Happy Friday! Today I wanted to share a bit about our rental house experience…how we made it look more like “us” and how I organized in a temporary space.
First I must say right off the bat…I take NO credit for the following pictures. They were professionally taken by our landlords reality company photographer…that’s why the pics look awesome. Second, we were blessed with an absolutely wonderful rental experience. Seriously, our landlords were/are the sweetest people who also just so happen to be the best realtors in the Kansas City area! They also made some excellent choices in this rental home as far as paint, flooring, fixtures, and counter tops to help it be a great palette to make this house neutral and appealing to anyones taste and style. So now that you know those things…here we go!
This home was in an established neighborhood of Overland Park, Kansas. A split level built in the 1970s, it had quite a bit of space and was close to everything! This was our first experience of living in a “big city” and I’ll tell you, I got spoiled! Drive more than 10 minutes to the grocery store, pharmacy, pizza or coffee shop…or Ikea!? Nah. I really wanted to look for a home in this part of KC, but we decided we wanted something a little newer and alas, new homes in this area were out of our price range…not to mention it’s a longer commute to Nathan’s work. But we enjoyed “city life” while we lived there, and we will just have to make the 30 minute trek back that way once a month or so to visit Ikea 😉
Front enterance. Since we always came in through the garage/laundry room, there’s no drop zone or anything here. But that coat closet was huuuuge and fit all our coats, baskets of hats/gloves, extra bags/backpacks, kids shoes and other items I keep by the front door like drawers of extra hand sanitizer and such. I love that original light fixture and the stone floor. To the left is the sitting room…
So much natural light, clean brand new carpet…this is where we spent a lot of time! We went through our boxes of wall decor and decided what was most important for us to have up to give the home some color and personality, and left everything else in boxes. Since we kind of helped stage this home for the pictures and showings for our landlords, we also kept the family pics to a minimum. I kept the baby toys behind the couch and the kids books were on the small bookshelf behind the black & white chair. We wanted this room to be a place for reading, conversation, and for the babies to play…so we kept the big kids toys in their rooms, in the den and in the basement. The sitting room adjoined the dining room…
This was such a great room, so much space and we loved the vaulted ceiling! We didn’t hang anything on the walls in this space, but did use the side table to add color, decor, and storage. The kids often used this space for coloring so sometimes we kept crayons and coloring books in the side table. The metal caddy you see in the middle shelf has baby wipes, bibs and small toys for the babies during feeding times. And of course, theres the good old folding table…which was the holding place (after we sold our set before we left Washington) until we found something we loved…it only took two years 😉
The kitchen was super spacious, but it did lack the counter and cabinet space that I had been used to. However, I’m always up for an organizing challenge and we totally made this work! In fact, I kind of miss our little coffee bar area now that we are in our new place. And I loved using the rolling cart that Nathan had made for us back in Ohio for the basement laundry area. It was great to roll it to wherever I needed extra counter space. We added the plastic drawers for the kids for snack foods. Small appliances that were not used daily (crock pots, rice cooker, griddle, waffle iron), were stored in a cabinet in the laundry room which wasn’t far from the kitchen. I kept baking items in the cabinets above and below the KitchenAid. The large cabinet next to the KitchenAid was the pantry. My vintage Pyrex and the wine glasses I kept in the cabinet with the mustard colored plexiglass…what better place to put vintage Pyrex? 😉 The upper cabinets also had a ledge above them where I could place some small decor items without adding holes to walls. Bonus! This kitchen had great natural light and like I said, so spacious. I was able to bring the kids table and stools up here often so they could do Play-Dough and there was still plenty of room for me to work in the kitchen while they were there. And for an older home, it felt like it was pretty open with the sitting room, dining room and kitchen all together. Also, the den was just a few steps down, so that was great too!
Going up the stairs to the bedrooms…after you got up the stairs, there was a full bath to the left which was the main bath. Then the kids bedrooms were next.
These bedrooms were surprisingly big! Again, we didn’t hang much on the walls, but just enough to add some color and interest. We also got some rugs at Ikea to help add color and soak up some sound. We had not lived in a home with wood floors in bedrooms before…but they echo and creek! I sure love the look of wood floors, but living here def made me realize, I personally prefer bedrooms with carpet 🙂
Each bedroom had a great size closet, and there were two linen closets in the hallway. This house did not lack storage!
Next was the Master bedroom and bathroom.
