Owning your style while renting your home

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Do you want to know if an apartment has potential before you sign on the dotted line? Can’t see past those dingy walls and centuries old ceiling fan? Can’t imagine living in such unstylish conditions? You may have a dream home living under the last tenant’s collection of greasy fingerprints on the cabinet doors. If you are longing to show that you have style but can only make temporary changes, I have solutions!

In my experience, landlords have been giddy at the notion of someone else improving their investment. Before you begin, openly communicate your plans to your landlord. You don’t want to lose a security deposit or worse.

The easiest fix that makes the biggest impact is to the paint the walls. If your landlord imposed parameters in color selection, you can work with that.

These before and after photos showcase painting changes guided by the landlord’s parameter of keeping the colors light.


Benjamin Moore 206 Summer Harvest is my favorite light buttery yellow. In order to see the full subtly of the wall color, I had to uncover the windows. The blinds came down and floor to ceiling drapes from IKEA went up. A hand-me-down chandelier got the spray paint treatment.


Look at those blinds. Look at that ceiling fan. How can this be salvaged?

Easy. I took them down.

Painting the walls Benjamin Moore 2124-40 Thundercloud Gray was the real game changer for this room. Applying a soft gray blue tone on the wall and installing brushed nickel knobs made the cabinets look sort of charming. After checking in with the landlord, the greasy old ceiling fan went to the trash. I installed a track light from Menards to direct task lighting to the work surfaces.

Although large, this kitchen was lacking storage. Sometimes to solve this problem, you have to store things in plain sight. I’ve always loved the look of a pot rack with your well-loved pieces out on display. It solves the storage issue in an attractive way

Repeating variations of the slate blue and buttery yellow in both rooms of this main floor create a cozy home.


Kelli Thompson founded Interior Artistry in 1999 as a residential specialty painting company. Once she earned an interior design degree from Harrington College of Design in Chicago, she added overall design projects to her specialty painting services. She loves working within a modest budget to create a lavish looking interior. To get more information about her services, email at kellijoythompson@gmail.com or call (773) 398-2775. See more on her website and blog at interiorartistry.us.