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10 Tips for Rental Decorating

May 19, 2014 3 min read

Twenty years ago my perception was that rentals were for college roommates. You graduate, you go to college, you get a great job, and you're automatically approved to hear those magical words: "Congratulations, you're a homeowner." You can imagine how stunned I was to be abruptly taught a hard lesson in what 'credit' is.

Long after the years of college roommates and having entered the work force a large population of us still find ourselves simply renting a home and owning a memory. I'm here to share some tips for owning the design in your rental. What truly makes a home, after all, are the family, friends, pets, roommates, and the memories you share it with.

1. Wall color. This doesn't necessarily mean paint. Lots of landlords are restrictive of renters painting or have that golden rule of "you must paint it back to the original color." There are other ways to add some pizzazz without touching the paint, such as washi tape as removable decor or using heavy starch to adhere fabric to the walls. If you want the real thing, there is also such a thing as actual easy-to-remove wallpaper as well. Then there is always the option to paint if allowed. If you're one of the unfortunate souls who didn't inquire about the price of the paint to "paint it back" though, you may want to make some phone calls to find out. If your landlord used a custom paint color, you could find that your $30 makeover, may cost you double or even triple to repair. Just some friendly advice from a former Property Manager.

2. Washi tape. Speaking of washi tape, you might not believe some of the creative ways people are using this stuff! From DIY frames, to wall shelf trim, to furniture accents..... If it will adhere, it's happening. At roughly $3 a roll, it's a minimal investment that can yield a big impact.

3. Art. Small nail holes are usually acceptable in a rental space. Because art comes in so many different sizes and forms, you could literally cover every inch of your walls with something inspiring at any budget.

4. Shelving. In a small space, it's important to use vertical space as much as it is to decorate with purpose. Shelving adds more storage and also gives you space to display collections. Shelving in a landing strip could be a lifesaver by housing essential items needed for coming and going.

5. Under the bed storage. This should be a given, folks. Don't get me wrong - I love the look of a minimalist Scandinavian design. The pallet beds popping up on Pinterest are even a brilliant use of free recyclable materials, but you are forfeiting one of the best places of storage in your home! Storage under the bed is easily accessible (when there is proper clearance or risers involved) and it's the ideal location for storing seasonal clothing or extra linens that you may only need periodically. Please get those mattresses up off of the floor and take advantage of this prime [organization] real estate!

6. Functional Art. Refer to our post on Functional Art for decorating with your must-have collections and usable wares. Vases could house flowers or they could be a source of storage for pencils, cooking utensils, paint brushes, and even toilet paper.

7. PillowsPillows are for comfort, but with so many brilliant patterns and color choices, they are art in and of themselves. Ranging from $5-$100 a piece, you can find them in any budget and you can purchase or DIY covers to fit your needs. No damage or forfeiture of deposit required.

8. Give your furniture a facelift. Giving your furniture a facelift could mean out with the old, in with the new or it could mean revamping what you have currently. Take a well-loved wooden dresser, sand it down, and paint it a bright new color. A bold color against a white wall, or vice versa, can make a grand statement. Here again, you're not damaging the structure of your rental property and taking on a whole new look.

9. Change hardware. Just remember to change it back if you ever decide to move.

10. Make it your own. If you're not into refinishing furniture or you don't want to touch the walls, bring in something that makes the space your own (Like these adorable paint stick arrows).

It can be as simple as a "Hello Gorgeous" welcome mat or a quirky coffee mug collection displayed in the kitchen. Find pieces that you love and are unique toyou to add a personal touch to the space.

By: Samantha Palacio

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