Welcome to the next installment of our Floor Tours series, where we step inside the spaces of some of our favorite design-world friends to chat all things rugs and decor and learn how they’ve turned their house into a home.
This week, we’re taking a look inside the Los Angeles-area condo of creator Rachel Valente. She and her husband have been living in the rental for nearly a year and a half, and have come up with all sorts of inventive solutions and DIYs to make the space feel cozy and homey—which is no easy feat for a rental! Keep reading to hear from Rachel, to take a look inside her space, and to get tons of inspiration for making a rental feel just like home. And don’t forget to give her a follow on Instagram to see even more amazing decor and DIY ideas!
Tell us about your style! How would you describe your aesthetic?
I love earthy, neutral colors and textures that imitate nature. In particular, greens, browns, beiges, terracotta, and sand shades make my home feel more organic and more calming! My style has definitely changed so much over the last year, transitioning from boho to midcentury modern, and now to what I call “earthy desert.” I love the idea of bridging indoor and outdoor spaces and making a home feel like a place that combines the best of both.
What made you choose to move into this home?
We found this apartment on Facebook Marketplace at the very start of the pandemic. It was a chaotic time as my husband (then fiancé) and I were trying to finish college, plan our wedding, and find a place to live, all at once! We felt (and still feel!) so grateful to have found this condo; and honestly at that time, I didn’t even really care if it was perfect—I was just thankful to have somewhere to live.
Something we didn’t know we were looking for (but found!) was an amazing landlady who truly takes care of us and wanted us to make all 650 square feet feel like our home.
What has the process been like designing your space, and making it feel like a home?
Making a rental feel like home is challenging—just like with a home you own!—but in a different kind of way. I spent the first few months feeling sulky about all the things I couldn’t change, and it wasn’t until I changed my perspective that things really began to become beautiful.
Instead of dwelling on the things I can’t change, I have instead shifted my attitude towards improving and changing the things that I can. This has allowed me to share not-your-average renter tips, hacks, and DIYs for anyone living in a temporary place on a budget.
What are your favorite things to do at home? Is there a particular space you like to spend time in?
I love rearranging furniture (who doesn’t?) and creating content. My background in filmmaking has really made it so much fun to film Reels, shoot photos, and develop new ideas for future content.
My living room is definitely the place I spend the most time in, and my favorite space. It combines my home office nook, our comfy couch, and a quick and easy path to the kitchen so that snacks are always within reach.
What is your most treasured item in your home?
This is such a tough question! I love all my rugs and all my mugs. Textiles and texture are both so important to me, and anything that really adds that to a space is my favorite. I also love things that don’t seem super expensive or important, but actually add so much impact to your space. Rugs and mugs both do this!
We have to ask about your rugs! What rugs do you have from Rugs USA, and what made them the perfect fit for your space?
Every. Single. Rug. in my home is from Rugs USA (I’m a big fan, obviously!). I currently have the Ivory Abstract Graphic rug in the living room, the Tessa Geometric Indoor-Outdoor rug in beige in the outdoor patio, the Delilah Jute Geometric rug in the dining room, the Beige Wool Striped Flatweave rug in the bedroom, and the Natural Handwoven Chaste rug in the kitchen as a runner.
I first found Rugs USA when my husband and I moved into our condo. It was our first home together so we had zero furniture or rugs. We were also recent college grads and about to be married, so we were on a tight budget. I heard so much about Rugs USA and purchased all of our first rugs from here. After experiencing the high quality, variety, and budget-friendly options from Rugs USA, we’re devoted fans forever!
Let’s talk projects! What DIYs or renovations have you done in your home? What’s next on your to-do list?
Although our landlady recently renovated our kitchen, we haven’t personally done any structural renovations ourselves since we’re renting. However, we’ve painted the walls (our landlady had wanted to for a long time, so she let us do it!), have done plenty of DIYs, and made some reversible customizations to make this condo truly feel like home. A few of my favorite DIYs are our cane headboard, outdoor pallet seating, thrifted plaster dining table, and minimalist wood nightstands.
I’m not sure yet what’s next, but as we continue to customize and refresh the rooms in our home, I know there will be more DIYs involved!
Do you have any design tips you’ve discovered while decorating that you’re willing to spill?
1. Design from inspiration and intuition. Part of learning to design is observing inspiration that you find and implementing it, and the other part is following your own intuition because you will naturally design from what you love and know. Be open to following advice from others, but ultimately, follow your heart (for lack of a better cliche) because your home is where you dwell.
2. Make small and impactful changes. Sometimes a rug doesn’t feel like a major addition because it’s on the ground, but it can actually change an entire room. Sometimes that vase won’t make a big difference on this side, but it will on the other. Sometimes just changing the color of your sofa legs or the height of your curtains will transform the whole space. Always be on the lookout for small and impactful ways to elevate your home.
3. Have patience. I’m still learning so much about design and don’t have it altogether yet. But every time I get discouraged, I remember how long it takes to create your home, and how that’s ok! Be patient in the process and enjoy all the things you learn along the way.
Where do you love looking for inspiration?
Instagram is such a beautiful place to find inspiration from so many different people! Pinterest is also a great way to aggregate your design inspirations while you determine your own aesthetic. I also love looking at things in nature, coffee shops, museums, and even old design books from thrift stores—because even though their designs are sometimes outdated, a lot of their primary advice is timeless.
What do you love most about your home?
What I love most about my home is that it’s truly a home. I didn’t let renting or living in 650 square feet stop me from loving it. I love that it’s a place I rest, a place I work, and a place that protects me and gives me a space to create new memories and reminisce on old ones. Regardless of how “perfect” my condo will ever look and how put together things will ever feel, I’ll always be grateful it’s simply home.