4 Inexpensive, Landlord-Approved Updates You Can Make While Renting

Creativity can be limited when you live in a rented apartment, house, or condo. Stock colors and standard tile selections tend to be quite blah (for lack of a better term), but that “no damage” clause in the contract can be incredibly restrictive. If you want to add a bit of personality to your space without causing trouble, keep reading!

Ahead, we’re rounding up a few (relatively) easy and inexpensive ways to give your rental a facelift. Best of all, none require construction or demolition, so you probably don’t even need to ask your landlord for permission. Score!

#1 Give your backsplash a blast of color. 

Use temporary wallpaper, faux tiles, or contact paper to give your kitchen a little style without sacrificing the beloved security deposit. The options are endless these days! For areas prone to splashes or messes (like behind the stove), go for a durable selection that can be wiped down regularly. Pro tip: If any sticking or glue remains after you try to peel off your temporary fix, a bit of Goo Gone will become your best friend!

#2 Light up your life. 

Did you know that light switch plates are actually super easy to swap out? It’s true! Find ones that add a little character or modernity to your space (or, at least aren’t an aged, crusty yellow), and just save the originals to pop back on when it’s time to move out. 

#3 Give a nod to your cabinet knobs. 

The key to rental upgrades is reversibility. Luckily, one such switch is on full display in your kitchen at all times: the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. Find ones you love in the correct, already-existing size, and go cabinet crazy! Just like the light switch plates, you’ll simply swap them back before you say farewell. (Unless they are a huge improvement — in that case, your landlord may want to keep them!)

#4 Give your mirrors an instant makeover. 

A plain sheet mirror is often the standard in apartments and condos — and unfortunately, boring is also the standard. Luckily, it’s super easy to add instant wow-factor to your mirrors with Add A Frame! Get a totally custom mirror frame shipped right to your door, no matter the length or height you’re working with. It’s an affordable option that can really make a rental bathroom look polished and personalized. 

Add A Frame options include tons of styles and finishes — shop the range now to find your perfect fit. 

4 Random (But Creative) Places to Hang Custom Mirrors

From bathroom vanities to entryways, there are some mirror placements that are predictable and practical. But for less of a been-there, done-that look, consider a custom mirror for creative placement — you might be surprised just how much impact a mirror can have if you think outside the box! Ahead, we’re diving into a few special spots to put a mirror that you probably haven’t thought of yet. 

  1. On a Screened Porch

It’s not often you find mirrors outdoors, but it can be the most wonderful surprise! Reflect lush greenery or a prized gardening pot to make your screened porch feel even more spacious. Although you may get the occasional layer of pollen or grime, your covered porch will protect the mirror from major damage — and the wow-factor is worth it!

 

  1. Down Low as a Baby Toy

Consider placing a mirror low enough where it could double as a baby toy. It’s no secret that babies love looking in mirrors — and with one at eye-level for them, you can count on endless entertainment. You might opt for a long, full-length mirror that lands just above the baseboard; get creative with placement in the play corner or nursery; you could even put one on the funky-shaped wall where the stairs meet the wall. Just make sure that your custom mirror is securely fastened to the wall, not leaning against it. Safety first!

 

  1. Mixed Into A Gallery Wall

Add another layer of texture to your wall by mixing a custom mirror into a gallery wall featuring photos or shadow boxes of favorite memories! Go big and bold, with your photos arranged around your mirror, or opt for a mirror that blends in size-wise — both options can add extra oomph to your decor. Whether it’s on the wall going up the stairs, a feature wall in your living room, or even a “memory wall” in your home office or guest room, a mirror adds a bit of whimsy and light, making your gallery even more interesting. 

 

  1. In Places Lacking Light

Because they reflect light, mirrors are one way to instantly add brightness and space to a room. If you have a dark corner or a strangely shaped, dim hallway, a custom mirror may be just what you need to add life to the space. Luckily, with our option for custom frames, even the most unorthodox spaces can have a mirror! 

Ready to outfit even the most random spaces in your home with a custom mirror? It’s easy! Select from a vast array of frame styles and finishes, enter your specific dimensions, and we’ll ship your custom mirror directly to your front door. Easy as 1, 2, 3! Find a mirror frame finish that suits your home now!

4 Places NOT to Hang a Mirror in Your Home

Mirrors can truly make all the difference in a room. (OK, OK, we may be biased — but it doesn’t make it any less true!) Even though mirrors are a fast way to amplify light and make a room feel bigger, there are places they shouldn’t be hung.

There are a few feng shui guidelines, superstitions, and best practices that you’ll want to keep in mind as you make your house feel more like a home. Whether you want to boost good energy in your space or just find the most practical solutions, heed these four tips:

DON’T hang across from clutter.

You want your mirrors to reflect light and happy energy — not piles of mail, toys, or other clutter. For example, skip the mirror on the wall directly across from your laundry room, where clothes tend to pile up and spill over. Or, if your home has a “drop zone” where coats, laptop bags, and shoes tend to get dumped when people walk in the door, avoid mirrors in that area. After all, the last thing you want to do is double the clutter in your home!

DON’T hang directly above or opposite bed.

According to feng shui experts, mirrors directly above your bed (or sofa) can disrupt calm, peaceful feelings because of the weight hanging over your head. Additionally, you want to avoid hanging a mirror on the wall opposite your bed because — according to some traditions — your soul leaves your body when you sleep, and it can get startled when it sees itself in the mirror. Whether or not that’s the case, this placement doesn’t make sense on a practical level. Mirrors can create all kinds of illusions in the half-light and darkness that mess with your head. It’s hard to sleep when the light bouncing on the mirror looks just like the boogeyman!

DON’T hang in the kitchen. 

