My Rental Refresh Project

outsideapt

I recently helped some friends look for an apartment in the area where my boyfriend and I live and I had the opportunity to look at the rental market in our area. My boyfriend and I have been discussing the possibility of moving to a new apartment when our lease is up in the summer, my argument for it was to find a more updated apartment since ours is very 90’s builders grade. However after helping my friends look at 1 bedroom apartments which were renting for the same price or sometimes even more than what we are paying for our 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment, we decided that we were not moving any time soon. How can our apartment be so much less expensive? Well, I will explain, try to keep up it’s a confusing story. The apartment itself has been continually occupied for about 4 years, my boyfriend moved in as a roommate to the previous renter (who lived here with his ex-girlfriend before) than that guy moved out and my boyfriend took over the lease and rented out the 2nd bedroom to our current roommate and I moved in about 8 months after that, due to this, the lease has only ever been renewed instead of signing a new one at a much high rate. Another factor of our low rent is that our apartment has not been renovated, the complex has been renovating apartments as they are vacated and renting them at a much higher rate than before.  These two factors are the reason our rent has only increase nominally over the past few years and we are paying a very good rate for our apartment in our area. This hunt opened my eyes to what we currently have and how much money we would be saving has caused me to look at our apartment with new eyes and make some long term plans to refresh our apartment so it will feel like new again.

I plan to share my ongoing progress with these projects with you all in hopes that I can inspire others to rejuvenate their spaces as well. Some of the things I want to accomplish are painting the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms, currently they are all painted a boring beige color, clean our carpets again, work on the patio area so it is more functional and maybe do some small projects in the kitchen and living room.

I will be posting my projects to the blog as well as starting a page, which you can access from the top of the blog, to track our rental refresh project.

Best Wishes,

♥Leia

Better Homes and Gardens Bathroom Makeover for Under $75

bathroommakeover

Accessories are a great way to bring a fresh look to an outdated bathroom, especially in a rental where you do not have the luxury of changing the fixtures, lighting, cabinets or paint. Changing up the colors and patterns alone can bring a new perspective to your boring builder grade rental bathroom.While buying new everything for your bathroom can get expensive, if you shop carefully you can spruce up your bathroom for around $75 or less! Just adding new towels, rugs, and a soap dish or dispenser can completely update the overall look of the bathroom.

BathroomBefore

For my update, since I already had the furniture in the bathroom all I had to do was decide on a color scheme that worked with what I already had. Which is dark, and I mean DARK walnut furniture, not my first choice compared to my previous apartment (I had white furniture), but hey it was free and better quality than mine. My previous bathroom (in my old apartment) was designed with stripes in cool, beachy greens and blues. I grew up at the beach and those colors and my seashell watercolor (which makes an appearance in the updated bathroom) really evoked the calm of the ocean for me. I knew I wanted to keep the blues or greens and my watercolor, but with all of the furniture being a very dark walnut and I needed a way to tie it together. The bedroom decor is very girly so I did not want to have an overly feminine feel to the bathroom.

BathroomAfter

See the seashell watercolor hiding on top of the wall cabinet?

I shopped around for colors and styles I liked and found these towels and floor rugs in this great trellis pattern from Better Homes and Gardens at my local Walmart for a great price! I love the pattern, its sophisticated but not girly and the dark brown reflects the dark furniture. Plus they are SUPER fluffy and soft and the pattern is woven in so the colors are reversed on the other side. I bought two different styles of rugs, one patterned and one in the pretty teal color, to keep the space more interesting and less repetitive, patterns can be overwhelming sometimes. Unfortunately this pattern is not available online anymore, but I do still see them in the store if you are interested in buying them. I had the wire basket which holds lotions and sprays on the counter. I used jars from the dollar store for cotton balls and Q-tips in the wall shelf. I also bought a oil rubbed bronze toilet paper holder  with a plastic sleeve to protect the paper from moisture (I love this feature!) from Ross to complete the look.

BathroomDecor

The soap dispenser and tumbler are from Target’s Threshold Antique Bath collection in blue. I could have spent a few dollars less on these if I bought BHG brand accessories from Walmart, but I absolutely love the farm styling of the pump so I splurged on it. I also found some very cheap art at a thrift store to keep my beachy vibe going.

HisHersHooks

I have had these his/hers hooks since I moved in months ago but I didn’t know where to hang them until I made-over the bathroom, now they hang on either side of the wall cabinet and we each have our own towel hook since there is no towel bar in the bathroom.

RainfallShowerhead

One of the biggest upgrades we did to the bathroom when I moved in was install a new Waterpik rainfall shower head. I love strong water pressure and lots of spray when I take a shower and my boyfriend loves showers even more than I do. Replacing your existing shower head is a great way to update a rental since it is so easy to do, just save the old one for when you move out. I will follow up with a tutorial for installing one yourself in the future. I don’t really consider this part of the makeover since it was one of the first things I did when I moved in, but I love our shower 100 times more now that we did this.

