Image from @mylittlechief
Have you ever heard the saying: ‘Dance like nobody’s watching, decorate like your lease is a long one’? No, neither have we, but we kinda like it!
The reality of today’s real estate market is that many of us find ourselves in rental properties on a long-term basis, whether by choice or by chance.
Rather than denying yourself the joy of stamping your style on your living space because it’s not your ‘forever home’, why not embrace the change-it-up freedom of renting and personalise it in small, smart and high-impact ways?
Here are some budget-friendly ideas to make your home sweet home (without ticking off your landlord):
FABRIC WALL DECALS
For an instant and affordable lift, our beautifully whimsical fabric wall stickers feature hand-drawn designs that will instantly tszuj up any bedroom – perfect for the time-savvy stylist! They can be easily removed and re-used, so you can play with your layout until it’s fit for a photo shoot, then take them with you when you move house without risk of leaving a mark.
Image from @thestockleys_
DEFINE A SPACE
When you don’t have the luxury of being able to knock out walls or change the layout, you can divide rooms with tall, box-frame furniture (yes, we’re all thinking of IKEA’s BILLY bookcase) or use hanging features to help define spaces, create privacy and re-work the way you live. A heavy fabric drop is one option but we love the boho beauty of a macramé room divider that lets through loads of light and you can DIY one thanks to A Beautiful Mess – lark’s head knot, anyone?
Image from A Beautiful Mess
CREATE A STATEMENT PIECE
Wet weekend and a box of leftover origami paper in the drawer? Hello! Why not create a gorgeous paper patchwork art piece for your wall? It can be a headboard for your bed or adorn a living area or hallway. We adore this one by tuts+ that is assembled on white foam core board backing, so it’s light enough to mount with Blu Tack. If you’re struggling with colour combinations, this free colour-wheel tool by Adobe will blow your mind.
Image from Lisa Tilse
SAY IT WITH FLOWERS
Fresh-cut flowers are a fantastique way to lift a space with scent and colour, but for a more lasting result, think potted plants. A variety of sizes and shapes will allow you to create your very own urban jungalow – especially if you have no yard. It’s a good idea to start with one or two larger statement plants (fiddle leaf figs are great as they have large, architectural leaves) and then use different levels of tables or shelves to position your smaller pot plants and build an eclectic but intentional indoor-scape. To avoid the ‘green thumb meets cat lady’ aesthetic, watch this great video on how to put it all together artfully.
Planter boxes are also an apartment-dweller’s best friend – think herbs or bright, hardy blooms like geraniums – and don’t forget they can be placed on the inside or outside of the windows.
NO PAINT, NO PROBLEM
As frustrating as those stark white walls might seem, flip your thinking and treat them as a blessing in the form of a neutral canvas (as the design gurus like to say). If you’re one to love a dash or even lashings of colour in your interior, then you can introduce it with bed linen, rugs, cushions, and by painting your own furniture to bring in pops of colour. Ideas abound in this Apartment Therapy blog.
Image from Lisa Zhu
IT’S CURTAINS FOR YOU, BABY
Ditch the hospital-style vertical blinds that came with your rental (but don’t toss them if you want your bond back), because even if your pad is temporary, investing in curtains is a must – like a fantastic rug, when it's time to move out you just roll up those babies and take them with you!
As you want your window fittings to work in a number of different spaces, a great option is to use spring-fit curtain rods as they don’t require tools, won’t leave marks and are adaptable. Go with sheer, white or neutral-toned fabric and leave them long so they can puddle gracefully on the floor – a look we will always love – and work for any window size in your future homes.
Image from Sofie Vertongen
OUTDOOR LIGHTING DIY
Just like lamps are the key to instant indoor ambience, outdoor lighting is also a fantastic way to bring mood and personality to your al fresco entertaining areas. If your rental has no pergola or outdoor structure that you can attach lights to, then why not rig up a temporary lighting arrangement using a pole, a heavy planter and a long string of lights. We found this great DIY project that shows you how to do it!
Image from Laura Gummerman
OFF THE HOOK
If you’re forbidden put fixings in the walls in order to hang art or weighty objects, don’t despair: it’s time to look to the floor. Look to casually lean framed works against the wall without the need to elevate and, but if you are in possession of some valuable pieces and want to protect them from dust or damage you can always prop them on a humbly constructed low platform constructed out of magazine stacks and a reclaimed plank.
CHANGE THE HARDWARE
Rental hardware is usually pretty basic but that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it up with your own introduced pieces – taps, spouts, handles and pulls on cabinets. Customise your kitchen with a fancy pull-out faucet or add some eye-catching handles on your cabinets or consoles. And, as always, don’t forget to keep the original fittings so you can put them back on when you leave.
Image from Style Me Pretty
You can shop the whole range of our Fabric Wall Decals here