I’ve had this blog post brewing for a bit now, and given this is our last week renting (yay!!!) I thought I should post now before the move!
Since leaving home I’ve moved around a lot, living predominately in rented accommodation be it university dorms, apartments or houses.
Though renting can give you the flexibility to not be tied down, or save you some of the headaches associated with home ownership (repairs, taxes etc), it also means you’re limited in what you can do to the property you’re living in.
So if you can’t plant a garden or paint the walls black, here are a few ideas as to how you can make any rented accommodation feel like home. A lot of these suggestions are no brainers, however when you start to thoughtfully pull together all these different elements; you’ll be surprised how easy it is to create a cohesive look for your living space (even if you can’t alter the structure itself) with these decorating tips.
If painting is a no go, there are other options for decorating your walls: tapestries, posters, framed art prints or photographs, vinyl wall decals (be careful with this one and do your research first on ease of removal!) and more.
Have a huge ugly ass wall you need to cover up? A tapestry will do the job. Lightweight, available in a range of different sizes, and pretty much in any design or motif you could dream up.
I’m a big fan of tapestries, we’ve used a tapestry (actually the Foggy Forest Creek one shown below) to breakup the varying shades of brown in our bedroom and to create more of an ‘us’ vibe in the space.
It was super easy to put up as well. We used very small nails in the corners and a few running across the top, and it’s stayed put without issue and will be easy to remove without damage to the overall paint job in the room.
The cheap and cheerful option beloved of many a college or university dorm room. If you’re concerned with this looking too juvenile, opting for well designed posters will help you avoid looking like you’ve torn apart the pages of Teen Beat magazine (OT: The Teenage Bedroom Tumblr is the best. Must dig up some of my 90’s photos of my room and submit!)
Anyway, I really love re-imagined film posters like these Studio Ghibli ones –
As for how to put posters up – Blu tack can be a decent option to use, but be mindful – it can sometimes leave a slight stain, which depending on how long ago your walls were painted, can range from easy to pretty involved to remove.
Whatever you do though, above all AVOID TAPE!
It may seem like a super easy way to put up posters or photos but you’ll save yourself a ton of grief if you don’t use it from the get go. No matter how carefully you intend to remove it later on, tape can and will destroy both painted or wallpapered walls.
Losing a damage deposit because of accidentally peeling off paint or ripping wallpaper sucks. Trust me on this one!
FRAMED PRINTS & PHOTOGRAPHS
I upped my game and traded in posters several years ago for framed prints and photographs and haven’t looked back. It instantly makes where you’re living feel more permanent and grown-up. Interesting second hand or vintage frames will also lend a ton of character to any dwelling.
In North America, it’s pretty standard that apartment walls are generally given a fresh coat of paint when a tenant moves out, but you’ll still want to be careful not to create massive holes in the walls when you put your pictures up. There are other options like command stripes, but having never tried them personally I can speak to how well they work.
Depending where you’re renting you might be able to change the light shade on ceiling lights easily. If not additional floor lamps or room lighting of your own can help alter the ambience, as well as candles (plus they smell amazing if you get scented ones).
If you’re not planning on any huge out of the country moves, investing in interesting pieces of furniture as you go a long can be a great way to define your style in your home. Whether saving for a piece from Restoration Hardware or refurbishing a second hand find, this is an excellent and practical option.
“That rug really tied the room together, did it not?”
I’m pretty obsessed with the Big Lebowski, so rugs have become an essential piece in our home (great to hide odd laminate flooring or disguise groddy carpets).
Other textiles fantastic to add character and easy to move with: interesting blankets, vibrant duvet covers, unique pillows, weirdy throws and more.
These are just a few decorating tips and ideas to get you going. I always found it kind of weird and comforting at the same time with being able to reassemble my home no matter where I went because of the textiles, prints and other items that would come with me – making home where ever I might lay my head.