Decorating A Rental on a Budget

I finally feel like I have some free time to start writing again. We just finished up moving into a new rental. Jack is going to kindergarten next year and the new house is in the school district we want him to attend.

Finding a rental this time was not as simple as it was before, mostly because we had strict boundaries. We live in Lakewood, a very cute section of Dallas but rentals can be too expensive, too old, or just way too small. I found a rental with a great location, surrounded by beautiful houses, walking distance to the school but the house itself was not well maintained.

I decided I was up for the challenge in making the same livable. After all it is just a rental, and the location is great and the house is affordable. Below are some tips I found useful for making the house look cute. I stayed to a relatively small budget, and made some real improvements.

Before moving in we didn't negotiate monthly rent but the condition of the house. We agreed to pay what they were asking if they fixed up the house. We wanted the entire house (inside and out) painted, a window replaced, a deep cleaning, remove a built in kitchen table and a few other small jobs. The landlord agreed to all requests. Not all landlords will, but it is worth asking.

This house is about 1000 square feet bigger than our first rental, so I need some furniture and decor items- pretty much my favorite things to shop for (besides shoes). However, I was not free to buy whatever I wanted. I needed to stay on a budget for two main reasons: 1. This is a rental and 2. When we move to a more permanent place most of this stuff will probably not come with us.

Here is how I stayed on a budget:

- I used Facebook yard sale groups for buying furniture. I bought a Ballard Design bench, Crate and Barrel tables and Land of Nod toy storage bins for a fraction, and I mean fraction of the cost.

- Target, of course Target. They have such cute and simple decor items (many listed below) I bought a lot on I find there is more of a selection online, great sales and a lesser chance people will walk into my house and feel like they are in aisle 7 of the store.

- Plants! Plants are such a great way to decorate; they take up space, cover walls and can be super cheap. I didn’t buy some of my favorite plants, or the most amazing indoor trees. They were way too pricey and I did not want to invest in them. Instead, I went to Home Depot and bought what was on sale. The double benefit of loading up on plants is their ability to purify the air. This old house needed that.

- For pictures I bought mostly from Target, or found digital downloads on Etsy and bought cheap frames

Overall, I am happy with the outcome. It is not my forever home, but it works for now!

The first set of pictures are the before (thankfully)


Below are my updates: