simple changes for your home {ideas for renters}

So, remember this winter, when we were all, “We’re selling our house! {Bring yo kids, bring yo wife, and bring yo husband cause we’re sellin’ our house to everybody up in here!}

Yes, I am a big Antoine fan.

And then after three months, for multiple reasons, we decided to take it off the market?

Jamin and I are like the couple that goes through a rough spot in their marriage, and after making the choice to work it out, falls back into the honeymoon phase. Only, this isn’t our marriage I’m talking about. {We’re stellar. In my book, it just gets better with age. Good story.}

But we’ve fallen back in love with our little bungalow.

We want to cherish the life that we have here. The life that we have now. We love everything. Even the quirks and the imperfections. We love the fact that if you look at our ceiling, you can see the different splotches of paint from color changes past in certain spots. We love that you have to lift up a little on our back door to make sure it closes all the way. And most importantly, we love that in the dark, if you’re not careful, you’ll take your entire foot out on a land mine of mickeymouselegobarbienightmarepaloozas. At least that’s what we tell ourselves after we recover. Because this is what our life is. Imperfect, and in the now.

Even if sometimes, we have to remind ourselves.

I was thinking back on the things we’ve transformed and chronicled in our home, in the past two years. Once we decided to let go and have fun with it all, there were little things we did in our home, that led to the bigger things.

Once the nostalgia wore off {read: something whizzed by my head in the form of Buzz Lightyear on a space mission launched for the saving of all mankind} and brought me back to the now, I had this thought:

Just like our marriage, our home has been a journey. I’m not so sure someone just wakes up one day and decides on their overall vision for their home. I think regardless of where you are, there’s a process to deciding to make your home truly yours. And it’s an ever changing one.

We all have our own fears we have to conquer. For me, it was shaking off preconceived notions projected on myself, and gathering up the gusto by starting small and moving on to big.

I painted the island in our kitchen, before changing over the entire thing. We added outdoor curtains on our veranda, before deciding to build a wall. And we’ll probably redo the kids’ rooms a few more times, tweaking them here and there, as they grow. Sometimes, it is the smaller things that can inspire us to make leaps with the big.

The cliché is true in everything we do. We need to walk, before we can run.

So today, I thought I would touch on a few of the simple things. Some of which I’ve mentioned before, that you can do to change your home into what you truly love. {Any renters out there? This list is for you guys, too.}

1. Bedazzle it. 

Light fixtures are a broad spectrum in one’s dwelling place. There’s no secret here that I’m absolutely obsessed with them. The crown jewel and finishing touch in a room : Whether you’re renting with a strict landlord, or afraid to change something in the house you own, they’re a subject matter that can be fun to alter on many levels.

If you don’t want to go all the way with replacing it, have you tried the ‘bedazzled’ approach? No, I’m not referring to horribly jazzed pieces drowning in a sea of sparkles. But we had this chandelier hanging in our dining room when we moved in, and it needed a touch of something. So I took a few replacement crystals, and gave it a bit of sparkle. It may sound silly, but for me, this small change was the starting point for the way I looked at the entire space.

If you don’t like the color, but do appreciate the shape…(and painting it is out of the question) you could even wrap one with jute. An old school brassy chandelier would look awesome in a super quick redo…secure it with a dabble of hot glue, and if you’re renting, you simply remove it when you’re done. None the wiser, I always say.

2. Put a back on it.

We all know painted furniture can work wonders with any space. If you have some beautiful pieces, it certainly helps distract the eye. And a simple splash of contrasting color on the backs of things like bookcases and shelving, livens things up with a punch of personality.

But what about those pieces you can’t paint? Those giant brown built-ins that came with your rental? Or that cherished mahogany piece of your grandmother’s that you took on, because you know that one day you’ll be glad you did? A simple piece of double sided tape + anything: a roll of graphic paper, wrapping paper, wall paper, fabric or even a vintage feed sack will do. You’ll be amazed at the different look you can bring to a space with this simple change.

3. Take ’em Down.

Speaking of paint, I know I ramble about my favorite colors in phases here on our site. But what about those people who can’t paint their walls? It’s all in the fabrics, mah friends. If you’re not allowed to paint, then take your blinds down.

No, seriously. You’ll be amazed by firstly, how much light the absence of a plethora of horizontal {or (eek!) vertical} lines in your eye sight can hinder a space. Take them down, and invest in some fabulous fabric in their stead.

And for argument’s sake…whether you’re able to remove them or not, with a punch of pattern or color flanking the windows…and anywhere else you can manage, no one will notice you’re rocking out to the builder’s beige. They’ll be too busy admiring your own personal collection of fabrical eye candy.

Yes. I just made that up. Fabrical fantasticalness. Say it with me.

The same goes for pillows, bedding, and everything else in between. Seize the chance to infuse, and make it personal with fabrics.

No, my sofa doesn’t always look like this. It’s usually worse. They like to build forts. Yes, my entire home usually is covered in Cars paraphernalia. Embracing. One lego induced toe injury at a time…

These are just a few of the little things we started with, that gave us the gusto to forge ahead with what we love. A few of the baby steps we took, before diving in head first. We hope these are a few things that may inspire any of you who are feeling a bit hindered, to do the same. Finding a vision, and your own voice in your home’s design takes time. It’s ever changing, after all.

So what are some of the steps you’ve noticed yourselves taking on, in your own homes? What are some of your own personal fears you’ve learned to conquer? We’d love to hear!