BathbeforeafterBefore and After 

Overall I like the combination of dark brown and light blue together with the dark walnut and oil rubbed bronze, the dark browns tie in with the wood, the light blue adds a pop of color and the pattern adds interest to an otherwise boring bathroom. I hope this inspires you to see what a few new colors and patterns can do to your bathroom!

So here is the cost breakdown if y’all are interested. I added links to the Target products.

Better Home and Gardens Bath towels: $10

Better Home and Gardens Hand towels: $15

Better Home and Gardens Rugs: $22

Threshold Antique Oil Rubbed Bronze Soap Dispenser: $12

Threshold Antique Tumbler: $9

Oil Rubbed Bronze Toilet Paper Holder $7

Total: $75 (without shower head)

Best Wishes,

♥ Leia

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Home Stories A to Z

 TDC Before and After

The Idea Room

Rental Reno: Store It!

storagecollage

This is the first post in an ongoing series called “Rental Reno” which will showcase different “renovations” which you can do in an apartment. 

As a renter I struggle with trying to find space for all of my stuff, not to mention my boyfriend’s and roommate’s things as well. I can well remember my first weeks in this apartment when I was trying to unpack my things, which I had moved from a 1br/1ba into a 2br/2ba apartment that I share with two boys (men). I had boxes everywhere, even in the bathtub! After moving some of the duplicate things into storage, I was able to really evaluate what there was in the apartment and what storage needs I had.

If you are struggling with an over abundance of stuff, I recommend “culling” your collection. Systematically evaluate what you have, consider how often you use it, its location, and its function. I judge things by the “one year rule”, if it hasn’t been used in a year its time to rehome it. Another good evaluation is dust, if something has collected noticeable dust you probably haven’t used it recently. When an item is ready to be rehomed, donate it your local Goodwill or thrift store, you can even get a tax deduction!

Once you have culled you collection of junk stuff, you are ready to start organizing your storage solutions. My favorite things to use for storage are baskets, glass jars, and containers. After moving into a home with two tech focused men, who watch sports games, and play video and online games constantly, I needed to store all the accessories which go along with having an Xbox,Wii, PS3 and PS4 in the apartment. I picked up these super cute shabby chic chicken wire baskets which are lined with polka dot fabric trimmed with lace to store video games, controllers, wires and other accessories under the tables on either side of our living room TV.

vgstorage

I got a few smaller sizes of those polka dot chicken wire baskets and I use one for dog toys and one for leashes.

leashstorage

I use hermetic glass storage jars in the kitchen, which seal out moisture and air, for bulk items like flour, sugar, tea and coffee. You can use chalkboard stickers to label them like I have. I use other glass jars to store things like Q-tips, cotton balls, change or whatever small things I need stored. It looks great and keeps it organized.

glasskitchenstorage

We also have tons of kitchen utensils since I love to cook. I used these two kitchen utensil holders to separate our non-stick and metal utensils. A knife block keeps knives handy and contained, while large stacking cups are great for soup or tea!

kitchenutensils

Consider buying multi-function items, especially if you live in a small space. I have had this mirror with galvanized steel drawers forever, I use the drawers to store communal keys for our apartment.

mirrorstorage

I use this cute wire basket in the bathroom to store lotions and sprays, it ever looks good with my oil rubbed bronze soap dispenser.

bathroomstorage

Storage doesn’t have to be cute to be functional! I love cabinet shelves, which I use to store my china and wire under sink baskets to store hair dryers and straighteners in the bathroom.

hiddenstorage

Those are some of the ways I have dealt with the clutter in my home. How are some ways you all are managing your storage solutions, leave your answers in the comments!

Best Wishes,

♥ Leia

Welcome to Rent to Love

Hello and Welcome to my blog, I would like to welcome everyone to the inaugural post of Rent to Love!

My name is Leia and I work as an event manager, but don’t let that fool you, I love LOVE love to decorate my home (apartment) with inexpensive decor and DIY projects. As both a young person and someone who lives in a rental unit, I know what a struggle it can be to design and decorate a rented space (with no money) since you are limited by what is already there. I have lived in many types of rentals during my life, from apartments to tiny studios and college dorms and I have made the most out of the constrictions of rental living and a small budget. I believe that your living space should be a home not just a temporary place to live, this will make living more comfortable, efficient and enjoyable.

I have been inspired by many decor, DIY, crafts, and fashion blogs in my life and I finally decided to share some of my own ideas, inspirations and projects, I hope that this blog may be an inspiration for others as well.

Best Wishes,

♥ Leia