Simple styling tips: How to decorate your rental

We love to keep you inspired to experiment with new looks and ways of styling and decorating your home. Let your own personality and sense of style guide you through the process, paying close attention to the colours and patterns you’re attracted too and the mood you want to create in your home. Styling and decorating should be fun – not serious!

Vanessa Houpert

White walls, a tacky floor surface you didn’t choose, some rooms you would have built in another way… yep, that’s what comes with renting. But come on, don’t let that get you down, turn this space into your home. At first glance, I admit it is not an easy task as it is hard to imagine yourself in such an impersonal space, or with things that you personally wouldn’t choose.

But there are plenty of ideas to decorate your rental and camouflage a few odd spots. You just need to acquire the right key pieces of furniture and then experiment a little with easily changeable things such as lights and accessories to give some relief to your rental home.
Follow our tips and no one would even guess it is a rental!

Image credit: Le Petit M, Instagram @lepetitm
  1. Go neutral

You may have just moved into to a new flat or house or are planning to in the near future. As it’s hard to know the type of abode you will move into and call home, or how the layout will be it is wise to choose flexible and neutral pieces. Opt for simple shapes and colourways when thinking about your larger pieces of furniture such as sofa and armchairs. It means you can adapt them to new places, should you have to move, or a are ready for a new space to decorate (a bit of a perk for renters!)

A timber table, a classic bookcase, a grey sofa and black or white chairs is a good timeless starting point for products you can easily accommodate from one rental to the next. It doesn’t mean they will lack personality; you can add these details through the styling layers and elements.

An important rule is to buy enduring pieces that will last and you’ll love forever. Just avoid cumbersome pieces like an oversized wardrobe or a corner sofa that are not flexible at all.

Image credit: Image courtesy of Resene
Image credit: Object Modern

2. Add greenery

You know we love plants at Eclectic Creative, so it’s no surprise one of our tips involves adding greenery to your rental. Indoor plants are easily transported from place to place and you can create your very own indoor oasis if you don’t have a garden or outdoor space. Plants are also great for hiding ugly spots, or areas you can’t change in your rental. Use pots or baskets with plants inside to camouflage those dead spots!

Just be mindful to have a tray under your pot plant to avoid any water marks on those floor boards or stains on that carpet! If you need to water them, take them into your tub, shower or laundry trough and let the bottoms dry completely before putting them back.

Great plants for beginners are your rubber plants, peace lilies or zanzibar plant (these don’t need much watering at all). Fiddle leaf figs, as pictured are for the more experienced, they can be highly sensitive and hard to maintain.

“Plants are also great for hiding ugly spots, or areas you can’t change in your rental. Use pots or baskets with plants inside to camouflage those dead spots!”

3. Add some rental relief

Deconstruct boring rectangular rooms by adding some vertical lines to the space! Use removable pieces such as a decorative ladder where you can put magazines or hang your throw rugs – you can even try making your very own as seen in our DIY Dowel Ladder or choose a tall bookcase to display your favourite books and personal objects, or even a nice floor lamp near your couch to add some height to the space.

Or, as mentioned earlier, opt for a tall indoor plant, lift it up off the ground on a little stool, chair or pot stand.

If you have a flexible landlord send a request to paint a small area of your home a lighter accent colour. For instance, you can paint an accent wall in yellow, pink, pale blue, light green or greyish to bring contrast to your place – choose a small corner for more discretion or the big wall behind your sofa or your bed for a highlight. It is better to choose a light colour so you can repaint it in white when you leave your rental, or better yet – if you’ve done a spectacular job – you mightn’t have to return it back to it was.

If your landlord doesn’t come to the party – and says no – there are removable wallpaper options, or decal stickers you can use to add instant colour, pattern and personality. And when it comes time to vacate, remove with ease!

Another option is to paint one of your furniture items a striking or complimentary shade – go with your personal taste concerning the palette. If you have a dynamic personality, a vivid orange dresser can be astonishing in a neutral rental. There are great spray paint varieties too that adhere to a range of materials such as ceramic and plastic, so you’re not just limited to painting timber furniture. Or grab a sheet of plywood and paint this, and prop it behind a console, your ensemble or area in your home that needs some colour. Easy Peasy and removable.

Image Credit: The Room Illuminated | Design Eclectic Creative

4. Personalise your rental!

What makes a rental indifferent is the lack of personality.  Even if it is not your property, your friends should immediately feel they are in your place when they visit you. Ask yourself what you like the most in your life and your home, whether it is a colour, an outdoor activity, a vase from your grandma… and emphasize this in your rental.

Display objects and souvenirs you love on shelves and cabinets, show off your collection of candles, books, bottles (or whatever) in the living room. Decorate blank walls with lightweight frames and prints and use 3M removable hooks. If you have any heavy glass framed prints or artworks, lean these on consoles or on the floor for an effortless rent friendly style tip.

A series of these in varying heights and sizes look great styled together on the floor. Or you can attach unframed prints to the wall using washi-tape – it won’t remove the paint.
In order to have a comfy rental in which you feel at ease, play with accessories. Make the space warmer with graphic rugs, fluffy cushions and blankets. Choose bold quilt covers for beds. Buy some vibrant curtains and swap out the drab old ones that were there when you moved in. Replace pendant lights for something else. IKEA has ultra affordable plain simple white shades that can take on any interior style and instantly refresh and update the fixtures of your rental.

“All these personal touches will give your home a soul.”

Image credit: Focus On Furniture

5. Multiple light sources

Great, you have no ceiling light in your place…Or there is one but it lets out an awful harsh light… just do without it! Play with different light sources – table lamps, floor lamps, hanging cage lights, fairy lights even – to help create an interesting and cosy atmosphere in the room. For a soft glowing ambiance, add a string of lights on the wall or draped at the top of a bookcase. Also, light some candles and candlesticks from time to time; and increase the Hygge factor. (The Danish way for increasing happiness in the home!) We need to talk about this another time.

We talk more about the importance of lighting in the home here

Vanessa Houpert

Eclectic Creative Blog Contributor

French creative based in Wellington, New Zealand, I have worked for ELLE website, in Paris, as a lifestyle editor. I am now thrilled to live in the Pacific Ocean! I love: cats, halloumi, yoga, travels, flowers, and macrame. Regarding interior design, what I like the most is matching colours and textures. I believe style and poetry can be hidden in the simplest things.

Connect with Vanessa Instagram: @vanessawardrobe

| Pinterest @vanessawardrobe | Twitter @vanessawardrobe

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