Living In a Rental

By Joseph Pubillones

January 26, 2019 4 min read

In certain cities such as West Palm Beach, Florida; Atlanta; and New York City, after years of flight to the suburbs, an explosion of rental units have been built to accommodate residents' return to the once-undesirable downtown areas. Many left the confines of small homes and condominiums for larger homes in the suburbs. But an aging population and newly minted millennials are making a comeback to the city, where services and entertainment are plenty and vehicles are not necessary. Renting has the benefit of little to no worries and none of the responsibilities of home ownership. There are some restrictions when renting and decorating your place, so making it feel like home can be tricky. Here are some helpful tips to help you settle in:

— Unless you have written authorization from your landlord, painting is usually prohibited. Sometimes, painting is permitted if you repaint the walls back to the color chosen by the landlord before the end of your lease. Besides painting your entire place, there are still ways to personalize your space by painting a wall or two as focal points. A painted wall in your entryway, behind your sofa or in your dining area will set a nice backdrop that isn't like everyone else's.

— Changing existing light fixtures to your own lights is relatively easy and makes a noticeable change to any dwelling. Of course, keep the old lights to reinstall them before moving out.

Adding dimmers to existing lighting will enhance your ability to change the mood of your abode. The cost of these dimmers is low, almost negligible.

— Knobs and pulls can be changed to make a standard and generic kitchen look customized and special. Note the handles' spread of screws to make sure that what you purchase can be used without any major modifications to the existing kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

— Even the most humble of places can be gussied up with the addition of one or two pieces of fine furniture and art. Buy less — but buy the best you can afford.

— Adding a bit of greenery to your space will immediately make it feel like home. A mix of potted plants, orchids and some flowers will make your space feel special.

— Flooring is one major factor that we have very little control over in a rental. My best recommendation is to layer area rugs over the existing flooring. There is no wrong way to layer area rugs, as long as you can safely walk on them.

— Add a mirror — or several mirrors — on a wall to reflect a view or light coming in from a window. This will visually expand your room and/or expand your view.

— Drapes can work magic. Look for the largest panels that can be installed. Drapes can be used as a backdrop to a large sofa, as a room divider or as a focal point.

— Finally, add some family pictures that are nicely framed.

In no time, your rental will look like you've lived there a lifetime. Who knows? Maybe you will.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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