was exactly right.  Anyone want to buy two lamps? Lucky for me, I happened to send Layla a photo of two lamps I had so she could work those into the design for me.

sherwin williams rice grain

The first thing I did after seeing Layla’s ideas was I painted my walls.  Yep.  I’m a renter and I painted my walls.  The owners have never said NOT to paint the walls, I just never actually asked.  I figured it was worth the risk of painting it nicely in a color just a few shades different {sherwin williams rice grain per Layla’s suggestion}, if they insist we paint it back, I guess we will, but I doubt that will happen.  And, I do actually have a little confidence, I mean, I’m a home stager for goodness sake, and if someone hired me to stage this house for sale, the first thing I would say would be “paint those walls!” and since this house isn’t intended to stay a rental but hopefully be sold after we move out in a few years, I feel like I’m doing them a favor.

rice grain at the Lettered Cottage

The color is SO close to what it was that it was hard for me to even see the difference to paint it.  And anyone who could live here for a few years with the pinkish walls and not have  the pink walls drive them crazy, would probably never notice the fact that they now have a light khaki/greenish/sandy hue.  Not to mention there was just a thin, thin layer of flat paint on these walls.  They were looking dirty and dingy and really needed some attention, my walls were thirsting for paint–like for real, they soaked it up.

If you are a renter and hate your wall color, I’m not telling you to paint no matter what.  You have to know that you could loose your deposit or be forced to repaint it, it’s a risk I was willing to take based on our circumstances.  And if you do paint a rental, it’s best to keep it neutral and light.  Rice grain looks a little green in my family room–I think because of my robin’s egg blue pieces–in the foyer it looks much more sandy.  Oh, yeah, I painted the foyer too…

Back to the rest of the room. My goal is to find the BEST possible way to place this sofa so we can watch tv, see the fireplace and be super comfy, and I also want it not to look awkward.  It’s not going to be magazine perfect, or maybe even ideal but I fully believe there is a way to use what we have and make it work for our family.  I pretty much believe that for any room, in any house, including yours.

So, here’s where we are as of now.  Making due with what I have is the ultimate challenge.  It’s an opportunity to come up with a fun and interesting solution, finding the center in the tension between form and function, while on a tight budget.  But, as a renter, there are times when I get caught up in feeling trapped, like I just have to wait till we buy before I can make a room really work for us.  No more!

aaaaaah, nothing’s centered!

I’ll constantly tweak this space, I’m not the kind of girl who settles down with a design to live happily ever after till it’s old and gray.  I like to flirt with different accessories, rugs, and change it up often.  It’s fun for me, and besides, I have a blog about my home so if it looked the same all the time that could get boring after a year or so.

I cannot even begin to tell you how motivating it was to see Layla’s take on our family room. Also, Layla has a new ebook out, Creating an Inspired Home. You can download a few pages for a sneak peek too.  Look how beautiful, even her ebook is lovely.

I’m reading it now and there is truly something for everyone to take away.  It’s an incredibly applicable book complete with fresh photos, video from Layla and energizing quotes from all kinds of sources. My favorite part was where she talks about balance in a room–from a really logical standpoint.  I must have been sick on the day they taught balance in design school, I found her ideas to be so useful and I’m already implementing it in my own room.

What motivates you to kick it up a notch in your home?


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Comments

  1. LOVE the rental re-do! I am in a rental and you have inspired me! Love your blog :)

  2. Hey that pale greenish blue T.V. cabinet goes with nothing in your whole house. Paint it another color. You need help. Nate Berkus, He is a interior design genius. Look up some of his work.

  3. I’ve been following you for awhile and today I stumbled upon this old post. I have to say THANK YOU! My husband and I are also renters and I have to admit it never occured to me NOT to paint and decorate our rentals. Most of our friends and family think I’m crazy but I enjoy having a beautiful space to (temporarily) call home. I love your decorating style and your tips on decorating rentals. Also I’m having fun following your Decorating with Plants series – I’m working on turning my brown thumb green :) Keep the great posts coming!

Trackbacks

  1. […] family room and it looked minty green, but here in the foyer, I love it.  You can read more about how I decided to paint my rental and see the color in Layla’s house here. And if you are wondering, here’s a post about the art of elimination, and how I actually […]

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