"Girl, I need a how-to on how to decorate! We live in a rented apartment and we resist investing - any tips?"
I'm so glad you asked, Isabel! It's actually something I've been worrying about a little everytime I write an interiors post on this blog. I don't want to alienate anyone who's living in a rented flat or house. In fact, I often get comments like, "I'd love to do this, but ..." or "I can't wait to have my own place so I can do this, but ..."
To be honest? I never, ever decorated any of our past rentals. I didn't even unpack some of the boxes in our previous rented flat! I've always loved beautiful interior design and decor. Always. But John and I were unlucky: our landlords sold at the end of every lease, and we always ended up getting kicked out after a year. So I just didn't bother.
But if you're in a long-term rental or something that will last for more than a year (we never were), then you should make that space your own (without sacrificing your deposit at the end of your lease!). And here are some handy tips on how to do it on a budget:
Yes, this is a thing. It peels straight off (I tried samples on my own walls, which you might want to do first since every wall is different!) without leaving any damage to the paint. It's perfect for a statement wall, or even to line a bookshelf that the landlord left behind. And there are so many beautiful options out there, especially on Etsy. My favorite patterns are by Wallflora: think beautiful, watercolor ferns in lush greens for a bedroom or subdued, blue-hued florals for a kitchen wall.
Print-able Wall Art
Not ready to invest in your own Hockney yet (I mean, who is? Oh right, that guy who sped into the Affordable Art Fair in a Lamborghini - I kid you not)? There's always printable wall art, like this cacti photography from Taiprints, also available from Etsy. It's currently priced at £9.36 and you'll get the download instantly when you pay. Then you've just got to print and frame it, which will be considerably cheaper than buying original art or even a framed print.
And on that note ...
I wrote a post on this a little while ago and, although it's pretty UK-specific, there are other similar options you might be able to explore in your home country. In the US, I know exactly where to go, but it took me a little longer to find these options in the UK.
And on that note ...
3M Command Strips and Hooks
These are your friends. I used these babies to stick EVERYTHING to our walls in our previous rentals (including a heavy, framed poster-sized print). We used them in three different flats and they didn't take any paint off (again, every wall is different, so please test before you commit!).
And if you really can't hang anything on the walls? Prop them up on tables or countertops. Stick stuff on the floor, like so:
I know. Right now, you're like "Whaaaat?" But trust me on this: a stool or two is fantastic to have in your rented place because - guess what - it's multi-functional.
Not only is it a great prop (put a stack of magazines on it and a little vase or object on top and - voila - you've just styled a lovely little corner), but it's also excellent for:
- dumping your clothes on in the bathroom when you're hopping in the shower (also doubles up as an iPad stand when you're in the bath - don't forget about that);
- using as a lift when you can't quite reach that box of Lucky Charms in the kitchen;
- using as a bedside table/nightstand (I know, mindblown, right?)
So, those are just five, simple ideas that will make the world of difference to your rented flat/apartment. I hope that was helpful, Isabel! And if you ever have any questions about styling or decorating, feel free to email me at the address in the "Contact" tab above and I'll gladly answer it here!