1 – Get the paintbrush out
A bit of a controversial one here but you will feel instantly at home if you have your favourite colours on the walls. So yes, you will need to return your rented apartment in the same conditions as when you first rented it, i.e. you will have to repaint all the walls white. But you know what? Likelihood is that you will have to get some walls repainted anyway after a few years renting. So go for it and enjoy that colour!
2 – Look down
You might be stuck with an unfortunate choice for the flooring in your rental. Nothing you can really do here, you’re not going to start replacing it with wooden floorboards. Just embrace this and cover the floor with traditional rugs, vinyl mats with a vintage tile effect for the kitchen, outdoor synthetic woven rugs, etc. There are tons of different sizes, materials, compositions, colours which means you can pretty much customize your flooring as you see fit. Try www.urbanara.ch or www.etsy.com
3 – Lighting!
Lighting is a top priority and is often neglected in rentals. The trick is to invest in key pieces you can take with you on your next move: gorgeous table lamps and floor lamps which match your interior and add depth and personality to the room. Using different layers of lighting is paramount to compose a soft welcoming ambiance. It also allows you to bypass completely that cold-white ceiling light. Also, think of the lightbulbs you use: go for warm white light bulbs in low voltage or try the new LED filament bulbs for a softer glow.
4 – Layer textiles
Textiles are a favourite of mine: they allow you to design the perfect ambiance and they can be applied in so many different ways. Layering a variety of rugs, throws, cushions, curtains in a rental house really helps cocoon the space and creates an immediate live-in atmosphere which you can complement with your own furniture and accessories. Get inspired with www.romo.com or www.casamance.com
5 – Adapt your furniture to the new layout
I am sure you can re-use 80% of your existing furniture. Now is the time to be creative and mix things around: the trick is to not recreate your old place! Different furniture combinations might work better in this new space. It is still your furniture, your style, but by adapting it to the new layout, it is fresher and more in tune with its new settings. And if need be, buy some new pieces: let’s face it, you are going to live in the space for the next few years, so it needs to work. Check out www.maisonsdumonde.com for cheaper options or for some key investment pieces check out www.roche-bobois.com
6 – Nail the flow
This is hard to do especially if you have still in mind the place furnished with the previous tenant’s furniture in situ. You need to look at the space as a blank canvas and see how best to rationalise the flow and make it work for you and your family. Flow is crucial because it affects the way your family moves and interacts within the space on a daily basis: take the time to think it through!
7 – Finishing touches
Family heirlooms, small collections, books, toys, candles, plants, etc. In other words, add soul and depth to the space. Arrange key pieces that mean something to you, they have emotional value and bring you happiness each time you see them. They should be on display as a reminder for you that no matter wherever you are in the world, you are still who you are, with your inherent personal values, interests, family history and heritage.