It’s time to introduce you to another project I’ve been working on lately, a rental living room makeover. Em recently moved into a rental flat which is neat and clean and has everything she needs. She had only 1 requirement… “I want to be able to entertain here”. I looked around me and I knew what she meant.
The flat looked like a rental… like it was somebody else’s. It wasn’t home. And so we set about to make it one.
Rental Living Room Makeover:
This is an L-shaped living room, which we can roughly divide into 4 areas:
- The entrance passage
- Living area
- Dining area
The most important thing we kept in mind while planning everything is that this is a rental living room makeover. We will try to use whatever Em already has and give it a makeover if required. There are some new pieces of furniture we will need. If we make any fixed furniture, Em will have to leave it behind when they move. So we plan to use loose furniture which they can carry with them and it’s not a wasted investment.
You enter the home through a longish passage which currently looks like this. It’s divided into 2 parts by a second door frame soon after the main entrance door.
The passage is quite narrow, so there isn’t too much we can do with it in terms of placing furniture. Yet, it is the first thing you see when you enter the home. We definitely want it to make an impact. So these are the ideas we’re currently working upon.
Em has this wooden bench which is long and narrow and will fit into this passage perfectly.
A long bench in a long passage… somewhat like this inspiration image.
We thought of a couple of options about what happens above the bench. We could do a gallery wall…
Or a big mirror…
When I showed Em these images, she immediately showed me this mirror she has.
And so this was an easy decision to make!
We also thought of using a bold colour on the wall to add some more drama to the entrance.
Em loved the idea, but we figured we’ll choose the colour once we’ve decided on other accessories going into the living room.
So this takes care of our main passage design.. Em’s beautiful mirror above her existing bench with a bold, bright colour for the wall.
We decided to put a shoe rack in the first part of the passage, just as you enter the door. This doesn’t show from the living room because of the second door frame in between. And the bench is right there for anyone to be able to sit and wear their shoes.
The Living Area:
This is the living room.
The first thing you see as you enter are these large sofas. These are not Em’s, but the owner’s, and the deal was that they have to stay. If I had to actually go and buy a set for this flat, I’d choose something lighter and less bulky. But what’s making them look even bulkier is the dark fabric on them. So we’ve decided to change the fabric on these to something lighter and more neutral. The centre table is a rustic, sliced piece of wood on a cool steel base. I quite like it. I also like the green elephant stool / table in the corner. So we’re quite happy to keep these.
That TV unit Em wanted to change anyway, and was wondering whether to get a built in piece made. Again, in a rental living room makeover, I would avoid fixed furniture. I suggested she go for a stand alone piece which she can carry with her when they move.
We based our colour scheme for the living room on this bright, colourful rug Em already has. I am always happy with pops of colour and I thought this was as good a place to start as any.
We loved this pic as inspiration for our living room colours.
The bright rug, toned down with neutral furniture and highlighted by the bright cushions to go along. We anyway wanted a lighter fabric on the sofa, so this tied in very well with our scheme of things.
The Dining Area:
Em has a good set of solid, teak wood dining table and chairs. No need to change anything there.
There are 3 problem areas here though.
First, that there are no lights above the dining table. There is a tube light on the wall to the left. Very high on efficiency but very low on aesthetics! To get lights above the table, we could pull wires from the fan point or from nearby light points. But that would mean exposed wires, or casing pattis running across the ceiling… quite an ugly option. We don’t want to do an entire false ceiling… (after all, it’s a rental living room makeover! 🙂 ) We liked this for a solution.
Why hide the wires at all? Why not make them part of the design?
The second problem area is the wall to the right of the dining table. All these electrical wires, boxes, bells and wifi points exposed in the middle of the hall.
We don’t want to do anything permanent to hide them. We took inspiration from our post on wall decor ideas.
Drape a gorgeous piece of fabric on a rod and most of that should easily hide behind it!
We will need something below the wall hanging to give it a base. But not a closed sideboard like in this pic. That would make the whole area too ‘full’ with the solid table and chairs too. We are planning a lighter console instead.
The third problem is the wall to the left of the dining table. The entrance to the kitchen is completely open and you can look right inside straight from the hall. While fitting in a full sliding door would be high cost, Em would like to conceal at least a part of the entrance. We’re thinking some kind of jaali or grill would be easy to install and would give a partial visual barrier. It would also be easy to remove and easily reusable elsewhere when they move.
The other eye-sore here is that window in the middle of the wall. It looks into a duct so there is no view to speak of. Also, it is an aluminum window, not too great to look at.
Em is not sure she really needs it there either. The window in the kitchen takes care of the cross ventilation and they usually keep this one close. So we have 2 options here.
If Em doesn’t want it, we just block it temporarily by putting a large mirror or painting over it. The wall will look dressed up and the window won’t show.
If Em does want it, we put a border around the window with some moulding, similar to a jharokha.
That brings us to this beautiful balcony. It is large and airy with lots of natural light.
Not much to be done here I think. Some outdoor furniture and plants should make this is a pretty place to hang out in no time.
So we have all this planned in our heads and have begun work. We’ve tried to keep it simple yet beautiful. You’ll have the rental living room makeover reveal soon, so watch this space. Sign up for updates to make sure you don’t miss it!
Until next time,
PS: The reveal is now on the blog too, so click here if you want to see how it turned out!