From unsightly lighting to poor bathrooms, decorating a rental can be fraught with challenges. Going against tenancy rules (such as painting the walls or putting down flooring) might add a dash of style, but in the long run, you’re likely to wind up with a disgruntled landlord and a lost deposit. Whether you’re dealing with ugly upholstery, frightful furniture or woeful walls, here’s how to make your rental look great while keeping your deposit (be sure to check with your landlord first before making any changes).
Decode Your Personal Style
If you haven’t done so already, find out what your preference of decor is. For some, this can seem like a lot of effort, but there is a point to decorating, even if you rent.
Your surroundings can directly affect your mood, so if your home is bringing you down, make it a sanctuary instead. From home decor blogs to your favorite hobbies, scour the internet for colors, shapes and patterns that you like and save them to Pinterest for future reference.
Declutter Your Space
Start with a clean slate by having a proper clear-out of any items you no longer want or need by recycling, disposing or donating as appropriate. Simplify the process by working room by room, or alternatively, take your cue from professional organizers like Marie Kondo and sort by category, making use of clever storage options (such as stylish baskets) to disguise any remaining useful (yet unsightly) items.
Use texture, color and shape to help build your look. Start with something simple such as a cozy throw, and add in more items as you go, such as books, plants and cushions.
Renters will be all too familiar with certain design features commonly found in rental properties. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to work around this, from colorful smart lighting to thrifted lamps and lampshades.
Wall Color Workarounds
Minimalism is chic, but whitewashed walls can look a little sparse, especially if you don’t have the option to drill or use paint and wallpaper. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can change the look of your walls without getting into trouble:
Wall Hangings: If your aesthetic is “boho chic”, embroidered or painted fabric tapestries look gorgeous. These can be hung using adhesive velcro strips that peel away once it’s time to move.
No-drill shelving: Floating shelves that you can attach to the wall without a power tool might sound like magic, but they’re the real deal. Take care not to overload them (most come with information on how much weight they can carry) and attach to a load-bearing wall.
Removable wallpaper: Available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, peel-and-stick wallpaper is generally damage free, so long as the wall you affix it to is smooth, clean and in good condition (if it’s previously wallpapered or textured, it might not be the best choice).
Framed artwork and photographs: Using putty to attach dog-eared posters to your walls might have been acceptable in college, but now it’s time to graduate to something more stylish: scour Pinterest for “wall gallery” inspiration and attach your favorite framed images using removable adhesive strips.
Bathrooms are supposed to be relaxing, but if the thought of a soak in your rental tub stresses you out, there are ways to make improvements without having to remodel the entire room. If the grout grosses you out, you can clean this up using regrouting and caulking kits. Stained tubs can be cleaned in a number of ways, depending on whether they’re enamel, acrylic or porcelain (check first to make sure your chosen method won’t damage the surface of the tub).
If your floor has seen better days, a vinyl floor cloth can replicate the look of fancy tiling in minutes while helping to keep the floor neat and dry.
If you’re renting in order to save up for a place of your own, it can help to get professional advice, and if you’re based in the Columbia Valley area, your local Invermere Realtor can help you to make a start with finding your dream home.