Neighborhood News – Valkommen Andersonville! Swedish roots, equality and ‘Mayberry on the Lake!‘

Located on the north end of a vibrant Clark Street, between 4900 and 5800 N. Clark Street, bordering the Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods, Andersonville, as the Chamber of Commerce website notes, is known for its Swedish roots, historic architecture, and the Swedish-American Museum. It’s also home to the annual Midsommarfest in June and the St. Lucia Festival of Lights in December. It is also home to Chicago’s largest LGBTQ+ populations, Andersonville “is a community full of pride and a commitment to equality.”

Andersonville’s roots as a community extend well back into the 19th century. According to EastAndersonville.org, when immigrant Swedish farmers started moving north into what was then a distant suburb of Chicago. In the 1850’s the area, now known as East Andersonville, was a large cherry orchard, and families had only begun to move into the fringes of the area. Andersonville’s Wikipedia page notes that the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 2010.

While its roots are Swedish, Andersonville is also recognized as the “shop local capital of Chicago,” supporting the largest network of local and independent businesses in the area, such as Women and Children First Bookstore 

Like Mayberry? Really?

Yes! According to EastAndersonville.org, amid historic houses and urban parks, Andersonville has become a magnet for all kinds of families. There is a strong sense of unity in the neighborhood, a friendliness that has led more than one observer to note, “It’s sort of like Mayberry!” For a sprawling urban community to be named in the same sentence as the fictional, placid town of ‘The Andy Griffith Show, ‘ that’s saying something in this day and age.

Keeper of the flame: The Swedish-American Museum

According to its website, for more than 40 years, the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark Street, interprets the immigrant experience for children and adults and promotes an appreciation of contemporary Swedish-American culture. They also provide genealogical research for those who wish to explore their Swedish roots.

Celebrating Swedish Women Artists 

From now through Monday, January 2, the Museum’s Raoul Wallenberg Gallery presents ‘Landscapes, Immigrants and Female Artists of the 20th Century’From the Vault explores artwork from twelve different artists, each with a unique background and connection to the Swedish/Swedish-American community. Women and minority artists are often under-represented in museum collections, and the Swedish-American Museum vows, “the artwork on display is a representation of the work the Museum has collected over time and explores missing perspectives. and we recognize is important to acknowledge these holes in our collection.”

The Swedish-American Museum, Gallery & Store is open Tuesday – Friday, from 10am- 4pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am -4 pm. For admission and more information, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – A Side of Spooky Sass at Ed Debevic’s

Nearly 40 years ago, the first Ed Debevic’sopened in River North to rave reviews and the World’s Smallest Sundae. (Yes, really)

The 50’s-style diner served up comfort food like none other…freshly baked buns, milkshakes made with premium ice cream, and freshly peeled french fries. Not to mention their meatloaf, hot turkey blue plate special, freshly baked pies, and other diner delights. For parents, it was a chance to relive memories of their childhoods at the malt shop. 

But the real reason why Ed’s became so popular was because of the obnoxious, costumed wait staff, with named like ‘Cherry Bomb’ and ‘Lenny’ who took snark to a new level, insulting patrons at every turn, and dropping everything to perform seemingly random dances to 60’s hits (loved the guy who played Tom ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ Jones!) I still have memories of one waitress singing Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’ to my Dad on our first visit there.

In time, they earned their reputation as the self-proclaimed ‘Chicago’s most famous retro-themed diner.’

Ed’s thrived for a long time, but in 2015, they shut down. Fortunately for Chicago, they reopened in 2020 at a new River North location, ready to make memories for a new generation of fans.

Not much has changed but the prices, it seems.  They are definitely 2022-style. Even their World’s Smallest Sundae is $4.34. But worth it! 

You can have the Ed’s experience for breakfast lunch and dinner. At breakfast, It’s No Yolk is a healthy and flavorful combination of egg whites, spinach, marinated portobellos, roasted red peppers, home fries, and a choice of toast, while hearty skillets include the Tex-Mex, with home fries, choice of egg, Monterrey jack cheese, bacon, atomic mix, guacamole, sour cream, and cilantro. Appetizers include Outrageous Fries…crinkle cut or sweet potato fries with cheese sauce, chopped scallions, crumbled bacon, aged cheddar and parmesan. Fried Cheese Curds areWisconsin’s Finest with your choice of ranch or green goddess dressing. Oooey, gooey sandwiches include Eddie’s BBQ Pulled Pork with coleslaw, choice of classic or tangy Carolina BBQ sauce, and served on a bun, while Rye Me! layerspastrami, deli mustard, and pickle slice, served on rye. Ed’s Mom’s Meatloaf Sandwich isserved with lettuce, heirloom tomato, Ed’s special sauce, and onion strings, served on grilled sourdough bread. 

