Guest Picks: Assemble a Summer Rental Survival Kit
Canvas drop cloths are your best friend! The natural fiber, large size and low price make these the workhorse in the summer rental. Toss them over bad couches and chairs for an instant slipcover, use them as curtains, cut them to size to drape over ugly coffee and dining tables.
Clip-on rings paired with canvas drop cloths equals instant chic and pretty curtains.
Bare floors are best in a summer rental, but if you need rugs, choose natural indoor/outdoor ones. You can find really inexpensive ones locally or order a couple of these online.
Summer rentals are the place to have fun with your decor. Add color to the neutral backdrop you created with drop cloths and natural rugs. I would get several indoor/outdoor pillows from World Market.
Change the lampshades. A basic white shade can freshen up a tired lamp instantly.
Add a few cozy throws for cool nights. This cute orange chevron one coordinates with the toss pillows from World Market.
Scrub the bathrooms and add your own shower curtain and bath mats. Choose something fun for the summer that you don't have back in the city.
Buy a ton of all-white towels. The Better Homes and Gardens brand at Walmart is great quality for the price. All white makes for an easy wash day: Just toss them in the machine with bleach to keep them looking fresh.
Add new bathroom rugs underfoot. White rugs are great, but I love this fun chevron rug too.
Bring your own sheets. All white is best. Tip: If you need to buy towels and linens, do one-stop shopping at your favorite big-box store.
Get rid of faded, ugly rental house bedspreads and comforters. Replace them with simple white summer blankets. Tip: Store all the things you edit in the bags and boxes you bring the new things in. Hide them away somewhere until you need to put them back when you leave.
No summer rental ever has unchipped dishes. Sort through and choose the best. Add a set or two of inexpensive white dinnerware. No paper plates, please.
Ditto for glassware. I like a good looking acrylic glass that will mix in with anything for summer use.
Vintage flatware will mix in with odds and ends usually found in summer rentals. It's fun to peruse local flea markets and antique shops for your nest.
Oversize baskets are so great for storing everything from beach towels to dirty laundry to magazines and newspapers. Plus, they just look so good. Local discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls often have some for under $20.
You might think I am crazy, but bring a couple dozen nice white cotton napkins to your summer rental. A little luxury and refinement is so nice, even in a casual rustic setting. They are easier to care for than you think: Just toss them in that load of whites with bleach and air dry them for a no-iron casual look.
Get a couple of stacks of new dish towels to freshen up the kitchen in your summer rental.
Bring along new beach towels to your summer rental. They come in great fun patterns and colors. This one from Walmart reminds me of Missoni! I would buy a dozen.
Plastic outdoor furniture can be very cute. This armchair is sold in almost every hardware and grocery store during the summer. Get several colors for a fun designer look. Tip: You can use them inside and outside.
Every rental house has a couple of those cheap-o plastic chairs. Get this affordable padded slipcover to transform them for outdoor and indoor use. It comes in four great summer colors.Next: Steep Your Rental in Color — Without Painting the Walls
First you edit. Take down all artwork and remove musty rugs, window treatments and really bad furniture. Choose a vintage look for your makeover. This poster is the perfect jumping-off point to set the mood.