Tag Archives: renters

How to Spruce Up Your Neutral Rental

When it comes to home decor, you can’t go wrong with light neutrals. Shades like light grey, beige, or even plain white can all bounce the light around making any space look bigger or brighter- plus the colors work with any style of decor. In my vast rental experience, landlords love painting their properties this way as it appeals to the most amount of tenants, allowing them to get people in and renting their places as quickly as possible. However, while there are great benefits to a neutral, blank canvas- it can feel very impersonal and can take a bit of sprucing up to make it feel like YOUR home.

Here are some of the ways you can liven up a rental without changing those neutral walls and flooring…

Add Wall Decoration

Landlords can be funny about their tenants putting holes in the walls, so it’s worth speaking to them first and getting permission. (If you’re not allowed to make holes, you can always use command hooks.) You could hang anything from a piece of art that you’ve carefully selected to a gallery wall made up of framed prints that you switch up every few months. Either way, wall decor is an easy way to add personality to a room without paint or wallpaper. Round out the look with a statement clock and a mirror, these will also break up the bland walls but they’re of course functional, too!

Choose Statement Furniture

When the rest of your decor is  plain, you have the freedom to be a bit more adventurous with other items and your furniture is one place you can go wild. How about choosing a statement coffee table, or upcycling your tv unit or sideboard for a unique look? A plain sofa might be best as it’s an investment piece that will need to stand the test of time. But pair it with a brightly colored or patterned chair or a funky footstool. Choose one or two key pieces to stand out and go with bold and unusual styles. A fantastic way to show off your personality!

Think About Lighting

Lighting is something that’s often overlooked and left as an afterthought when it comes to decor, but it shouldn’t be. Lighting is such an important element, and it’s another way you can inject a little extra personality into the room. It could be anything from a chandelier to an industrial looking fitting with exposed bulbs. And don’t forget to add lamps! If you purchase smart bulbs, you can adjust the brightness and warmth of any room’s glow right from your phone. Plus, colorful or interesting lamp bases, shades, or both can bring in a little extra something to a room that’s decorated in neutral colors.

Consider Accessories

Your accessories are what will bring the room together, show your style and allow your personality to come through. Add cozy cushions and throws to spruce up sofas, chairs and beds. Patterned or colored rugs to make floors feel more comfortable and to tie rooms together. Let your interests and hobbies shine through! Whether that includes a place to display your geode collection, a Viking axe hung on the wall, or a beautifully aquascaped aquarium! Don’t just choose things for the sake of it, instead have a good think about not only what will work well in the space but what really reflects YOU. Your home should be a curation of the things that you love. Just remember – it’s quality over quantity when it comes to things out on display.

Add Plants

Any home (whether a rental or not) will benefit from the addition of plants! Not only does the color and texture liven up a home but they’ve even been shown to boost mood. You could go with some larger standing varieties in pots, a few mini cactus, smaller plants on tables and desks, and hanging plants. If you’re bad at keeping plants alive, go for low maintenance varieties, or there’s even some rather realistic-looking faux varieties on the market these days. Vases of flowers are another option. You can buy bunches from supermarkets very cheaply, and they will brighten your home for days! Plus, it’s a fun way to treat yourself. 

How have you spruced up a neutral rental without upsetting your landlord?! 

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mid-week round-up

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I hope you all are having a love-filled day! How are you celebrating the holiday? Of course today is the middle of the week so must of us are spending the day working. But do you have anything special planned? Chet and I are having a nice dinner at home and will exchange a few surprises. (Eeee!) But for now, here are some links you may want to peruse…

How much an out gay Olympian could mean to a kid now—or to a 34-year-old who’s been waiting for it his whole life.

Related: Winter Olympics Netflix Marathon

A glimpse at Appalachia’s feminist protest music.

This bedroom wall is so magical!

The easiest crusty bread recipe ever. Yum!

My trusty (and super cheap) mini backpack has about had it. Should I upgrade?

Related: Backpacks make for happy backs. ❤

A new report finds that slavery is mistaught and often sentimentalized—and students are alarmingly misinformed as a result.

