Courtesy Bambeco— Whether it’s your first real place after college, temporary digs after moving to a new city, or you just prefer renting to owning, looking at the plain white walls and expanse of blah design that dominates most rental apartments can be enough to make anyone feel like they’re living in the drab zone. But you don’t have to sacrifice personal style just because you signed a lease, not a mortgage. Rentals can feel  like a plain box that you can’t do anything to, but that’s not the case. Of course, check with your landlord or rental company before doing anything, and decide for yourself what level of work you’re willing to undertake when you move out.

List the good and the bad in your space. What do you want to accentuate and what would you like to minimize? Visualize how you really want the space to look and note the things you need to make that work. Write it all down and keep looking at the list as you consider everything else.

Everyone has one. Whether yours is generous, or a pittance, pay attention to the things that will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Adding area rugs, updating bedding and changing out towels are all relatively inexpensive ways to make big visual changes to a room.

Many landlords are willing to let you paint, with the understanding that you will either need to repaint before you leave, or pay to have the pros do it. If you’re OK with that investment of time and money, then break out the rollers and get going. Painting your walls is the fastest way to personalize any space.

Management said no? Consider hanging fabric panels, creating a large photo gallery wall, or hanging large pieces of wall art to spruce up the walls without the worry of paint. Don’t overlook other ways to add color, like area rugs and throw pillows.

Get personal
Create a display of personal things like family photos, memorabilia, or collections to infuse the space with your personality. Determine what you love, and make sure it’s on prominent display. Bringing personal, sentimental items into your décor makes any space feel more like home and less like a hotel.

Get organized
Add shelves where you can. Most rentals are notoriously low on storage space and shelving serves several functions – it covers the walls, adds architectural interest, gives you display space for personal items and, if you use attractive storage boxes, offers handy storage.

Get natural
Bring as much natural light as you can into your space by lightening up the curtains and window treatments and adding mirrors to reflect light. Use light colors and reflective surfaces to bounce even more light around the room.

Bring in personal pieces, add color wherever you can, spend a little time creating an organized space and bring in lots of natural light, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your plain box of a space has stepped out of the drab zone and has become fabulously you.