Turning a rental apartment into a vibrant, personalized home doesn't have to be a drawn-out, difficult and complicated process. Or expensive. In fact, some simple steps can help transform your unit into a true living space – a place to call home.


So how do you do it?


We sought out the expertise of interior designer Ana Cummings, of ANA Interiors in Calgary, for some easy-to-do tips. Here are four key ways an apartment renter can facilitate a feel-good transformation, according to Cummings:


A comfortable furniture layout, where every seat is near a surface to set down a drink. Even if you don't entertain or have people over, you'll want a cozy spot for yourself, whether it's a lounge chair, bed, sofa or a great set of counter stools at a kitchen island.


Temperature and light control via blinds or drapes. Blackout window coverings in bedrooms are important for a good night's sleep. And unless you have an outstanding view, there's nothing more depressing than looking at, or through, bare windows.


Artwork on the walls. A dwelling devoid of wall decor feels like a sad and lonely place. Artwork and accessories not only finish a space, they are also an opportunity to add interest and to showcase your personal style.


Layering is key. Once you have your workhorse pieces selected, like a sofa, or bed, add a toss pillow or throw in a couple of complementary colours. Add lamps to tables for extra sources of light.



"All of these elements are important because our homes are places where we unwind, relax and are supposed to feel most at ease. We want to experience feelings of peace and joy as soon as we enter our private sanctuaries," says Cummings.


"Homes are where we rejuvenate ourselves. A good designer or decorator can help. They will listen to the goals you want to achieve for your home and will be able to successfully translate those visions, within a variety of budgets."


And yes, even for people renting apartments.


Decluttering on a regular basis is a great way to make your space look even bigger. Going vertical with storage can also help. Art on your walls can be inspirational. And don't forget the smell of your apartment. What do you want to convey when you walk in the door or spend time there? There are plenty of ways to achieve that including the use of incense, candles, and diffusers.


Some interesting trends Cummings is seeing these days include the use of temporary wallpaper. She says it is a huge trend for apartments and for people who would like to add a personal touch to their space.


Multi-purpose furnishings are also a big thing. Extra bedrooms are being turned into offices with the use of Murphy beds, which can fold into a bookshelf, creating more space in a room. 


There are also coffee tables that raise into dining tables. There are console tables that fold out to dining tables. Some people are doing away with the dining room completely, just having a large kitchen space and open great room. It all depends on how you want to live in your apartment.


The key is to personalize your apartment to your tastes. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, relaxed and safe is what you can call home!


by Avenue Living Communities