Renting can be frustrating for a large variety of reasons- not only do you not actually own the place you are paying for every month, but, landlords dependent, you can’t always just do whatever you want with the space. With that being said, you also may not want to put the time, money and effort into doing whatever you want with the space, because the permanency of a rental can be taken away from you in a snap (especially here in the Vancouver housing market, where everything is selling for ridiculous prices and more and more people are wanting to list their place).
We are in our second place since we flew the coop (aka my parents house, haha) in November of 2013. Our first apartment was great for a first apartment. It was very small, but that was fine because we basically owned nothing house-wise after years of traveling, living in New Zealand, and then living at the camp we worked at together. Other than my own office area, I didn’t put a ton of effort into decorating that place because we didn’t have a ton of extra money at the time, and we also didn’t really have a “style” when it came to home decor yet, so it was basically just a mishmash of furniture we grabbed out of necessity at IKEA one day.
We lived there for a year and a half, completely outgrew the space and lack of storage in our first apartment, and eventually moved into a place with much more space. We’ve been here for almost a year, and we have finally started putting some time and effort into decorating the kitchen, bathroom and living room. My office was decorated from day one because I thrive off an inspiring workspace, but other than that, our house has been pretty plain up until now. With the addition of a few pieces, our once boring, beige living room now looks like a whole new space… and I’m loving it!
how to decorate a rental
1) Create a gallery wall
I have a gallery wall in my office and am working on one for my living room. Lots of people don’t hang pictures or anything in a rental because they don’t want to wreck the walls, but if you use Command strips, you don’t have to worry about holes in the wall! Now get picture-hanging ;)
2) Create an accent wall with wall decals
It may not be doable for you to stencil and paint an amazing accent wall like the ones you can find on Pinterest, however, you can definitely create an accent wall in a rental without messing up the paint or drywall. Urban Walls creates easy on/easy off wall decals that aren’t your usual tacky looking wall decals- they have gorgeous gold polka dots (I used to have these ones in my office), donuts (YES, DONUTS!), really beautiful quotes (no tacky font usage here! I want this one so bad!). They really are easy on/easy off, and I had no problems removing them from my walls when we moved out of our last place.
3) Mix and match colors and patterns to brighten up a boring, beige space
It’s highly likely that the place you’re renting is all beige everything (my worst nightmare), because for some reason that awful color is the chosen one for all rentals and new houses. Why can’t a super light grey or white be the norm? A girl can dream… Anyways, you may not be up for painting your place or your landlord just may not be cool with you painting it, so you’ll have to live with the beige. You can make yourself feel a little better about this by going with more neutral colors for your furniture (grey, black, white) and adding in pops of color and patterns with pillows, throw blankets, curtains, etc.
4) Invest in a large area rug
Continuing on with the last tip, investing in a large area rug will help cover a lot of that awful beige carpet and will bring so much life to your living room, bedroom or office. I have a giant one from Mohawk Home (the second one I’ve owned! Their rugs are such great quality and I love the fun patterns you can get them in) that takes up the majority of my living room. Before getting this rug, my living room looked like it was bare and missing something, but adding this rug in has just tied everything together. PS – my exact rug is on major sale at Kohls right now, as well as lots of others!
5) Don’t feel like you have to commit to a super specific color scheme
I did this with our first place when it came to buying stuff for the bathroom and kitchen, and I eventually fell out of love with the color schemes I’d initially decided on. Also, when we moved into our new place, a bunch of the stuff didn’t match the paint colors in here… so there’s that. I definitely recommend choosing stuff that you’re going to use for the long-term in more neutral tones, and then adding pops of color or patterns here and there that can easily be changed out as your style changes- without breaking the bank!
6) Buy some flowers
Flowers give any room an instant pick-me-up. As much as I love fresh flowers, it gets expensive buying them weekly, so instead, I invest in high quality artificial floral arrangements that almost look real (look how pretty these are). I mean, you’re never going to totally fool someone, but they don’t scream fake when you first look at them and they give me the happy feels that real flowers do!
Shop my decor style
Do you have any tips on how to decorate a rental?