And then, there are the burgers, in your choice of beef, turkey or impossible meat. 

Besides the usual suspects, there is the  Patty Melt, on grilled rye, with grilled onions, Ed’s special sauce, and American cheese. Or the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, topped with lettuce, heirloom tomato, onion, pickle slice, bacon, BBQ sauce, and aged cheddar. 

Spooky Saturdays at Ed’s 

Every Saturday during the month of October, Ed Debevic’s invites you to “Come in your best Wednesday Addams & Cousin Itt digs this Saturday as we sing, dance, and get a little creepy. We’ll have a live DJ, trivia, & even some kooky prizes.”

One Google reviewer wrote:

“We came for bottomless mimosa brunch on Saturday morning and were not disappointed. The food was actually really good. The service was horribly good thanks to Grundle, who was so sassy and kept topping off our mimosas to the literal top edge of our glasses. Definitely got our $20 worth of mimosas.”

Restaurant Guru published this fawning tribute:

“(I) Always say dining out is about the experience as much as the food…this is one of my all time favorites. The food and the experience are awesome! I had the bbq bacon cheeseburger. The bun, bacon, sauce, and burger were excellent. The sauce was kind of a Carolina fold mustard style and it makes a mess! The fries were good, but the burger was so big I couldn’t eat many fries. With that messy burger it’s a good thing my waiter threw a few napkins at me. And eventually even slammed down a container of silverware while walking by. The staff is truly snarky…and it’s awesome. We heard our waiter tell the table next to us she ate weird. “ 

Another waiter told some kids waiting to be seated with their parents to “follow me you little brats.” 

And one waitress climbed onto the deejay booth to deliver this message:

“Attention guests, eat and get out has been our motto since 1984. If you’re done eating and you’ve paid your check get out of here. There’s people up front waiting for the same crappy experience you had.” 

Ed Debevic’s is located at 159 E. Ohio Street. They do take pains to tell you that their “hours are subject to change when we feel like it! Maybe call ahead before you get here.” That said, their posted hours are Monday-Sunday, 8am-9pm. Reservations are pretty much required, and can be made by clicking here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Morning Habits that will make your day better

We have talked often about how to get a better night’s sleep, but haven’t really delved into how we get up. The things you do first thing in the morning can have a big impact on the rest of your day. So, follow these tips to start your morning with a bang!

Do not, no matter how tempting, hit the snooze button. You don’t realize it, but you set yourself up to be stressed and late. You’re groggy and less productive because hitting the snooze repeatedly wakes you from a deep sleep. If you can’t resist it, place your alarm across the room so that you must get up. Use a regular alarm, not your phone!

The next thing is something many of us do as soon as we wake up: check our phones. My advice? Don’t! It can awaken your anxiety and inner critic. You see how much you have to do that day and think how can I possibly get all this done? Try to plan your day the night before so when you rise you can take a few minutes to meditate or journal. Even put your clothes out for the next morning. That’s a recipe for a calm morning.

So, I’m sure you wake up to a pot of coffee ready for you. Wait! It’s been at least 6, hopefully 8 hours since you had a drink of water. Your body is dehydrated. Drink an 8–12-ounce glass of water upon rising and suffer fewer headaches, have less fatigue, and your skin will love you. Don’t worry, you can still have that coffee. Coffee has beneficial antioxidants and can stabilize your mood. But too much can make you jittery and give you headaches and even withdrawal symptoms. Stick with 2-3 cups and be consistent. As far as energy drinks go, NO! They have so many chemicals and can be addicting.

Always eat something healthy in the morning. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown meal but should contain some protein like eggs or cottage cheese, fruit, and some complex carbs like healthy cereal. If you need to eat on the run, have some nuts with some cream cheese rollups. Spread some softened cream cheese on slices of ham and roll up around a whole wheat pretzel rod. Drink some V-8 or tomato juice. Stay away from sweets like donuts and pastries that will have you crashing mid-morning.

