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rental "renovating"
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2 3
continued from page 1

the great cover-up
The vast majority of rental renovating is about covering up what's there. Since there's no point in spending big bucks making structural changes on a place you don't own, your primary goal is to find temporary, low-budget ways to mask any pre-existing problems.

Rental pads have an overwhelming tendency to feature those office-style bland mini-blinds. They're perfectly functional, but let's face it, pretty lacking in personality. A little fabric can go a long way. Add some curtains: even if you can't sew a lick, you can easily drape a pretty gauzy fabric over the existing blinds. If you want a curtain rod but don't want to put holes in the wall, try a tension rod -- this works best for lighter fabrics. Curtains can also be used to cover up ugly walls as well as provide window privacy -- just add a curtain rod, some fab fabric, and you have an instant fix to warm-up that ugly, cold cinder-block wall.

Artwork is another good way to cover up ugly or boring walls -- and give any room a good dose of character as well. Look for artwork on the cheap at flea markets, thrift stores and estate sales; hit up artistic friends to see if they have any old work lying unappreciated in the back of a closet… or make your own. For big simple blocks of color or pattern, buy a bunch of 1"x2"s at your friendly neighborhood lumberyard, and throw together some oversized frames. Staple-gun the fabric of your choice to each frame, and either hang the framed fabric like artwork, or take the lazy decorator's way out, and just lean them up against your walls. Voila -- instant modern art!

Alternatively, you can also "wallpaper" with fabric. There are two methods to cover your walls in a manner that will not piss off your landlord: stapling or starching fabric. Though both are removable, neither is particularly quick or easy, so if you're going to "wallpaper" do it in key areas. Choose one wall for instance, or do a border. For stapling, attach the fabric at floor and ceiling level, using as few staples as you can get away with of course. Cover the staples with ribbon, fringe -- whatever trim suits your whim. Don't want to put any holes in your walls? Pick a light-weight fabric, and go with the starch method.

For hiding problem spots -- an ugly heater for instance -- folding screens work dandy. They can also be used to create a little extra storage space. Just pop a screen in a corner, and stash as much junk as you like in that area behind it.

skedaddle yonder 

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