Small wonder that films about female friendships have traditionally fared so poorly with critics. Look who’s writing the reviews.

Related: Rules for Female Friendship

More and more Americans experience eviction, and gentrification is partly to blame.

Related: Slum Lords aka The Hell of Renting

A brief history of how women got tricked into shaving.

Should I do 100 squats every day for 30 days?

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Are Busy Phillip’s IG stories making anyone else want to get a rebounder?

Finally, if you have Le Tote, they are having an AMAZING end of season sale. (And if you don’t have Le Tote, you should sign up. <-use that link and get your first tote on me. Seriously!)

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Weekend Uniforms and The Reading Habits Tag.

mid-week round-up

in the water

How are you this week, my friends? This one started out rough so I hope you are taking sweet and gentle care of yourselves. I hope you are finding ways to laugh and hugging your loved ones tight. Love is love is love is love. I long for a time when senseless tragedies didn’t feel so familiar, but encourage us all to keep fighting for a world where they aren’t. In the wake of what was happening in the world, I was super lucky to have my mom visiting over the last few days. We saw a cool art exhibit, checked out a farmers market, took tons of pictures of tropical plants, and lounged at the beach. What a fun few days! She flew back to Lexington yesterday afternoon but I’ll be headed that way too in just two short weeks. Wedding countdown and all that. Eeps! Alright my dears, have a good week, and check out the links below…

The story behind a failed Chinese investment is stranger than it seems.

Paying a premium for fancy bottled water.

20 renter-friendly decor ideas.

How Instagram stars bring home the bacon.

A parody of every TED Talk ever.

The incredible story of a man who survived 20 hours treading water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Mother Teresa: Sinner or Saint?

Made me laugh.

11 ways to eat healthy on a budget.

Do you set skill based or aesthetics based goals?

What a beautiful couple. My heart is broken.

More than blood.

 

We moved to Miami!

hole in the sky

Last Thursday, after an extended delay in Lexington (thanks for letting us crash, Mom!), Chet and I loaded up our two cars and set off South. We planned to take it easy on the long haul drive and split it up over three days, but then… after checking in to our motel at the end of the first leg of our trip, the movers called and said they would need to deliver our belongings early Saturday morning! I’m not a big fan of driving. And with a kitty on board I wasn’t so sure how a 12ish hour drive would go for us. But sometimes you just gotta zone in, cue up 7 million podcasts, and go the distance.

So! After a grueling final few hours through the hectic Florida highway system, we made it to our new home just as it started to rain. If the guards manning the gate at our complex hadn’t been so nice I may have finally lost my marbles at this point. One guard actually hopped in a golf cart to personally escort me to the front of our building! But the stress from the drive quickly melted away once I saw inside our new abode.

new bathroom

Our lovely rental apartment is a 2 bedroom/2 bath in the Kendall area of Miami. To me it’s exactly what one might imagine when asked to describe quintessential Florida housing–all tile floors and huge sliding doors. The creature comforts of a dishwasher and walk-in closet are fantastic but the piece de resistance is a HUGE screened in balcony that runs the length of the unit. Wink is as happy as a clam that he gets to roll around out there in the sunbeams. The complex itself has pools, a clubhouse straight out of the 70’s, and you can’t spit without hitting a palm tree. We are just 4 blocks from a grocery store and other shops and restaurants. Just under 5 miles from the university where Chet is working.

Basically, I’d say we did pretty well for renting the place SIGHT UNSEEN (other than a few cell phone pics). We’re settling in quite easily and I’m having fun slowly setting up, organizing, and decorating all the little nooks and crannies of our new home. WE ARE PUMPED about this place!

Anyways, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated so thanks so much for reading! Do you know Miami (or the Kendall area) at all? I would SO appreciate any recommendations of fun things to do, good restaurants, etc. We’ve had a blast exploring and can’t wait to do more. It’s a whole new world down here!

P.S. I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of this blogging thing now that all the craziness of moving across the country, etc. has calmed down. I think I owe y’all a post about a certain question Chet popped about a month ago! I’d also love to share what podcasts got me through that monster drive, a new book I can’t put down, and much MUCH more! xoxo

Dwelling Envy.