Finally, early risers are happier and more productive than those who go to bed late. They tend to be more proactive and are better able to anticipate and minimize problems. You can make a habit of rising earlier. Take it slow, go to bed ½ hour earlier and get up ½ hour earlier. Each week, increase the time until you get to where you want to be!

Check out https://miraclemorning.com. Hal Elrod has written a wonderful book about how you can make the most of your morning.

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Should You Expand Your Present Home, or Move to a Larger Home?

Should you move or improve? That is the million dollar question.

When your family is growing, or you begin questioning whether or not those little quirks in your home are still charming, you may start to wonder whether you should move to a larger home or simply invest in renovating it.

Your home no longer fits your needs, and you can’t go on denying this fact any longer. Regardless of what these needs are, a decision needs to be made – one that is worth a ton of money.

Here is some sound advice to help you decide what route is best for you.

Find Out if You’re Legally Able to Expand

First of all, you need to make sure you’re even legally able to expand your home. Find out if the community you live in allows additions, and what the limits are on how large a house can be relative to the size of the land it sits on. If your home is already as big as it can legally be, an addition is essentially off the table.

Instead, you’ll need to work within the footprint you’ve already got, or you’ll have to relocate.

Will an Addition Make Financial Sense?

If you find out that you are legally able to expand your home, your next task is to determine whether or not such a decision is a good financial move.

Get yourself a cost estimate to find out what the price tag will be like to make the changes to your home that you have in mind. Once you’ve got that number, figure how much the addition would add to the value of your home. Then compare this new value with comparable prices of similar homes in your neighborhood. It may just be that you won’t get a decent return on your investment.

While having a larger home would certainly accommodate your needs, you don’t want to expand to the point where your home is basically the elephant on the block. You don’t want to have a home that’s twice the size of all the other homes on the street – the value simply won’t be there.

You need to strategically decide if your investment will still be worth that much a few years down the road. For instance, you don’t want to put $250,000 into your home when it won’t even be worth $200,000 in five years.

Neighborhoods can only support so much cost for a specific home. If home buyers have $400,000 to spend on a house, they’ll most likely look to an area that is made up predominantly of other $400,000 homes, instead of $250,000 homes.

Just make sure that you are bringing your home up to – or only slightly above – the standards in your area. If that’s the case, renovating just might be a great idea from a financial point of view. But if your home is already the biggest, nicest home on the block, expanding it even more probably won’t result in any payback on resale.

Make Sure the Renovation Will Boost Your Home’s Value

Whatever remodeling job you decide to pour your money into, make sure it will add value to your property. This can help offset the expense of the job you plan on taking on. Speak with a seasoned real estate agent who is experienced in buying and selling in your particular neighborhood. He or she will be able to give you pointers about what upgrades hold the most value in the are, and which ones don’t.

For instance, if most of the houses in the area are 3-bedroom homes, and yours only has 2, it would probably make sense to add that extra bedroom to bump up the value of your property. On the other hand, if the majority of the homes on the block are ranch-style bungalows, and you decide to add a second to your home, you might not be able to recoup that investment money come sale time. It simply depends on what buyers in your specific neighborhood hold value to.

Some renovation jobs bring back a sizable return on every dollar spent, while others don’t. Do the math on your particular renovation job to determine if the return on investment is a healthy one.

This is a matter of land value versus structure value. It’s the land that appreciates the most – the house not so much.

When Moving Makes More Sense

There are a ton of things you can do to your home to improve or upgrade it. But there are certain things that cannot be changed – namely, the location. Analyze the size of your land, the schools in the area, the greenery, and other factors – these are things that can’t be altered. If you can’t live with these factors, then moving probably makes the most sense.

Not being a fan of your neighborhood isn’t the only thing that might prompt you to start house hunting, either. Maybe your home was built decades ago when lead paint and asbestos were the norm in home construction. These are things you definitely don’t want to touch, especially when renovating.

And while moving might not necessarily be easier than renovating, it’s definitely a lot faster. It’s simply a matter of what would make the most financial sense for you, what would ultimately cause the least amount of stress, and what would provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.

A house, while still an investment, is really all about lifestyle first and foremost. The decision to move versus renovate is comes down to this: will your existing home – after renovated – make you and your family happy? If not, and you can afford something different, then moving might be the right decision.

Just make sure this decision is not made without the help of professionals, like a contractor, financial advisor, and real estate agent.

