Transform a Rental House to Home: Using Thrift Window Panels

Any new home - even a rental - needs a few new pieces added to its collection. Shopping thrift for a few furnishings like tables and chairs, or accessories such as bowls, platters, and even crosses can help tell a story about you in your home - without busting the budget. Since the assortment at my new local  thrift shops has changed because of our location, I find myself to be thrifting a little less (but that too can also be a money saver!) When I do thrift now, I am a little more specific as to what I need to help transform this rental house to a home.

Some pieces I set out hunting for since moving out here to AZ were a new workspace desk, a chair and longer panels to soften higher windows in our rental. Thankfully, I did find some! Knowing other retailers merchandise helps in this process - so when I spotted these panels, with a tag that said Ikea, I knew I was in luck. Ikeas panels are usually longer than other big-box retailers.

Many big-box retailers sell their extended lengths at 96" or 108" and consumers usually have to pay a higher price for the extra fabric. Ikea panels are most all at 98", with iron on hemming tape to shorten. Since these new windows here are higher, unfortunately several of my panels I already own fail to meet the floor ... And trust me - You do NOT want panels that are "floods" (too short). So when I spotted the one panel (which happened to also be in a very hot trend color for Spring: Yellow) I headed over to the rack to hunt for a match... and found four total for only $5.99 each .  That's a HUGE savings vs. shopping a big box store, let's say like West Elm, who just introduced their Spring line - with yellow printed panels at $89 for 96" and $99 for 108".

single panels & no spring touches of yellow

BEFORE: On move in day November

BEFORE: Move in day: November

BEFORE Week befoe move in day - Painting & Cleaning

We have several windows here, and although I was wanting to try single panels off to the side (for a different look) I went ahead and hung both panel sets at the window wall behind the sofa. The panels helped soften the look of all the hard edges from the new gallery walls I recently pulled together. They also help to diffuse the morning sunlight and look SO pretty when that light shines through (not to mention: it also helps block the view of my back neighbors and their unkept dogs & yard).

single panels & no spring touches

I wrap my bare fall & winter branches with spring blooms
to add height, drama and touch of color.

Before putting up the panels, I did run them through the wash. I had thrifted them back in December, but I knew I would be using them shortly (lol). I just hung them in a closet to help prevent wrinkles. I especially liked the way these panels - although sheer - are layered. In Florida, I used double rods to layer window panels + sheers, but since we have more windows here, I'm using the rods as singles (thankfully, I had saved their original single brackets!!) This is also another way to save some money when transforming a rental house to a new home - I'm doubling the amount of rods by installing as singles. The yellow panels relate to the yellow pillows now on the sofa...

style saving tip:
Shop the bedding section in stores like HomeGoods to find great deals on EURO sham covers - A great way to update larger sofa pillows...

The print of the white sheers overlay on the yellow and also pick up another happening trend: Tribal Trends. Over the weekend, I re-used the more burlap looking panels I had (used previously in our FL dining room) now framing our bedroom window. The play on patterns I've been using in here is less tropical or metropolitan then what I'd do in FL. For our bedroom style here, I'm slowly gathering some Arizona-like details to embrace the place where we're at. A Tribal / Southwest mix will work great in here. Here's a peek at how it's coming along for now...

Layered patterns & textiles...
From patterned pillows and sheets to panels and rugs..

Chevrom pillows and coverlet: ZGallerie (FL)
Chocolate pillows with disc: West Elm (FL)
Stripe throw rug: Ikea (AZ)
Large area rug: Crate & Barrel (FL)
Stripe sheets & stripe pillow: HomeGoods (sheets: AZ - pillow: FL)
The lamp is also a FL HomeGoods find - from 2005, but updated the simple white shade for graphic shades - also from HomeGoods (I believe 2009)

For more inspiration, join me at Pinterest and see my boards:

Thanks for stopping by!


Transform a Rental House to Home: About Lighting

Hey all! Hope everyone enjoyed a productive, but FUN weekend! Hubs was off Sunday, so after coffee, paper, and a jolt from Joel (Osteen) I started clearing & prepping space in our dining area / kitchen to complete some more updates. Again - even though we're renting, this isn't just a "house" - it is our home. Along with photos, collections, textiles and paint to make it our home, some simple switches in lighting fixtures were necessary - and better match our style. First to go, but NOT to be pitched was the standard builder chandelier everyone in the community has up... now our is down.


