Make it yours.

By Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee
May 31, 2018
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nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

Just because you don't own your home, doesn't mean it can't be beautiful.

For Nadine Abramcyk, founder of stylish and chemical-free nail salons, tenoverten, a paint job was one of the first upgrades she and husband, restaurateur Matt made after trading in their Tribeca apartment for a sun-lit rental in New York's West Village.

"Everything was very white when we moved in, but it felt a bit too white," she tells us. The solution: go grey. "We painted a subtle grey through the top floor bedrooms. It was a small change, but just different enough to create more warmth."

nadine abramcyk apartment
Artwork by Todd Hido.
| Credit: Natasha Jahangir

We recently visited Abramcyk in her gorgous new rental to snag more expert style tips on transforming a borrowed abode into a family-friendly space that's ultimately functional, inviting, and the perfect escape.

From adding in warmer lighting and plush (sound-proof!) rugs to picking out extra special art pieces, here are her low-key additions guaranteed to make any old rental feel like home sweet home.

nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

LIGHT IT UP

First things first for a friendlier feel? Swap out harsh lighting. "We changed all the lightbulbs in the rental to make the light warmer," says Abramcyk who opted for cozy bedside lamps and filament bulbs in the bathroom for a softer (and more flattering) glow. "Dimmers are also a great way to customize lighting and they're easy to install."

TRY: This Fun Decor Idea for Lighting Up Any Room
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

WARM UP WALLS

Wanting to keep her color scheme clean and minimal, but still craving a fresh look, Abramcyk chose to paint the upstairs rooms in Benjamin Moore's Paper White ("a very usable white with a blue-gray undertone"). By choosing a single light color, she was also able to create a continuity throughout the sleeping areas which added a homey and harmonious flow in the space.

SEE: How Paint Dramatically Transforms This Living Room
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

ADORN WITH ART

From larger painted canvases to her children's mini masterpieces, artwork was another go-to for Abramcyk when it came to personalizing the place. "I'm not a huge color person, so art is also great for adding that pop of color to white walls that may feel sterile," says the mother of two. As for her children, who bring home new creations from school on the regular, Abramcyk says she encourages them to hang up their artwork wherever they'd like as a way to make the family's space feel extra special-"We want to see their art and celebrate it!"

TRY: These 10 Fun Ways For Kids to Display Their Art
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

CUSTOMIZE WHEN YOU CAN

When it comes to setting up workspace and play areas, Abramcyk was all for Vitsoe's customized shelving that could easily adapt to changing needs and be reworked into a new space come moving time. "We didn't want to invest in something we'd have to eventually leave behind or throw away," she says. "For the kids' room, we wanted to make sure everything was up off the floor and for them to feel like even though they were sharing, they could still have their own space." As her kids grow, Vitsoe's shelving also allows her to adjust their desk height, add drawers, or swap out shelves and magnet boards.

GET INSPIRED: 5 Creative Organizing Solutions That Double as Decor
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

GET SOME GREENERY

There's nothing like fresh greens to perk up your place. From farmer's market flowers on the dining table to potted plants along the kitchen and bathroom counters, greenery is not only a simple way to style your home or freshen up a room, but also helps purify the air. For the freshest feel, choose blooms that are in season.

GET INSPIRED: With Some of Martha's Favorite Seasonal Arrangements
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

ROLL OUT THE RUGS

While she admits to never being a rug person ("I grew up in Texas with wall-to-wall carpeting"), Abramcyk says once in a rental, rugs were not only accent pieces, but a huge sound-saver. "Soon after we moved in, my landlord was like, ‘You have two kids and there's a guy downstairs. You need to put down rugs.'" With a 5 and 6-year old running around, adding a soundproof pad (rugpad.com) under the rugs was also a smart and affordable essential. Essentials don't have to boring, of course. Abramcyk opted for beautiful, yet minimal, Moroccan rugs, including a black one for the kitchen in case of accidental food spills.

HOW: To Clean an Area or Shag Rug
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR UPGRADES

With an apartment in the heart of the Manhattan, Abramcyk also invested in blackout shades for the master bedroom ("So everyone can have a good night's sleep") as well as double-pane windows facing the street to keep out noise.

ADD: These Plants to Your Space to Help You Sleep Better
nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

For the living room, that felt empty and cold, she chose wood blinds to add extra depth and a feeling of hominess. And the best part? Her landlord agreed to help pay for the upgrades. "If I could give any renter a piece of advice, it would be: don't be shy about asking the landlord for something that will stay," she tells us. "It's often in the renter's favor to ask for things that will make the place better for you. And for the landlord, it's an investment in the space."

nadine abramcyk apartment
Credit: Natasha Jahangir

INVEST IN KEY PIECES

Just because you're renting a space, doesn't mean you can't splurge on something you know you'll want (and need) for a while. For Abramcyk, it was the dining room table their dreams, designed by Charlotte Perriand, and a set of seven Miss chairs designed by Scarpa. "Since we aren't doing any permanent work on this rental we were able to spend our budget on pieces we'll be taking with when we leave."

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