Decorating a Rental? Here’s How to
Make it Feel Like Home

Decorating a Rental Here’s How to Make it Feel Like Home

Perhaps you are moving out for the first time; forging a path for yourself as you leave the familial nest. Perhaps you are starting a new adventure; embarking on an exciting chapter in your yet-to-be-completed life story. While the reasons for renting are your own, your new home is not. Although you find yourself staring at the boring white walls of a rental property, you can find comfort in knowing that you are not facing this decorating crisis alone. 

As the value of Canadian homes has increased, so too has the percentage of renters. In fact, the ownership rate of homes in 2016 was 67.8%, a drop from 69% in 2011. This increase in renting is even more prevalent in large Canadian cities such as Toronto where renters comprise 35% of the 2.1 million households. Thus, decorating a rental property is a very common challenge.

And while this abode may be only a temporary home for you, it is still your present home. After a long day at work, coming through the front door should still bring a feeling of welcoming comfort. How can you achieve that ideal feeling of “home” when your rental agreement has countless stipulations in regards to alterations? 

When renting, both the living arrangement and any decorating you undertake should be thought of as temporary. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it as individual as you, after all, what are our homes if not an extension of ourselves?

Decorating with Paint:

  • Many shows on decorator-friendly channels feature ways to enhance your home using paint. Afterall, it is a relatively inexpensive and effective way to add colour and warmth. However, if you are renting you need to not only consult a colour wheel, but you also need to consult with your landlord. If he or she allows you to paint however you like (with the understanding that you will return it to it’s former white-walls when you move out) the choices are only dependent upon your imagination. Be creative and have fun!
  • Perhaps your concept of decorating involves a little less paint. You can try adding a pop of colour or a bold statement by painting a focal wall. This has the added benefit of reducing the amount of re-painting required when you’re ready to move on. In keeping with this concept, using chalkboard paint on a kitchen or a child’s bedroom wall is a great idea as well. It adds a bit of fun and can be an outlet for creativity.
  • If your landlord prefers you to paint using neutral colours only, you can still enjoy choosing a different shade than what is currently on the walls. A tired, neglected home can be brought back to life once more with a fresh coat of paint; especially if it has the advantage of being personally chosen.
  • Some landlords do not allow any walls to be painted. In this situation you can still transform a room by painting a piece of furniture. Many renters are young individuals starting out and as such, their furniture consists of hand-me-downs. Why not turn that old dresser into a boldly painted focal piece? A neutral room can see a dramatic change simply by adding this pop of colour.

Decorating with Colour:

  • Those boring, white walls are tormenting you once again and you either don’t want to paint, or are not permitted to. Lucky for you there is an innovative product available online from major retailers: temporary wallpaper. Not only does it comes in a myriad of patterns and colours, but it is self-adhesive, removable, is rip, crease and tear resistant, and can be repositioned as many times as is required.
  • Similarly, decals are an option for decorating a bland and boring wall with colour. They are available online as well, and offer endless possibilities for spicing up a wall or even a window in a temporary fashion. They are a quick and easy way to decorate without damaging walls or paint.
  • Stick-on decorating can be utilized in the kitchen as well. Just because your present dwelling is temporary, that doesn’t mean you need to live with an ugly kitchen counter, backsplash, or appliance. Stick-on “granite counter-tops”, “tile backsplashes”, and “stainless steel appliances” are a great way to temporarily modernize a temporary home.
  • Windows offer a great opportunity for decorating with colour especially if painting isn’t an option. Even if a window already has some type of blind, these can be downplayed with the addition of colourful drapes. Once again, you can opt for a pop of bold colour or pattern that will make a statement and become a focal point.
  • Colourful furniture, especially something as space-dominating as a couch, is a great investment and will add personality to a temporary home. Keep in mind to purchase furniture that you love, not just furniture that will fit this specific dwelling as you will be taking it with you to your next home.
  • Placing floor and table lamps with a variety of colourful lamp shades not only adds softer lighting than overhead lights, but much needed pops of colour.
  • Decorating by adding layers of colour not only adds texture, but it also adds an opportunity to inject coziness, warmth, and a bit of your personality. Accent pillows and blankets are an inexpensive way to add luxury. Rugs will add not only texture and colour, but will also hide any imperfection in hardwood or carpeted floors.

A rental property may be chosen as a home due to a transition from one life-stage to another, or due to a conscious life-style choice.

Decorating a home is not dependent on permanence, but rather on the desire of the individual to make it their own.

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