This season is busy with new projects. Sometimes, in recent past, I’m involved in one or two major apartment renovations at a time (think: ripping out entire floors and building new walls). Maybe with the changing of the seasons, the current real estate market or the success in my mission that we can all love where(ver) we live, I have a current crop of clients—who are renters—looking to inject some much-needed style and substance into a space they do not own. After all, living in New York, renting an apartment or owning, is an American Dream. Make it your own.

There is a visceral pleasure to return to simple, direct and instant gratification “fixes” presented by the limitations in renting. While demo-ing bathrooms, adding stairs, or changing an entire floor plans will give a space major upgrades in its feel and utility, here is an important reminder that the power of smaller updates to totally transform a space is real. You do not need to own your space in order to live well in it.

The biggest possible impact? PAINT.

In this photo (BEFORE) the slight green undertone in the pale pink paint reads as chalky and was not doing anyone any favors. This gave the tiles (actually a lovely shade of deep camellia pink) a wan, somewhat sickly hue.

A bathroom is one of my favorite places to go bold. Bathrooms are everywhere! It may be the one place in your apartment where guests (and yourself) are alone. They often come with an ingrained “style” perspective. Its a great opportunity for propaganda of whatever type. Most landlords will not have a tenant playing with plumbing nor permit the changing of fixtures. The small size of most bathrooms makes painting them an easy-to-tackle project. Painting the bathroom (including the ceiling) can be accomplished in a weekend. A fresh color that plays well with existing tiles and fixtures will do a world of good in creating your spa-like haven at home.

Must-keeps that could potentially read as kitschy or dated—like pink tubs and foxed mirrors—can end up feel charming and fresh. Note: pick a color that you feel good naked in—I always suggest paint for my clients that are flattering to both mood and skin tone. Fresh white can be a safe bet, but picking a flattering blue, poppy, mango, or grey can be a challenge – I’d like to help with that so, give me a call.

Here is this same bathroom in the photo below (AFTER). The pink in the tiles was embraced by this juicy coral color. This same small space now has a bird-of-paradise glowing lushness to it. And as most rental bathrooms are notoriously difficult to photograph, this one is no exception. But it is not about getting this into Architectural Digest, but instead giving a sense of what real time, real solutions, quick upgrades can look like.