2022 Taco Day

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THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Experiencing the Joys of the Fall Season!

Nothing says Autumn more than apples, ciders, fall fests, pumpkin patches, cool temps, and the month of October!  Come join us this weekend and experience the joys of the Fall Season!!

The 35th annual Apple Fest returns to the Lincoln Square neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) on Lincoln Avenue between Lawrence and Wilson Avenues for one apple-filled weekend.  Checkout this year’s menu of apple inspired dishes and ciders as well as shopping for your Fall essentials at the festival’s marketplace of 50+ vendors.  Plus, catch live music performances from local musicians and bring the kids for seasonal activities!  Apple Fest is a long-standing tradition in Lincoln Square and there’s no better way to welcome in autumn!!

Fall Fest returns to Athletic Field Park (3546 W. Addison St.) in the Irving Park neighborhood this Saturday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) for a fall-themed, jam-packed day of family fun.  Activities include a pumpkin patch, scarecrow making, train and pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatable games, a balloon artist, live music, delicious food, beverages, and more!  Entry to Fall Fest is FREE; however, ticket costs are $1 per ticket, 12 tickets for $10, and 25 tickets for $20.

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up returns to its two-acre plot just west of Goose Island at 1265 W. Le Moyne Street in the River West neighborhood now through October 31st.  Save a trip to the suburbs as this pop-up is home to over 10,000 pumpkins at its epic pumpkin patch with every size and shape to find your perfect pumpkin.  It also hosts the best corn maze in the City of Chicago!  Plus, it brings ax throwing, food trucks, carnival games, dozens of interactive games, props for photo ops, twinkling orange light displays, and more fall fun to the city for your enjoyment and making memories!!

Celebrate Oktoberfest at Millennium Hall this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) at 11 N. Michigan Avenue in The Loop.  Millennium Hall’s Double Clutch Plaza is hosting this event and your ticket comes with one free Double Clutch beer, and the first 100 guests will receive a free mug!  Besides German beer and bites, other activities include corn hole, Big Jenga, lots of swag, face painting, raffles, and so much more!!

Shop from over 60 juried artists and artisans at the Lincoln Roscoe Fall Art & Craft Fair this Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) on Lincoln Avenue between Roscoe and School Streets in the Lakeview neighborhood.  This free, new northside event features a variety of all handmade art at various price points which includes ceramics, sculptures, paintings, fashion wearables, jewelry, and more.  Festival food, live music, interactive art activities for the kids, and a broad selection of brews curated by Bitter Pops for purchase round out this event!  Plus, dogs are welcome if they’re leashed and friendly!!

The 7th annual WingOut Chicago returns to St. Michael’s parking lot (1633 N. Cleveland Ave.) in the Old Town neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-8 p.m.).  This outdoor, chicken wing block party offers all-you-can-eat wings from some of the top vendors in the city.  Patrons can indulge in over 20 varieties of flavors such as Classic Buffalo, Honey Chili, Jerk, Wood Smoked, Spicy Garlic, Asian Ginger, Southern BBQ, Habanero Hot and more!  Plus, new for 2022, there are more ways to WingOut with additional food vendors, expanded festival area, extended hours, more live music, and the return of the Emmy-nominated host of Hot Ones, Sean Evans!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago’s Neighborhood News – Lincoln Park: So much more than a Zoo!

Most people know Lincoln Parkas the home of the only free-admission zoo in North America. Or, they know the great Chicago History Museum and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Or DePaul University, the largest Catholic university in the U.S. Or the amazing restaurants, clubs, and concert venues. 

Sadly, it’s still home to Lincoln Park Towing, 4882 N. Clark Street, aka, the ‘Lincoln Park Pirates.

Lincoln Park, notes Wikipedia, has Chicago’s only 3-Michelin star restaurant, Alinea. The Lettuce Entertain You restaurant empire started at R.J. Grunts at 2056 N. Lincoln Park West. Bordered on the north by Diversey Parkway, on the west by the Chicago River, on the south by North Avenue, and on the east by Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park communities includes Lincoln Central, Mid-North, Old Town Triangle, Park West, RANCH Triangle, Sheffield, and Wrightwood Neighbors.  The area also includes the Clybourn Corridor retail district.

