Excuse No. 1: ‘My landlord won’t let me make changes’
Before you admit design defeat, check with your landlord and read your lease for any stipulations pertaining to changes you can make. It might be easier to get special permission than you think.
“It always makes sense to check in with your landlord,” says David Reiss, academic program director for Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship. “A landlord might be happy if you repaint, but they’ll probably prefer the color being from a neutral palette so as not to turn off future tenants.”
If you make a change with the landlord’s consent, Reiss suggests that you keep a copy of the email or the letter in case the landlord seeks to charge you for it.
“If you make a change without the landlord’s consent, [know] that the landlord could bill you the cost of returning the apartment to its original state,” warns Reiss.
Excuse No. 2: ‘I only use my place to sleep, so why spend money decorating it?’
If you spend more time asleep than awake in your home, don’t use your decorating budget on the walls—focus on your bedroom decor.
Quality bedding will instantly dress up a bedroom and make it look classy, but not fussy.
“Add curtain panels to complement the bedding so when you walk into the room, you see the color, not the white walls,” says decorator Jill Hosking-Cartland, owner of Hosking Interiors. “Think of that one room as the canvas for your favorite furnishings, rugs, art, accessories, and collections.”
Excuse No. 3: ‘I’m single and want to wait to decorate until I have a partner’
“So many singles adopt this stance, but putting one’s life on hold is actually just waiting for life,” says Anderson Abrell. “Instead, savor every phase of life and enjoy all the wonderful things happening right now.”
In other words, this is your chance to get that piece of statement furniture like an emerald green sofa or an over-the-top chandelier. Once you’re coupled up, you might not be able to enjoy something that feels authentic to your style because you’ll have to compromise on decor with your partner. This is your chance to trick out your pad just for you. Enjoy it!
Excuse No. 4: ‘My place is too small for a ton of furniture and useless decor’
The trick here is to turn your storage stuff into decorative accents.
“Choose functional accessories in a color that you love, that relate to storage functions, and that you can actually use, like a textural basket to hide clutter, a utensil holder, or a tray you might use for entertaining,” says Hosking-Cartland.
Another workaround? You could put up some floating shelves, which give the illusion of custom built-in shelves without taking up floor space.
Excuse No. 5: ‘I’m spending all my money on rent and don’t have funds for decor’
This is a legitimate consideration (good for you being so responsible!), but it shouldn’t keep you from curating some home decor you’re proud of and that makes you happy. Art, of course, can be one of the most inexpensive ways to instantly decorate.
“Wall art is one of the first things you (and your guests) will see when they enter your home; choose pieces that show your taste and make you smile when you look at them,” says Hosking-Cartland.
If original art isn’t in your budget, maps, recycled art from flea markets or estate sales, or a gallery wall of your own photos in cheap frames are budget-friendly ways to get the look you want.
You can also change the whole look of your room using temporary wallpaper—no glue required! The beautiful thing is that the wallpaper can be easily peeled off when you move. It’s a semipermanent solution that will instantly make your space look gussied up.
Excuse No. 6: ‘This isn’t my forever home—I’m only here temporarily.’
How often have you heard someone say “I’m only living here for a year” and 10 years later they’re still in the same “temporary” abode? When it comes down to it, you can’t predict the future, and life has a funny way of unfolding in unexpected ways, so it’s best to decorate for the now.
“It is your home, for whatever duration you are there. It’s the place you will be resting and recuperating from a long workday, the place where friends will visit you, where you will eat, sleep, and dress,” says Hosking-Cartland. “Why wouldn’t you want to make it comfortable and a reflection of your style?”
By Kimberly Dawn Neumann