Decorate your Rental | Home, March 2012

Written by on March 1, 2012 in From this Issue | March 2012, Home - No comments

Rental Remedies

8 decorating tips to personalize your space

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There’s no place like home, so don’t let living in a rental house or apartment prevent you from expressing your personal style and flair in each room. Home should be a place that inspires and relaxes –– a place where you can be you.


Have fun in your dining space by making a statement piece like Laurie's Chevron Table. Photo courtesy Laurie Jones.

Transform your space with these tips to take a uniform, white-walled room and make it your own without leaving holes in the wall or a paint job to fix afterward.

1. Make a statement.
If you can’t paint the walls, find other ways to splash your room with color.

“Don’t be afraid to paint your furniture,” says Laurie Jones, Indianapolis interior decorator and blogger at “It’ll end up a statement piece and one no one else has.”

She suggests buying a neat coffee table or chest of drawers from a thrift store and coating it with a bold hue to inject color into the room.

2. Pick pretty fabrics.
Fabrics are the easiest way to change the look of a room.

“We’re surrounded by textiles in every part of our home. Not only do they provide functionality by keeping us warm in bed or providing a place for us to dry our hands, textiles can bring life to our home,” says IKEA designer Angela Rice. “They give us an opportunity to express ourselves through color and style, as well as provide us with an inexpensive way to revitalize our home.”


Dress your home with colorful textiles. Photo courtesy IKEA.

Rice and Jones suggest making small changes like adding curtains and throw blankets to stylize any home, rented or not.

“Current design trends range from neutrals and soft pastels to bold and vivid colors. The key is balance and harmony,” Rice says.

If you like to redecorate frequently, Jones suggests buying an array of pillow covers, which are easy to fold up and store.

3. Decorate with light.
“Good lighting reproduces the right colors, prevents glare, makes it possible to carry out different tasks, and affects the overall feel and atmosphere of a room,” Rice says. “People are more comfortable in a room with a well-balanced lighting scheme, so it is important to address the lighting when planning out your space.”

Overhead lighting is often ugly in apartments, Jones says, so she recommends installing dimmer switches and adding table lamps to create ambient lighting. You can also add your own decorative fixtures that can be taken with you when you move out.

Even if you can’t replace the existing lighting, Rice says simply changing the type of bulb or wattage can affect the level of light.

Mirrors are another easy way to play with light, making the space bigger and brighter. Try placing a mirror on the wall opposite a window to reflect the natural light, Jones says.

4. Revamp the walls.


Add color and style with Pattern Wall Tiles like Bird Flurry in bluejay, melon or moss. Photo courtesy Blik Surface Graphics.

Don’t let white walls bring you down. Make them pop with temporary décor, enlarged photographs or unique artwork hung with 3M command strips or propped up against a wall.

Jones suggests picking an accent wall and making it the room’s focal point. For an easy makeover, try fun, removable wall decals from Blik Wall Graphics like Bird Flurry Pattern Wall Tiles, an artistic design that comes in color palettes of bluejay, melon or moss, or Animals Alphabetized, a multicolored graphic featuring animals from antelopes to zebras.

Temporary wallpaper can also add color and pattern to your room, like Tempaper’s reusable and repositionable wallpaper and Sherwin-Williams’ EasyChange line.

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5. Focus on floors.
Does the ugly carpet or peeling linoleum in your rental have you clenching your fists? You’re probably not allowed to rip it up, but don’t fret –– area rugs can add texture and charm to any room and distract you from what’s beneath.

Try adding a bold, geometric rug to take center stage in your room, or a neutral, textured one to complement your décor.

Another option for hard surfaces is FLOR modular carpet tiles that you can assemble to create custom rugs, runners or wall-to-wall designs. Log on

6. Invest in pieces you’ll keep.
Spend more money on items you know will add style to your current rental and are portable to your next location.

A good bed and couch are important as you spend so much time on them. Jones says to look for timeless pieces with simple lines and suggests choosing neutral fabrics that can be complemented with fun throws and pillows.

You should also invest in items you’ll cherish and ones that will add a touch of personality to your home like decorative artwork.

But don’t spend a lot of money on items that are considered “trendy,” Jones warns.

“There are enough places like Target, World Market, Home Goods and Etsy where you can find an affordable option and you won’t feel bad when you’ve grown tired of it.”

7. Update the kitchen.
You can do your own mini kitchen renovation minus the hammer, stress and large amounts of time and money. Adhesive film and magnetic panels are a great temporary option for renters.

Transform the kitchen with a stainless steel or ornamental patterned cover for your dishwasher and fridge. To renew ugly counters, try self-adhesive granite films that are removable and have a tough vinyl finish. Log on and

8. Think about the little things.


Focus on the small details to pull your look together. IKEA's KNUBBIG table lamp in lilac gives a soft mood light. Photo courtesy IKEA.

Jones reminds us to concentrate on small details like bringing a touch of nature into the home with fresh plants and flowers or adding a welcoming aroma with candles.

“Something as simple as grouping objects or hanging a picture at the right height can make a huge difference in the overall feel of a room,” Rice explains.

Try displaying handmade objects, updating the hardware on your cabinets or dresser using glass or painted ceramic knobs, or hanging enlarged photos that have meaning to you.

Rice says that a common decorating problem is following through to the end. IKEA has a cord management kit that helps organize and hide ugly cords. Make sure to add those finishing touches to complete your space.

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