It wasn’t always the shopping, dining, entertainment and educational mecca that it is today. And certainly it wasn’t one of the wealthiest communities in Chicago. According to Wikipedia sources, in 1824, the United States Army built a small post near what is now Clybourn Avenue and Armitage Avenue. “There were Native American settlements existed along Green Bay Trail, now called Clark Street (named after George Rogers Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame), at the current intersection of Halsted Street and Fullerton Avenue. Immigrants came in the 20th Century, from Eastern Europe and Italy. Later, Lincoln Park was the scene of the ‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’ on February 14, 1929, when seven mob associates and a mechanic were shot to death in an automobile garage at 2122 N. Clark Street.” 

Golfing in Winter at Diversey Driving Range 

Yes, Lincoln Park Zoo is open year-round. But that’s not all the outdoor fun you can have in the middle of winter. Golf fanatics  can golf year-round at the Diversey Driving Range & Miniature Golf, 141 W. Diversey Parkway, open daily from 7am – 11pm. The last sale at 10pm, according to their website. The course, which opened in 1916, now boasts a synthetic turf range, two putting greens, a miniature golf range, and multiple covered heated hitting mat areas. Additionally, the upper hitting deck offers views of Lake Michigan, Diversey Harbor, Lincoln Park Zoo, and downtown! For more information, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review—Everyone deserves a ‘Mammoth Poke’ on September 28

Little did we know that poke—a Hawaiian welcome snack/comfort food bowl made with seafood, fresh vegetables, and other proteins, has its own National Poke Day. Poke (pronounced POH-keh), according to the Scalevt.com, means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian, referring to cubes of marinated sushi grade fish which is then tossed over rice and topped with Asian- inspired sauces.

Let me be the first to welcome you to National Poke Day…Wednesday, September 28! While there are many poke restaurants in Chicago in which to celebrate, only one has a perfect Google rating of 5.0 over more than 140 reviews. 

Enter Bucktown’s Mammoth Poke, a small, casual, family-owned storefront restaurant with a big reputation for flavorful combinations of poke, as well as their Sushi Burritos. 

Most popular on their small menu are their Build Your Own Protein Bowls. Start with your choice of brown rice, mixed greens, sushi rice, tortilla chips or noodles, followed by your choice of one, three or five scoops of your choice of ahi tuna, fresh salmon, cooked shrimp, tofu, or spicy versions of tuna, salmon or shrimp. Then, mix in your choice of sweet onions, jalapeno, green onions, cilantro or crunchy garlic. Move next to a flurry of sweet and savory fresh vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, seaweed salad, crab salad, mango, pineapple, and a host of other choices. Finally, finish off your flavorful, healthy bowl with a special sauce…your choice of Hawaiian Poke, garlic aioli, spicy mayo, or lemon miso dressing, among many others. 

If a poke bowl isn’t to your taste, Mammoth Poke’s Sushi Burrito might just capture your tastebuds. While the burritos are all wrapped with roasted seaweed, sushi rice, avocado, cucumber, scallions, red cabbage, carrot, spicy mayo, sweet soy sauce and crunchy onions, your choices here include two proteins (see above).

Reviews of Mammoth Poke are universally rapturous. 

“Sooo yummy & filling!!” wrote one reviewer on Restaurantji. “Plus the prices aren’t outrageous. You get a lot of food for your money too! The ingredients are so fresh and the store looks very clean. Also the workers are super helpful at suggesting ingredients and what they think would taste good in your bowl. I had the poke bowl with ahi tuna and my fiancé had the sushi burrito with ahi tuna and shrimp tempura. So good! We also had the miso soup which was delicious! Great spot for a quick easy dinner!”

“I was craving poke one day but poke spots are few and far in between on the west side. Lo and behold, came to mammoth poke and my craving was satisfied. Clean for dine in, good value, and lots of options (esp sauce – gotta have good sauce with my poke). It was a bigger poke bowl than most places IMO and I didn’t leave hungry. A very welcomed addition to the neighborhood!”

Mammoth Poke is located at 2035 N. Western Avenue. They are open daily from 11am– 9pm. No reservations are required. For more information, including delivery and ordering online, click here.  

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Fall landscape

Wow! A few days ago, it was in the high 80’s. Now, it’s 65 with lows in the 50’s! Fall is definitely here. Of course, there will be more days in the 80’s (that’s Chicago for you), but we need to get our landscape moving towards cooler weather. 

This is the best time to plant grass seed. It will have time to get established before winter and the cooler temperatures will have it thriving. 

