I moved into a patio apartment in the spring.
All the units look alike, and I was faced with stark white walls and mismatched kitchen appliances. After about a month of research, I came upon an idea that worked for me.
In the kitchen I had a stove, dishwasher and small fridge. I had management come get the stove, and I purchased online a portable washer/dryer in one. Portable may be what it’s called, but it is quite big. At least as big as the stove was.
I moved the refrigerator around until I found the best place for it. I already had a microwave and panini maker. So I purchased an electric skillet, the Breville Smart toaster/convection oven, and a crock pot. These small appliances will serve all my cooking needs.
And the benefit of using small appliances is that it doesn’t heat your space up, therefore lowering your air conditioning bill.
Moving on upwards, I took three of the upper cabinet doors off, and painted them inside, to give the room a more open feel.
When you are renting, you are faced with limitations. So I had to seek out solutions that would be considered temporary.
I didn’t like the kitchen counter or matching back splash. I used contact paper to remedy that problem. You can’t tell it is contact paper at all! (Underneath it’s white and a speckled color.)
Still, I was left with a white refrigerator and a dark beige dishwasher front. I painted the fridge (it had rust stains), and everything in sight, with a fresh coat of white paint. I took the same checked contact paper and applied it to the front of the dishwasher. Since I prefer washing dishes by hand rather than using a dishwasher, this was a feasible fix for me. If you were going to use the dishwasher, I’d suggest ordering a dishwasher cover for the front online.
I created a gallery wall in the living space. In fact it is a symbolic gallery wall. It tells a story of where I’ve been and where I am now. Therefore it is of sentimental value to me.
I always have a coffee bar, as I do love my coffee. I used a potting bench I painted red to store my coffee making essentials. I put a curtain across the bottom to store paper towels and dog food underneath. And I put up two cheap shelves that are only a few feet long above the coffee bar for coffee mugs.
Paint is your friend, and your most economical fix. If you can’t paint the walls, paint the furniture.
I had to purge a lot before moving here, in order to live in 725 square feet. But I don’t miss anything. This place serves me well.
And the cherry on top is the huge privacy-fenced patio out the sliding glass doors in back. Actually it is why I chose this particular complex. My two Yorkies have a place to run around, and I have many containers full of plants out there, along with a seating area. I get shade from three trees, so it is a nice arrangement.
Keys to personalizing a generic space:
- If you can’t paint the wall, paint the furniture instead. It will give what you already have new life. And the white walls will fade into the background with bright fun colors.
- If you can’t change the kitchen or bath, and you just detest the counter tops, try covering them with contact paper or removable wall paper.
- Make the few rooms you have work for you. I got rid of a stove and got portable cooking appliances instead. If you could better use your space by trading what’s there for something else, ask your landlord if that is possible.
- Use furniture that is multi-functional. I have two wicker chairs in my living room that are indoor/outdoor. And two in the dining area. These would also work outside if I needed more seating out there. If you need a coffee table, consider an ottoman with storage.
- Look at what you have with new eyes. Could one piece of furniture actually serve you better used as something else? For instance, do you have a low buffet or dresser you could use as a coffee bar? Pinterest will give you lots of ideas for these.
Don’t feel defeated just because you are living in a space that is plain or temporary. Use your creativity and think outside the box. Research ways to personalize your home so that it serves your own personal needs. And places a smile on your face every time you come home and open the door.
Now tell us:
How do you spruce up your space?
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