Influencers are making six-figure sums by decorating their RENTAL apartments and sharing the results on social media: DC woman has been able to quit her job thanks to her DIY efforts
- Home décor influencers are raking in serious cash by upgrading their rentals
- Imani Keal estimates she’s earned about $80,000 through brand sponsorships
- Trend is on the rise as rent prices soar to record highs in many major cities
While homeowners have long viewed owning and renovating a house as a solid investment, some renters are discovering that upgrading their apartments can also be a path to earning serious cash.
Social media influencers who focus on interior design and décor are investing thousands on improving their rental apartments, and making it all back – and then some – through brand partnerships.
One popular influencer, Imani Keal, was able to quit her day job after making $10,000 worth of upgrades to her Washington DC studio rental, and in turn earning about $80,000 through sponsorship deals, she told the New York Times in an article published on Friday.
The Times reported that other renters who’ve spruced up their interiors net six-figure sums for doing so.
As she documented her efforts to spruce up her rental apartment, alongside helpful advice about dealing with landlords and leases, Keal developed a loyal following on her Instagram and TikTok pages.
Keal’s follower count exploded from hundreds to hundreds of thousands, drawing partnership deals with big-name firms such as Ikea, Walmart and the alcohol delivery service Drizly.
Influencer Imani Keal was able to quit her day job after making $10,000 worth of upgrades to her DC studio rental, and in turn earning about $80,000 through sponsorship deals
Keal told the Times that she first got serious about home décor in 2020, when stress from the pandemic made her small apartment feel even smaller.
She began taking long walks, picking up promising knick-knacks discarded on the curb by fleeing college students, and browsing hardware stores for inspiration.
‘I would be at Ace Hardware two to three times a day buying things I did not need because I did not have anything else to do,’ she told the newspaper.
As her social media following grew, so did the opportunities to upgrade the apartment with free sponsored perks.
In one case, Keal says she received a new faucet worth $6,000 for the kitchen sink through a collaboration with a sponsor.
Another video shows her updating her studio apartment’s drab overhead light fixture with a trendy bare-bulb multi-socket design.
‘When you’re ready to move out, you can always reinstall the old fixture and take the new one to your next apartment!’ Keal told her followers. ‘Happy Renting!’
Keal said she first got serious about home décor in 2020, when stress from the pandemic made her small apartment feel even smaller
As she documented her efforts to spruce up her rental apartment, alongside helpful advice about dealing with landlords and leases, Keal developed a loyal following
Keal says she received this new faucet worth $6,000 for the kitchen sink in her rental as a free perk through a collaboration with a sponsor
Agents who broker brand partnerships for influencers say earnings for such deals can range from a few thousand dollars to the low six figures.
For apartment renters, the extra cash can be a boon as rents in many cities surge to all-time highs.
In February, Manhattan rents hit a record-high median of $4,043, up 10.7 percent from a year ago, according to a Douglas Elliman report.
New York City as a whole has a median monthly rental price of $2,141, according to data collected by Earnest.
After New York, Boston is the most expensive to live in on the East Coast with an average of $1,950.
Los Angeles has an average monthly rental of $2,600. California dominates the top ten with San Jose, San Francisco and San Diego all with average rents higher than $2,000.
For apartment renters, the extra cash from social media partnerships can be a boon as rents in many cities surge to all-time highs
However, experts warn that there can be potential downsides to defraying rental costs by becoming a social media influencer focused on home décor.
For one thing, some may be uncomfortable broadcasting their living quarters for the world to see, and judge.
More seriously, some influencers have faced harassment and stalking, with strangers using small details from their homes or apartments to figure out where they live.
As for Keal, her social media posts show that after several years in her small studio, she’s now in the market for a larger rental apartment in DC.
She plans to take her followers along for the apartment search, and for the many upgrades to the new digs that are sure to follow.
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