In general, feng shui guidelines suggest avoiding mirrors in the kitchen altogether. Although it’s not a popular spot for mirrors, facing the stove is a big no-no for mirrors (so long, mirrored tile backsplash!). Then again, it’s not super practical to have mirrors in a spot that is notoriously steamy and smokey. No one wants to constantly clean soup splatter off of a mirror, anyway!

DON’T hang directly across from the front door.

When it comes to receiving good energy in your home, you want to keep the front door ready to welcome it inside. Feng shui dictates that if you have a mirror right across from your door in the entryway, good energy may bounce back outside. Many people want mirrors in their foyer, and that’s fine, just make sure it’s on a perpendicular wall that catches light instead.

Of course, it’s your home — place mirrors where you will use them, and where they make you happy. With these tips in mind, hopefully your space reaches its best, brightest potential — and we can help with that! Discover custom frames, framed mirrors, and Add a Frame options now to find what suits your style best. Shop our entire range now!

Metal Trends: What’s In, What’s Out, What’s On the Rise

Trying to keep up with the latest home decor trends can give you whiplash — it seems like right when you update your home, trends change yet again. Ahead, we’re diving into what’s timeless, what’s trendy, and how metal preferences have changed over time.

Brass

In 2020, brass definitely made a comeback. Brass has been on the back burner for the last decade or so, allowing shiny polished chrome, stainless steel and brushed nickel to take the spotlight. Brass definitely offers a certain warmth that many homeowners are drawn to. Blame its return on warm walls, tan palettes, and the growing popularity of “greige” — no matter how you slice it, brass has made a bold reemergence into mainstream design.

Gold

Around 2016-2017, gold hardware and fixtures started getting their moment in the sun once again. While some would argue that gold is on its way out, it’s one of those trends where “everything old is new again.” So while the gold rush may end in the next year or two, you can bet your bottom dollar that this look will be back again with a vengeance before too long. There is something timeless about gold — after all, there’s a reason why they call it the “gold standard!” Decorating with gold dates back to some of the earliest civilizations — and so if you just decorated your kitchen with all gold everything, rest assured that it’ll never truly go out of style.

Black

There’s something effortlessly simple about black hardware and accents. It certainly gives a more industrial, clean line than its gold or silver counterparts, and is even considered a more masuline tone. Black, especially matte black, is universally appealing — and that makes it a safe option if you’re updating hardware and considering your home’s resale value. From bathroom faucets to kitchen sinks, black finishes can add a modern touch to your home — just be conscious of how your wall color, rugs, and other decor interact with the dark touches to avoid an overly-dark outcome. 

Can’t commit to just one tone?

Mixed metals are definitely having a moment in the land of design. That’s right — just because your cabinet pulls are one tone, doesn’t mean your sconces and mirrors have to match. The key to mixing metals is to stick to two or three finishes instead of opting for every single option in the home improvement store. Additionally, try to keep the finish of each metal soft (think brushed instead of polished). Muted undertones will help the subtle differences work in harmony instead of against each other.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to makeover any mirror in your home with a frame and finish of your choosing! From customized mirror frames to decorative mirrors, we have what you need to give any room a refresh. 

7 Mother’s Day Gifts That Show Mom How Special She Is

Moms work hard — there’s no arguing that! This Mother’s Day, shower her with attention and praise (oh, and gifts!). Here are a few ideas to show Mom you’re thinking of her:

DIY Day

Play to your strengths! Are you super handy with a hammer? Build her an above-ground garden and help her plant for summer! Know your way around a car waxer? Give her car a good shine. Maybe you help her tackle those kitchen cabinets she’s been wanting to repaint for years. Whatever that at-home project is, she’ll be grateful to check it off her list. 

A Beautiful Coffee Table Book

A coffee table book is more than decoration or a place to set your wine glass — the right book can inspire, educate, and tell a lot about the person who displays it. Pretty and practical, just like Mom likes! We like this one by Frances Palmer, this one by Gray Malin, and this one from National Geographic.

TikiTunes … AND the set-up!

This product is a fun twist on the Bluetooth speaker. TikiTunes looks like a tiki light that adds awesome ambiance — and music — inside or out. It can connect to most smartphones so that Mom can use her favorite music streaming service as she entertains or hangs out. The warm, LED lights work with or without music. The key part of this gift, though, is doing the initial set-up for her! That way, it’s a hassle-free gift she can enjoy again and again.

Memory Journal

They say the greatest gifts are from the heart — and what could be more heartfelt than a collection of your favorite memories with Mom? Although formal versions of a memory journal are available to purchase, you don’t have to get too fancy with this. Find a pretty notebook at your nearest craft store or home goods store, and grab a pen! Whether you want to fill the pages slowly over time or pass the journal back and forth to each take a turn writing down a memory is up to you. 

A Unique Candle

Something that smells lovely is always a wonderful gift. These Candlefish candles are hand-poured in Charleston, South Carolina, and use 100% soy wax and the highest quality natural oils. Choose from a vast range of fragrances to find one that’s right for your mom. Whether she’s into spicy scents, warm earthy notes, or florals for spring, this shop has what you need.

A Framed Mirror

We may be partial, but a framed mirror adds a touch of elegance, light, and function to any room. A smaller decorative mirror may be just what your mom needs to complete her hallway or living space. Or, if you live near her, you could sneak over and measure any plain, unframed mirror in her home and create a custom gift for her with our Add A Frame® option. It can truly transform a space! (Not confident in your measurements? Don’t worry, we have an eGift Card available for you!)

Wine and Chocolate

… because she deserves to indulge a little on her special day!

 

No matter what lengths you typically go to on Mother’s Day, the most important thing is that Mom knows you’re thinking about her. After all, she already has the best gift ever: Getting to be your parent. Happy Mother’s Day!