decor ideas

Landlords usually have a challenging task of furnishing an apartment in a way that appeals to a broad audience, while also make it unique enough to stand out from any other apartment that is available. However, being able to ride that line between broad appeal and unique means being acutely aware of decor trends while not making it so trendy that it’s out of style a month later. Luckily, we’ve found seven of the best decor ideas meant to decorate an apartment to appeal to a wide audience:

1. Pendant lighting

One of the most pernicious deal-breakers among apartment rentals is horrible lighting:  overbearing overheads give the intimacy of a Wal-Mart floor, while too many task lights feels spotty.  Pendant lights bring light into the heart of where you need it, yet are high enough to cast broader illumination.  Their easy installation doesn’t hurt either.

2. Gender neutrality

When the right person sees your apartment that’s been made over as Barbie’s Dream House, it’s the easiest sale of the century.  However, renting is a numbers game, so avoid stereotypical color schemes or gender-inflected details.   It’s not just that women may not want to live in rooms that, say, suggest a hunting den — members of either sex might may avoid trappings that might alienate anyone on these lines. (NB:  this doesn’t mean palettes should be boring, however.)

3. Go with classics

It may be tempting to lure in renters with a look that’s setting the pages of design journals abuzz, but design trends can not only connect with limited demographics, they also may disappear before the wallpaper has dried.  As just stated, an empty apartment should have more character than a doctor’s waiting room, but not through splashy niche fads.

4. Bomb the carpets

A great rug can really hang a room together; a nasty carpet can drive it into a ditch.  Among rentals, it’s the nature of the beast that carpets are prone to burn holes, soda stains, and sundry other scars of daily life, and even the most merciless Rug Doctor-ing can’t erase that dorm roomy funk.  If you’re walking on truly damaged goods, recarpeting is worth the price.  Better yet, if hardwood floor lurks below, forego carpeting altogether and refurbish the wood.  Long-covered hardwood can appear to be a lost cause, but don’t be fooled.  It’s not as expensive to recondition as you might think, and it’s a reliable selling point.

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5. Fireplaces redux

It’s hard to think of a more universally appealing way to make a room more hospitable than a fireplace.  It’s also hard to think of any fixtures more impossible to retrofit into an apartment building.  Luckily, today’s home technology brings us easy to install bioethanol fireplaces that infuse the feel of open heat with contemporary designs.  As a cozy but practical accessory for tenants and a way to offset heating bills for landlords, everybody wins.

6.  Don’t Get too Personal

When showing the property in question, while splashes of character in the form of lithographs or sculpture are recommended, potentially divisive, factional images and references may subliminally sour the deal.  This can be a definitive judgment call – is that abstract Taxi Driver poster print classic or cultish? But clear invocations of religious or political partisanship are discouraged.

7. The Exception to the Rule:  Basement Apartments

In several of the tips above, we’ve suggested a self-effacing moderation in color and tone.  If you’re renting sub-level units (or ones with abnormally poor natural light sources), feel free to kick it up a notch color-wise to drive out the oppressive dungeon feel that such spaces are prone to.

You should have noticed a sharp theme of a neutral presentation in the above, and indeed you should try to create the broadest selling appeal.  However, be sure not to go overboard and strip the property down to monastic austerity.  When showing, the place should feel as if it could be lived in – just not anyone too particular – so pepper the space with a few plants and well-chosen furnishings.  Finally, in some cases the industry warnings against “too much personality” should be taken with a grain of salt.  The eccentricities of some local housing markets may make it a benefit to court more narrow targets, so always know your potential buyers.

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  1. […] people think that if you rent, you don’t have a lot of options for interior decorating. After all, you can’t really paint your walls or in some cases, even drive nails into them to hang […]

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Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She loves writing about home decor and home design. As a lifelong renter, she understands the importance of decorating a space with flair and character without losing its mass appeal.

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