Back in December, I had found a really well priced & simple drum shade chandy on sale for $50 online from CB2 (eden pendant lamp). It's simple enough to work with our decor and other lighting fixtures. It's clean & simple lines are also easy  enough to update with black ribbon trim, or recover later with a pattern or a linen for texture. The catch though was, the chandy was a plug-in fixture. I may know style, but I'm no electrician, so besides asking the lighting specialist at Home Depot for a quick tutorial, I also pulled up one on my laptop for Jeff to refer to when he installed...

post at Mommy Words

One of the other light fixtures we had updated when we first started living here was another standard builders track that was in the kitchen. It was annoying the living crap out of me - off centered and too many dated cans too bright and looking like a Broadway production,  so we found a smaller track with pin spots to center in the kitchen. Along with the track, I was really wanting the repetition of three pendants to hang over the center island.

Wallpapered back splash, traditional styling, minimal to no hardware, 
dated (and blinding) builder install lighting.

Painting helped to update the space, but lighting can be the jewelry to that little back dress - your room. We also updated the light kit on the fan from these (shown) frosted tulip shades to more modern stainless spots (not shown) Changing just the lights to update the fan style was a HUGE savings at only $30 vs. replacing the fan for $100 or more.

I ad spotted this industrial pendant at Ikea while still back in South Florida.
Looks great, but too expensive for our minimal rental updates on a small budget.

These Hampton Bay stainless pendants did the trick, converted to install to a track, and if memory serves me correctly, were only $15 (or $19) each (gotta check).

We had already picked up the pendants back in November, but hadn't quite gotten around to installing them. But after listening to Jeff complain about the lighting (or lack there of) this past week, I made it a point to have those set up and ready to go after the chandy install Sunday...

Before, the chandy had six exposed lights in frosted glass shades - too traditional for our style and WAY to bright!! The down lights of the chandy before were so bright, I had removed at least 3 from the six bulbs from the fixture. Now with the drum shade, and single bulb, the lighting it softer because it is diffused.

Bye-Bye builder grade chandy!
Packed into the crawl-space you go!

Hello CB2 simple chandy!

Rather than YELL to one another to test & check power - Jeff took his cellphone out to the garage for us to communicate safely - POWER OFF - Power On...

And Jeff now has PLENTY of direct light over the island for food prep, and the pendant trio also help better illuminate the kitchen - with style. Since we're renting, we have taped up and boxed up existing fixtures we've switched out, and keep them stored in the garage crawl space.

Pendants over an island help with task lighting...

Viewed from the living room, it's more general and ambient lighting...

And a peak into the Living Room - after the new gallery wall I installed (plus some yellow & white panels I scored thrifting for only $6 each! More about that change this week...)

Night lighting...

Day lighting...

Diffused lighting...

After the fixtures were installed, along with another window rod set put up in the bedroom, Jeff and I headed out & about for a wonderful bike ride - with crisp air, long straight-aways and mountain views :) When we got back, I kicked his butt at the local park shooting some hoops (lol). He didn't realize - I grew up with a park and basketball court directly across the street from me when I lived in New Jersey. After we came back home, Jeff grilled and awesome chicken, and I finished cleaning the house - for a fun & productive slam dunk Sunday!

 How was your weekend? What are your plans this week? 
Hope you have a Marvelous Monday and

Thanks for stopping by!

A Soiree in the Desert: IFDA at the Phoenix Botanical Gardens

Last night I had a chance to experience my first design event since moving out west. Met some new people, exchanged a few cards, listened to jazz plus food, wine and design took place at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The event was hosted by the IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association). We were all in agreement though - the gardens at night could use just a tad bit more lighting - especially up lights to accent shapes, graze textures and better light the pathway. Be that as it may, there was also a nearby exhibit hall featuring sustainable design products from a bamboo forest for your living room, to sheep's hair rugs, salmon leather from Isaac Mizrahi, and beautiful woven handbags from Kate Spade. When existing the gardens, a cluster of stunning Chihuly glass sculptures in the garden caught our attention...

The Winter Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens
Now through April 1

If you're here in AZ - definitely make it out to see the gardens & exhibit.
I'd like to go back again and experience the gardens in the daytime - 
but only in the winter!
Desert Botanical Gardens
1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix AZ 85008
 (480) 941-1225

Thanks for stopping by!


Related Posts with Thumbnails