While the snow we got a couple nights ago was beautiful and all, I’m starting to feel the effects of Winter. The early dusk, less than favorable temperatures and general cold, wet, dreariness has resulted in a lot of time cooped up indoors. Namely, in my little one bedroom apartment. More than just a sense of going stir cray, I’m getting sick of looking at it. And binge watching all the HGTV shows the Gods recently decided to pop onto Netflix hasn’t helped either. I just want to completely DEMO, RENO and DECO (that last one’s a bit of a stretch but go with it) the shit out of this place. Here are some apartments I’ve been ogling on one of my fave internet time-sucks, Apartment Therapy. They have me turning green with “dwelling envy” but are fabulous for a bit of design INSPO (ok I’m done, sorry). Take a look!

The Chicago Apartment. 

Chicago Apartment 1

Chicago Apartment 2

Chicago Apartment 3

Chicago Apartment 4

The Vancouver Apartment. 

Vancouver Apartment 1

Vancouver Apartment 2

Vancouver Apartment 3

Vancouver Apartment 4

The Paris Apartment. 

Paris Apartment 1

Paris Apartment 2

Paris Apartment 3

Paris Apartment 4

I love the sophisticated vintage vibe of the first, the ethereal simplicity of the second, and the Scandinavian retro aesthetic of the last. It’s so hard to pick a favorite! Which would YOU choose?

 

Slum Lords aka The Hell of Renting

apartment

Since moving out of my family home in August of 2004 I have lived in 2 dorms, 4 houses, and 5 apartments. I hate the process of moving: packing everything into manageable loads, deep cleaning, schlepping heavy stuff, waiting a month for a security deposit that may or may not ever come and then having a new place to deep clean, set up, find all the “quirks”, and switch over utilities. I hate all of it–and yet I’ve done it, nearly every year, for the past decade.

Why? Because landlords–who rule over the space you are supposed to call “Home Sweet Home” with moneybags clouding their vision–are literally the worst. They do the bare minimum required by law (if that) and don’t care a wit if you want to break your lease, move out after a year, trash the place, live in squalor; because you are just a means to an end. You are just money. And young adults typically get the worst of it. With not a lot of available capital, young people have to settle for less-than-ideal residences with less-than-ideal property companies, landlords or supers. We get taken advantage of by professional slumlords who know every trick in the book.

Renters have to start standing up for themselves so that slumlords start shaping up. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I’ve found myself in so many shitty living conditions or that I have uncharacteristically bad luck (I’ve heard too many concurrent stories from fellow 20-somethings). So, definitely take the time to know your rights.

I was able to get out of my most recent shitty living condition (repeatedly having to ask to get locks/door fixed, mice, THEFT OF MY WORLDLY POSSESSIONS) after I was like, “Yo girl, you can talk to my lawyer…BAI!” But even then I was still out a lot of money simply because a landlord didn’t take the idea that I had a right to a habitable and safe dwelling in a very serious manner. I’ve been illegally evicted by a racist, withheld deposits for reasons not contractually outlined, charged for the most ridiculous of things. Rent is typically a person’s biggest expense, right?–so why do these people insist on making us so miserable when they are already getting such a big slice of our monthly pie?

Rant being ranted, my current rental situation is awesome. My landlord is super nice, I love my neighborhood and nothing catastrophic has happened. I do not take this blessing lightly or for granted. Yet, I still get a little outraged thinking about this rental property predicament. What can we do to change things? I would love to brainstorm!

Also, care to share your rental horror story? Getting robbed was probably my worst, although having the locks changed on the short-lived 11th St. house in BG, KY without a 30-day eviction notice is a close second. We re-visited our former abode in a veil of darkness to check the mailbox, wherein I found an envelope that held the money from my cell-phone rebate–a sum of money that, while now inconsequential, all but saved my life that summer….but that’s a story for another time.

(Painting by Matte Stephens. The print is available on Etsy and is super cute.)