I know I keep saying this, but so much space! I guess I always expect older homes to have small rooms…but this house had great size rooms! I think we only hung 3 things on the wall in our room. I love that we had colorful dressers, because that absolutely added color to the space. Also, the curtains, bright pillows and the large geometric rug added a lot to our room. I know the rug placement isn’t exactly following “the rules” of proper rug placement…but yeah I don’t care. And anyways, isn’t there a rule about not following rules when decorating?
There were double closets in the bathroom and I totally dug the tile on the counter…hard to tell, but it was quatrefoil. Would I put it in my home now? Countertop, no. Backsplash…maybe! …but it sure added character and was original to the house! So I think that’s cool.
Now going downstairs to the laundry room and den…
This is directly across from where we entered from the garage, so we put some coat hooks up and kept jackets, the diaper bag, backpacks, and my purse in this area. There wasn’t any space to hang dry clothes, so I bought a fold up hang dry…thingy from Target. The cabinets above the W/D is where I kept small appliances (as previously mentioned) as well as paper towels, and extra ziplock bags and such. Also love this original light fixture here too.
This was the media room, den, family room…also guest room since the couch folds out into a bed. Another space where I enjoyed the original features of the home: wood paneling (and this was good, legit wood paneling), brick fireplace, built-ins, beams…I liked this room. It felt cozy and homey. I loved that our family could enjoy this room in a number of ways all at once: watching a show, on the computer/working, crafting, coloring…it was a multi-purpose room that needed minimal help decor wise. Throw some white Christmas lights and interesting items up on the shelves and call it good! We kept our board games and movies in the cabinets on either side of the fireplace. This is where the kids coloring/art items were kept as well as quiet activity items.
Pass through the garage, down a few steps and you get to, the basement! Which was a playroom on one side, and a storage room on the other.
This was an AWESOME space for the kids.They could run, jump, throw balls, make a mess…perfect kid zone. Acoustic ceiling tiles also allow you to decorate without adding holes in walls. The kids made snowflakes with gramma during Christmas break and we hung them down here from the ceiling and it was so fun. I don’t have pictures of the storage space, but that’s where we kept the totes and boxes that we left packed.
So that’s pretty much the tour of the beloved little rental home we occupied for about 5 months! So after living in a rental I did learn a few things…and keep in mind, every rental is different and everyone has different experiences. But thinking back to what we did/didn’t do…here would be my tips on maximizing decor without hanging up a lot and maximizing storage without feeling like you have to buy all new containers or build your own storage space.
- Use painted furniture, rugs, pillows, throws, and tablecloths/table runners to add color and visual interest. Also never underestimate the power of accent lamps…and fresh flowers 😉
- If you can’t hang things, lean them. Like in our dining room we didn’t hang up anything and the space was a little plain looking, but I did put large items on top of the side table that added color, height, and gave the illusion of something on the wall. Use bookshelves, hutches or built in shelving to achieve this also.
- If you’re in your rental space only temporarily, leave as much as you can packed up. Cake pop maker, cookbooks, apothecary jars, all but 2 vases, most of our books, a lot of wall decor, all my husbands power tools…all examples of things that we left packed. It helped us maximize the space we had and less to pack up when we finally did land on a house of our own. Also, for us, we knew we weren’t going to do any projects or too much entertaining, so we just didn’t need those things accessible. Even if you will be in the rental long term but don’t have much storage, you can still leave some things packed up that you don’t need to get to often…like the cake pop maker we all just had to have 4 years ago. Pretty sure I’ve used it like 5 times.
- Organize your kids’ toys by using cubbies with bins. Easy for them to clean up, easy to purge things (oh that Transformer doesn’t fit into the action figure bin? Time to get rid of one…or five), and easy to move once the time comes. Seriously, you take the bins out and move…or you can wrap the entire unit in plastic wrap and move the whole thing as one. Cubbies are my fav way to organize toys.
- Invest in plastic totes…especially if you store things in a basement. Keeps bugs out better, won’t get contents wet, they stack, and last longer than boxes. We saved some boxes from our move from Ohio, but we mostly used plastic totes this last move. And if you empty them out and no longer need some…pass them along to a friend who’s moving!
That’s about all I’ve got for now. I know there are a lot of ideas out there for how to maximize your rental…but this is what I learned during our time as tenants! Now we are ready to tackle our new place! It doesn’t need as much work as our Ohio house did…but it def needs some sprucing up in places! If you’ve known us for any length of time, you know we can’t just move into a place and do nothing! 😉
Enjoy your weekend! Press on!