Tips and Tricks

Back to School: Rental Style

August 25, 2015

The mornings are crisp, the glorious sun takes a little longer gracing us with its light and I’m dreaming of pumpkin, that can only mean one thing … it’s nearly September and back to school time! I have always loved this time of year, as a child, it meant seeing friends I hadn’t seen over the summer, new clothes and school supplies, and getting to organize my desk or locker (yes, that’s right – the thought of organizing made me lose sleep) and as an adult, there’s a real sense of new beginnings and fresh starts, even more so than January.

This time of year can also mean relocating for a lot of people – moving into new apartments or dorm rooms in preparation for school, practicums, residency’s etc. You might even be going through your apartment credit check so don’t worry if it doesn’t go well, there’s always another solution. So I’ve pulled together some tips and tricks to making your new home truly yours for as long as you’re going to be there, in ways that aren’t going to upset your landlord or floor coordinator.

Often times when renting a space, the inclination is to hold off on buying ‘real’ furniture until you get to your ‘forever’ home. Certainly, in student homes, it makes little sense to buy your own furniture. I suppose this is why websites like indicate that student homes generally come with furniture already provided. Anyway, I say invest in key pieces, especially those that could be re-purposed – a smaller dining table could be used as a desk in a larger space, a compact sofa could fit into a den in another home. Investing in quality furniture now will help to create a space that feels comfortable and like a home. Think about multi-functional furniture, for instance in a dorm room a futon can be a sofa by day and a comfy bed by night.

The same goes if you are a property developer and you are currently in the process of redecorating one of your properties for a new tenant. Try to pick timeless pieces that appeal to all tastes. A friend of mine has recently leased out her very first rental property so I gave her plenty of tips with the decorating. I also pointed her in the direction of the Roofstock website for some useful information about the business side of renting out properties. The real estate market can be very fast-paced and therefore it is crucial that you stay on top of all the latest developments.

Many people that I know who are involved in the real estate industry in various ways have all said that staying on top of the changes in the housing market is very important, as it could all change at the drop of a hat. Whilst my friend has done so well in being able to rent out her first property, she does find it stressful. So that’s why I’m not surprised that many people have told her to have a look for someone like this property manager in Sandy, OR to help lift some of this weight from her shoulders. Passing on this responsibility will mean that she has more time to do other things, whilst she leaves things like the rent collection and maintenance to other people. I really hope she considers it, as it could drastically improve her experience within the industry.

So, let us now discuss some decorating ideas for your home!

PicMonkey Collage69 (PC: Modern Family Expo and Ikea)

Don’t be limited by existing configurations of furniture in a dorm room, feel free to move pieces around to find a set up that works best for you and your needs. For instance setting up your bed as a daybed offers seating options for when friends stop by and putting the dresser in the closet can open up a space.

apart12 (PC: Dormify for Macy’s)

Get comfortable with a paint brush! Often rental rules impose limitations on the types of wall treatments that can be done, even if your property allows for wallpaper, I suggest opting for paint and/or wall decals instead. Putting up wallpaper only to have to remove it before you leave is a lot of unnecessary work and money. You can easily and affordable inject your personality with a can of paint and some fun decals or stencils. Do get your landlord’s permission before painting and be prepared for the possibility of having to prime the walls before you leave.

apart14-sencilboss (PC: Stencil Boss)

Storage is often at a premium in both apartment rentals and dorm rooms. Be creative, use every possible spot – under the bed, above the refrigerator, etc. When it comes to storage, going vertical is key. Invest in sturdy boxes that can be stacked and labelled. Adding a wall mounted shelf above the desk in a dorm room can be a great spot for extra supplies and books. If you’re tempted to invest in storage furniture, go for free standing cabinets, don’t invest in built ins – not worth the investment and very difficult to take with you. Think of multi-functional pieces, such as storage ottomans, which can be used as a coffee table or extra seating while offering discrete storage.

PicMonkey Collage70 (PC: Monika Lundholm, Paragon Columbia, Ikea and Little Nudge)

Inject your personality with throw pillows, artwork, and rugs – inexpensive ways to express yourself that can be taken with you when you leave. If you’re sharing a dorm room with a roommate, go for an overall neutral palette and then inject some of your favorite colour in the accessories, that way you’ll avoid creating a clashing environment or decorating your half of the room in your roommates most despised colour. You may want to connect with your roommate (if possible) prior to moving in as well to help coordinate a look.

PicMonkey Collage67

A great place to invest is lighting and hardware – both can be taken with you and easily add personality. Adding a dimmer to your lighting can help create ambiance, manipulating the feel of a space, while saving money on your power bill.

apart5-agisaccessories (PC: Agis Accessories)

Above all, have fun with the process and enjoy the new beginning and fresh start! I’d love to see what you come up, feel free to post your pictures in the comments below!

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