Add some topsoil to the lawn to encourage the seed growth and help the old lawn to recover from some of the summer heat. Spread the soil out as evenly as you can and work it in with the back of a rake. Throw out more seed than you think you’ll need, because half of it will end up as bird food. Water it well and moisten every day until it germinates. This usually takes 7 days but can also take up to 14. 

It’s wise to start fertilizing now. Choose a fertilizer that is good for root development, not weed control. Weed control fertilizers can prevent your grass from germinating. Fertilizers are graded according to the ratio of nutrients. The three nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Look for a higher middle number on the fertilizer. That’s phosphorus and encourages root growth. Use a granular fertilizer as it will release over time. 

It’s also the best time for tree and shrub planting! Again, they will have time to establish. Follow  planting and mulching instructions closely. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep mulch away from the trunks and stems. They need to breathe, and too much mulch too close can encourage insects and vermin. Water, water, water! Do so until the ground freezes. The best way to do this is to let an open hose trickle a foot or so away from the trunk. Let it go at least an hour and do this twice a week until the ground freezes. 

As the garden plants are spent, remove them, don’t compost them. They may have diseases or insects that you are not aware of and it’s better to not take a chance. Smooth out the soil and add compost. We use mushroom compost, and it seems to work well. Lay down half of the compost and work it into the soil. Spread the other half over the top to discourage any weed seeds from germinating. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Ways to Customize Your Rental Unit Without Picking Up a Paint Brush

Just because you don’t own the place you’re currently living in doesn’t mean you have to put up with boring neutral forever. While rentals can pose a number of challenges – from the ugly floors to the outdated light fixtures – there are plenty of ways that you can customize your space and really make it your own, even with stark white or barely beige walls.

Here are a few things you might want to try out that don’t require a paint brush.

Art Extravaganza

If you don’t feel like painting your walls – or have been told you’re not allowed to – there is still a way to breathe life into bare walls, including adding your favorite art work. Gallery walls are hugely popular these days, and involve grouping art pieces together by the bunch, rather than hanging just one solitary piece.

Using art makes it incredibly easy to create an accent wall, and you don’t even necessarily have to hammer nails into the wall either. Choose pieces that are lightweight, which can be easily supported using sticky strips that will never leave a hole or any other mark behind. For lots of color, use paintings and photos with tons of texture. To go the more sophisticated route, stick to abstracts and black-and-white pieces in simple frames.

Dress Your Windows

Odds are the windows in your rental unit are covered in outdated, cheap plastic blinds that are nothing more than an eye-sore. Take them down (carefully) and outfit your windows with something a little more contemporary, such as floor-length curtains or roman shades. You can replace the original blinds if and when you move out.

Just choose something that will go well with the rest of the decor in the space. Window treatments are awesome for rooms that need a little something extra, and for drawing attention away from flooring that you’re not too keen on as they help draw the eye upward.

Cover Up With Area Rugs

The easiest and fastest way to deal with scuffed up hardwood or hideously outdated linoleum flooring is to add stylish area rugs throughout the space. Even if the unit is lined with wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s still OK to pile area rugs on top. In fact, it’s a huge trend these days.

Area rugs not only help cover up unattractive floors, they also help infuse color and texture into any rental unit. Feel free to mix colors and textures together to really create a unique space.

Furnish With Modular Pieces

Consider outfitting you rental unit with modular furniture pieces that you can quickly and easily customize to adequately fit your space. For example, try adding a sectional sofa that can be split up into separate chairs or even a loveseat.

Sectionals have made quite the comeback lately, and are no longer reserved for the 1980s. Other modular furniture ideas include multi-level coffee tables, and cube-shaped shelving cubicles. These pieces are versatile, modern, and can easily fit into even the smallest of rooms.

Replace Your Light Fixtures

You don’t have to suffer staring at the outdated light fixtures that your rental unit came with. Instead, take them down, store them carefully, and replace them with more modern, attractive pieces. And don’t just limit your space with only one ceiling light fixture – instead, mix things up.

In addition to a chandelier, add other light fixtures like floor lamps, heavy table lamps, wall sconces, and pendants lamps. Mix up the shade types, width, height and metals as well to add variety.

Just because you don’t exactly own the place doesn’t mean you have to live with the way it was when the previous tenants were there. This is now your home, for however long you decide, so decorate it to your liking with these easy tips so you can enjoy every square inch, and be proud of the space you’re in.