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Responses to simple changes for your home {ideas for renters}

  1. emily hope says:

    okay, loved this. we’re renters. i so need to get over my fears and remove the blinds. embrace the fabric. the fabrical fantasticalness …

  2. Kelly says:

    After reading your blog, I painted my kitchen cabinets. Before doing that, I just always felt like I was waiting to move. Now, I like my house. And I am thinking of painting my plywood subfloor, cause it can’t be worse than my carpet and linoleum. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Can I throw a parade for you, Ashley? A post for renters!! thanks, friend :) I especially love that jute wrapped chandelier idea! I might try that in our dining room now.

  4. We’ve had selling in the back of our minds for years and I find it really holds you back from doing anything and really enjoying your home. Recently we started doing renovations and I’m excited about my house again. (I’m sure we’ll still sell, but at least we’re enjoying it more now!).

  5. michelle says:

    We just pulled our house from the market a few months ago, which was agonizing initially because the house we were going to move to seemed to be perfect for our needs, but our hearts pulled us back here where we brought our babies home and so many memories live. We are in the process of fixing our kitchen up and stripping down the railing that I painted two years ago to the original wood. I am so glad we decided to stay, our new house would have seemed so empty and void without the warmth of the years. My Chandy could use some of that sparkle, where did you get the long drops on the bottom? They are charming.

    • Awe…good for y’all! I know the feeling! You can find long skinny drops like that if you search on amazon…or google. just look for chandelier crystals. These were from the piece in our kitchen. It came with so many crystals, I used some on the dining room! ;} hope that helps! ;}

  6. Shalagh says:

    We bought a nasty old house to fix up twelve years ago. Never worry about messing it up since it was so bad to begin with. Sadly, we’ll never be able to sell it and escape. So redecorating is my only escape. I play here. And absolutely believe in fabrical fantasticalness. And love ladies who also make up their own words. We found out we’re having a baby(I’ll be 46). And so let the redecorating begin again. Pregnancy, parties, and resignation to never moving are all good motivators to redecorate, wouldn’t you say? Thanks for enthusiasm and self reflection Ms. Ashley. Love, shalagh

  7. stephany says:

    We’ve gone back and forth with the idea of moving because in the 4 years that we had lived in our current home we did not do much with it. The walls were mainly bare, everything was beige, and it wasn’t personalized.
    This year I decided to change that…and now I LOVE our home!
    Thrifting, DIY, and creativity have helped me make our home (and our yard…we have a playhouse similar to yours) OURS at a budget we can afford!
    I don’t think we will be moving anytime soon…

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I think one of the things that we struggle with is what we want in our home versus resale-ability. We purchased our first home this past December and know that we will not be here forever (5 years maximum), thanks to the Air Force. So we have that constant struggle with projects: is it worth it just for us if we may have to change it later just to sell it?

  9. Susan says:

    Last year I finally sold our family ranch home of 17 years and followed a dream I have had for many years to move to the historic part of town and buy a small bungalow. I. LOVE. IT It has good bones but now I get to make it mine. Exterior painting begins Monday, then new landscaping with knock out roses, black eyed susan’s etc… excited for this new phase of my life. Oh and I love the creaky floors and little imperfections. Enjoy your new love affair. I know I am! And thanks for such a wonderful blog.

  10. Jordon says:

    Hi! I just saw you on the Nate Berkus show. I am obsessed with your website. I’m a renter and a teacher.. so I’m always looking for cute and inexpensive ways to spruce up my house! Thanks for the great ideas! :)

  11. Kisha H says:

    I’m a new mom and take a picture of my lil guy everyday
    using my iPhone and when I saw your picture collage I got
    so excited :). Could you give me instructions on how to
    print one for my home? Great job on the Nate B. show.
    Thx in advance,

    • Hi Kisha! It shouldn’t too tricky…but it all depends on what kind of a computer and printer you have. If it were me, Instagram always saves the photo to your photo store after you take it, and I would either email that photo to myself, or plug in my phone and import it. Save them to a folder, and print! You can resize to a 4 x 4 ish size, in your printer settings, or in something like photoshop. That’s what i always use. Somewhere like costco is even easier, because you upload to your computer, and then to their website. You can select your size there. I hope that helps…I know it’s vague but instructions are a little tricky because each home/computer/printer set up is so different! Here’s the specific post, here!

  12. BP says:

    Those curtains are to die for!!! Would you mind passing along the name of that gorg fabric?

  13. Courtney says:

    Hobby Lobby sells magnetic chandelier crystals…I’ve used the pink ones in my daughter’s room and large ones in my breakfast room to dress up the builder’s choice of chandelier. I’ve also thought about using Christmas ornaments to really make them stand out. I love bling!

  14. Pamela says:

    I’ve been a renter for several years, and have utilized a few methods to keep from boredom in blah beige. Since I need the blinds for privacy and controlling temperature, I have several pairs of inexpensive window panels in a variety of colors. I switch these out with seasons, for instance, golden hue panels in the living room allow for light, and warm the room with the setting sun. An assortment of area rugs provides color for the bedroom and living room. Slipcovers, some purchased, some hand sewn, refresh the sofa; while discounted quilts are an easy change for my bed. Boring bathrooms get a new look with a change of towels, shower curtains, and area rugs. And my wall art is never the same since I prefer framed posters, and store the extra prints under the sofa. Finally, I rearrange or re-purpose furniture by using a bookshelf in a bedroom, then move to the living room, or even as storage in the kitchen or bathroom.

  15. jenna says:

    Great ideas, especially the bedazzling of the chandy. I am a brand new first time renter trying desperately to decorate on a budget…please stop by my blog and check out my ideas…would love an expert’s feedback!