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Renting shouldn’t stop you from living in the stylish home you desire. OK, so you might not be able to mount huge artworks on every wall, paint your bedroom in your favourite shade of wasabi green or re-tile the bathroom, but fear not. Just as the number of renters has increased, so too have the products catering to them. From temporary wallpaper to removable wall stickers, as well as the odd bit of crafty creativity, it’s easier than ever to personalise your rented home on a budget – without compromising your lease agreement. Here are 11 ideas to get you started.
Update a wall with stickers
Wall stickers have become popular lately and for all the right reasons: they can be added and removed with no fuss; they come in a huge range of designs and colours; and they are inexpensive. Popular in kids’ rooms, they are also great for small feature walls, such as in a hallway.
Add elegance with removable wallpaper
Available in a wide range of designs, temporary wallpaper caters to any style and can add all the drama, fun and elegance you desire. It doesn’t leave any mess and can be re-used on walls as well as inside wardrobes, bookcases, etc.
Make it modular
Opt for furniture that can be moved around and reconfigured so it can more easily fit into another home. As an example, instead of a sofa with a chaise, which limits the possible configurations, opt for a simple sofa and an armchair: you will have the same seating space but will retain flexibility with the layout.
Several small occasional tables, as seen in this room, are also a great alternative to one large coffee table and are more flexible to take with you to a future home.
Photo by Justina Blakeney - Discover eclectic home design design inspiration
Pick up some plants
Plants and flowers are a no-fail tip to liven up any space. They not only look good, as living organisms, many also help clean the air and remove toxins. When occupying a space that has been inhabited by a variety of unknown people before, it can feel good to imagine the air being renewed and purified.
Browse ways to bring plants indoors
While plants are a common addition to living areas, don’t limit yourself to these rooms. Many plants would love the microclimate of a humid room and, due to their small size, are a perfect addition to bathrooms.
Photo by Hide & Sleep Interior Design - Browse eclectic nursery ideas
Decorate with washi tape
When used well, washi tape can make a strong, somewhat whimsical statement. In a nursery, it can be used to create the cutest designs.
In this minimalist room, a fun reindeer-shaped washi tape design adds the right amount of style to lift this space from bare to balanced.
Browse creative uses for leftover materials
Blogger Maya of House Nerd used washi tape to decorate her bedroom’s builder-grade light switch. This unexpected touch adds an extra dose of individuality to the room.
Photo by Dabito - Search eclectic living room design ideas
Get creative with storage
Rented homes often lack storage, which in turn can lead to unsightly clutter. Improve this situation by adding furniture or accessories that can help with storage as well as making a statement. Here, a stack of white suitcases acts as a side table, and can also be filled with magazines or items used infrequently.
Discover freestanding storage solutions for rented homes
Bookcases can be a perfect combination of storage and decoration. When styling bookcases effectively, balance is key. Display items of different sizes and shapes, and maintain some consistency with colours. In this room, white is the backdrop used to balance an eclectic mix of books and decorative items.
Add the art without the holes
If you are not allowed to hang anything on the walls, try to use what you already have to make a decorative statement – consider a fireplace mantel, existing shelving, or the top of a cabinet to display art and decorative pieces.
You can also opt for a large canvas or mirror to decorate your walls from the floor up. In this bedroom, the mirror propped against the wall adds depth to the room and bounces light around.
Find more ideas by browsing eclectic bedroom photos
Add rugs, rugs and more rugs!
Your rental home has horrible flooring? It might be a blessing in disguise! Layering rugs is a great way to conceal a not-so-good-looking floor, as well as add texture and colour.
Get inspiration from this huge range of rugs
Choose rugs of different sizes, colours, designs and materials for a bohemian feel. Or for a more modern look, place a large, neutral rug on the bottom (a jute or sisal rug would be ideal) and add a bolder one on top.
Throw in some textiles
Textiles must be the easiest, quickest way to make a space yours. Scatter some cushions and a chunky throw; cover a chair with a sheepskin; find a funky upholstered stool; replace a door with a curtain on a tension rod; use colourful towels in an all-white bathroom… When it comes to textiles, the possibilities are endless!
Replace the lighting
As any model or actress will tell you, it’s all about lighting. Even the best-styled room will look flat under inadequate lighting. If your scheme relies on bare bulbs or outdated pendants, replace the shades (you might also want to replace the light bulb with one of a different intensity or mood – warm or cold) and watch the difference! In this simple hallway, the pretty pendants attract the eye to the upper part of the room, enhancing the features of this character home.
When dealing with lighting, try to remember this simple rule: no less than three layers of lighting – ambient, task and accent. Ambient light is the general one, often provided by ceiling lighting. Task lighting is intended to provide light for a specific function (such as a floor lamp above a chair as depicted in this picture).
Photo by Alison Damonte Design - More midcentury dining room photos
Accent lighting draws attention to a particular object or a small area, for decorative purposes. Table lamps, low-wattage downlights, or even candles can be used as accent lighting. Even when turned off, lighting accessories can be highly decorative.
If you cannot make large-scale changes, you can still inject beauty and style with small touches. Vignettes are perfectly curated little pockets of a home. They can be made of a collection of vases, a book display, a flower arrangement on a hall table, or simply a few candles on a tray.
Nelly Reffet, Houzz Contributor