How to jazz up your rental

How to jazz up your rental

Make your four walls in Florence unique and personal with these tips from an interior design student.

Wed 30 Aug 2023 10:03 AM

Nowadays, Pinterest and TikTok flood our mood boards with La Mer-decorated vanities and candle-strewn kitchen counters. Whether you’re a clean line minimalist or prefer more Sofia Coppola curated clutter, decorating your space can be equally challenging as it is fun. In a city like Florence that holds a massive community of renters, some of the apartments up for grabs can come newly IKEA renovated, while others have maintained their old-fashioned Renaissance infrastructure. Whichever one you sign off on will come with its own charm that you’ll want to add your own personal touches to. Lucky for us, there’s Rakel Jónsdóttir, an interior design student in Florence. Like many others, she rents in the city center and has managed to make her space unique and personal. 

Interior design student Rakel Jónsdóttir

Making temporary spaces (like apartments) feel like a home

I really like having pictures of my family and friends as well as posters I’ve collected over time. They’re always easy to stick on the wall and make for a simple way to decorate a rental space. Hygge is a Danish term used to describe a cozy and comfortable atmosphere, which is the main goal when decorating spaces, especially bedrooms. Lighting can do a lot for a space, even things like changing a lightbulb, adding a lamp, or hanging up fairy lights around the room. Plants are always good too; it’s nice to have some greenery. Carpets are also great for helping with that cozier atmosphere.

Maximizing small spaces

Mirrors can be helpful because they make everything look bigger. Furniture can be tricky because certain rooms will have certain necessities. Obviously, every bedroom needs to have at least a place to sleep. Less is more for smaller spaces because it’s easy for a room to feel crowded if there are too many things in it. Figure out what the most important things are to have in the room because, most of the time, people collect things that they never use. The same goes for wall décor—it can be overwhelming when there are too many things on the wall. There has to be a good balance between everything.

Rakel Jónsdóttir design on a budget 2
Rakel Jónsdóttir’s rental

Finding your own decoration style

Oftentimes when people decorate their homes, the final result ends up being a mix of different interests. I always start with what inspires me. Maybe there’s a certain type of shelf I really love, so I’ll look at the different ways it can be used and the space it’s put into. Looking online on sites like Pinterest is a great way to research and understand the best function for the object. From there, it’s always best to start with less and add more. That way you can get a better understanding of the space with just a few objects in it, then evaluate what could be added later.

Decorating on a budget

Rakel Jónsdóttir design on a budget

Decorating your space doesn’t have to be expensive. You can find things like wallpaper, flooring and even tiles online that can really change the room. Rugs are also nice because they can help create a cozier atmosphere. There are plenty of DIY projects that can be really simple if you find something for a good price that you want to change to better fit your style. Someone might find a coffee table on the side of the road, take it home, sand it down, add some oil, and suddenly it looks brand new. Usually the money saved in these kinds of projects is spent in the time invested in upcycling, but it’s well worth it if you’re willing to dedicate that time for striking a good deal.

Finding inspiration

You have to be open to noticing things in places outside of interior design. In fashion, you might notice that you really like bold patterns or minimalist color palettes. Take the things you like and interpret them into your interior space. Maybe you’re really into movies and there is a house in a movie that you’ve always loved. Inspiration can be found in our everyday surroundings, like going to your friend’s apartment and noticing their style. Perhaps you hike and really like natural elements, such as wood or greenery—that can be translated into a space. You can be inspired by art, video games, even the color of your meal. I love nature, but I also love colorful fashion, especially pinks and purples, which you don’t really find in nature, so it’s about figuring out how to put all of the puzzle pieces together and making it work in one space. The main thing is to start with an open mind and then connect all the dots from there.

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