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Decorating a bedroom needn’t be a full-on task involving repainting walls and laying new flooring – there are plenty of low-key tricks you can employ to liven up a rented bedroom space without doing anything your landlord might object to. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Fashion a statement headboard
Think outside the box when it comes to headboards. An item like these old shutters could act as a statement piece and visually frame your bed, needing nothing more than to stand up against the wall, with your bed anchoring them in place.
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Bring out the bunting
A headboard can really help frame a bedroom, but if you don’t have one, you could consider other ways to decoratively frame the bed area instead. This graphic string of bunting fills the space nicely, and is lightweight enough to be fixed to the wall with washi tape.
Hook a cool light
Ceiling-hung bedside lights are big news in interiors right now, but if you’re renting, this might not go down too well with your landlord. Get around it by fitting a small hook in the ceiling above your bedside, then run a long flex with a light fitting at its end up to it, secure it with a knot, and allow it to hang back down to the height you want. Power it by simply plugging it in at your nearest plug socket – much less cost and damage than getting an electrician over!
Create casual bedside storage
A stack of books or magazines can work well as a makeshift bedside table in a tight space. For a decorative twist, use a pile of vintage books for the job – you could even paint their spines to tie in with the rest of your colour scheme
Keep on the white side
If you already have an all-white room, roll with it and stick to a monochrome scheme so the look feels considered, even if it’s actually just your landlord’s default colour choice. Paint any furniture, incorporate greys and blacks into your bed linen, and add a touch of fun with motif cushions and a rug to stop it feeling too clinical.
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Tie it together
If mismatched isn’t really your style but you’re having to make do with hand-me-downs, paint all your furniture the same colour to help unite it. It’ll retain more character than a ‘true’ matching set, but the uniting colour will tie everything together beautifully. Eggshell paint works well on solid wood pieces, but for difficult surfaces like melamine or veneer, try a chalk paint instead.
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Add decorative embellishments
Decorating your furniture needn’t always involve paint. A simple little touch, such as these star stickers, can transform an otherwise plain piece. Look out for wall stickers, too, which can also be used on furniture in a similar way and are removable should you wish to return the piece to its original state.
Be bold with pattern
If you’re allowed to paint, why not go for broke with a stripy feature wall? Paint the whole wall one colour, then mask off bands to paint in a contrasting tone. Stripes are a great way to add background pattern to walls and, by painting rather than papering, it’s easy to return it to neutral at the end of your tenancy. Add a bold rug into the mix to really make the look pop.
Use jewellery as decoration
Turn a collection of pretty necklaces into wall art by displaying them on nails or hooks in your wall, or on the side of a wardrobe to save damaging walls. Here, this otherwise redundant slim corridor within a bedroom creates a perfect display area.
Embrace your artistic side
If you’re a dab hand with a paintbrush, painting a mural can be an inexpensive way to create a bespoke pattern on your walls that can easily be painted over again when the time comes to move on. If going fully freehand seems a little daunting, see if you can borrow a projector and shine an acetate print-out onto the walls as a guide, or simply grid up an image you’d like to copy and then drawer the grid onto the wall to help work out your pattern before filling it in.
Houzz Contributor, Joanna Thornhill