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Design (& Life!) Lessons from a Forever Renter

My name is Jessica and I’m a serial renter. I first dipped my toe in the proverbial musky beige carpet in 2007, signing the lease on an affordable two-bedroom unit in Riverside, California. While I’ve only lived in three places throughout my 10 years as a renter, I’ve run the gamut of roommates, ugly permanent fixtures, and term lengths (my current stint finally being in an actual stand-alone house in Los Angeles), and as someone who loves design, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. It’s a renters world and gone are the days of treating your rental like the purgatory of housing. Here are some ways you can (and should) stop seeing your place as a rental and start making it the home of your dreams (according to my own experiences).

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Posted on Sep 20, 2017

Small Details To Make You Really Love Your Rental Bathroom

It’s surprising what a difference a nice bathroom makes. Unfortunately, many renters (like myself), have to work with whatever setup our leased homes offer. Usually this is a very standard, neutral, easy-to-clean but very boring space, with minimal function — certainly nothing special. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make a bathroom slightly more useful for your needs, and even slightly more stylish.

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Posted on Sep 16, 2017

Yes, They Actually Exist: 9 Attractive Over-the-Door Mirrors — Annual Guide 2017

Forget your old dorm room door mirror (you know, the one you double-side taped and then couldn’t get off when it came time to leave). There’s a whole new world of sophisticated over-the door decorating opportunity out there, it just takes a little digging to discover them. From a beveled modern beauty to an unexpected storage hub, here are nine surprisingly chic door mirrors across a plethora of price points.

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Posted on Sep 11, 2017

How to Get The Beauty of Built-In Storage on a Renter’s Budget

Beautiful custom built-ins are unicorns for renters: more myth than fact. If you want to up your storage game, without spending a lot of money, try making freestanding units look like they were born where they currently sit. It’s not hard to pull off, with these simple tricks and ideas.

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Posted on Sep 8, 2017

Before & After: A Bland Rental Kitchen Gets a Personality-Packed Upgrade

Vi’s garden apartment came with a standard, if somewhat underwhelming kitchen. After getting their landlord’s blessing, they painted over the yellow cabinets that were giving the space a somewhat grimy patina and called in the help of one of our favorite renter friendly products…peel and stick tiles.

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Posted on Aug 29, 2017

The Smart Way to “Bulk Shop” When You Live in a Small Space

Shopping in bulk is a great way to save money, but when you live in a small space, it’s hard to find a spot to stash that platoon-sized palette of toilet paper from Costco. A smart strategy? The same thing you do in every other aspect of your fun-sized life: scale down.

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Posted on Aug 28, 2017

Recently Renovated Rentals That Prove So Much is Possible

Here’s evidence that you can absolutely make the most of your rental kitchen or bathroom — either by making just a few affordable, reversible changes or taking up a notch and investing a little more time and money — either way, you are investing in your current happiness. It all depends on you, your budget and, of course, your landlord. Here are of handful of renters who did it, and show you what’s possible.

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Posted on Aug 22, 2017

The Ultimate Happy Place: Whimsical DIYs You Probably Never Thought to Try

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale )

You may have caught a look at Amina and Salvatore’s incredible house tour and if not, seriously, how could you miss it? It’s what all your rainbow and unicorn and glitter dreams are made of! What was so surprising, aside from the sheer amount of color packed into 650 square feet of rental space, was the amount of projects they created themselves. As avid DIYers and creative entrepreneurs, the label of “rental” didn’t stop them from creating the ultimate happy-place-heaven for the two of them and their adorable dogs.

Hold on to your faux flower crowns – you’re about to be blown away by all these eye-popping, jaw-dropping DIYs.

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Posted on Aug 19, 2017

The Floating Shelf That Took Me 5 Minutes (& No Tools) to Install

(Image credit: Charles Dundas-Shaw)

I’ve been on a bit of a mission lately to spruce up the areas in my home that I’m less than satisfied with. Living in my rental condo for the past two-plus years, I’ve focused so much of my attention on decorating the more “public” areas like the living room, my office (which is tucked into a nook in my living room) and my kitchen/dining area. But the less visible areas like my master bathroom and bedroom have gone a little neglected as of late.

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Posted on Aug 16, 2017

7 Ideas For Tackling Small Kitchen Storage Shortages in Style — Dwell

(Image credit: Linny Morris for Dwell )

A perpetual curse of the small apartment is the small kitchen, and a perpetual curse of the small kitchen is lack of storage. Sure, only having 18 inches of counter space is a real bear, but before you get there, where are you even going to put anything? If your kitchen suffers from lack of storage, try one of these eight tips to help you fit everything in.

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Posted on Aug 15, 2017

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