How to Decorate a Rental Like it’s Your Own!

How to Decorate a Rental Like it’s Your Own!

By:Lisa Canning

We sold our house earlier this year and we’ve spent the last four months unpacking boxes, and decorating our rental property. I am so pleased with the balance we struck in terms of making this space truly feel like our own, making it functional for the unique needs of my large family, and making it a space that is beautiful and inspiring! I hope these tips will help you in your decorating pursuits, whether you own or rent.


I know some people might think I am crazy to be replacing doors and trim in a home that I am renting but one of the biggest things that gives away the age of a property is trim. I know this step costs money and will need approval from your landlord but for me it was a must to bring my rental up to a modern state that I would eventually love. Not only did I update my trim, I went a step farther and added shiplap everywhere that made sense in my main open concept space, as well as new baseboards, crown moulding, and casing. I chose Metrie’s pre-painted shiplap, which snaps together easily, and I finished the shiplap off with baseboards, casing and crown and new doors from their Very Square collection. With soon to be 7 children in this house, replacing the louvered doors to solid core doors was a NEED, not a want!


Another easy way for a rental to really feel like you is to be bold in your furnishings. I have always loved velvet and navy blue, so I used it here for the two facing sofas. I added in boldly coloured pillows and classic side chairs in complimenting colours.


In an old space, a small hit of a trendy colour is fun and unexpected. I embraced pink in my entrance way with a soft pink called Pleasant Pink by Benjamin Moore on one of our new solid doors. The effect is amazing! And the fabulous thing about paint is that it is changeable – if I change my mind on this colour, in an hour and a half I can have it changed to something else.


Designing for a rental, I basically had to get comfortable with the fact that I was spending money on things that I would not be taking with me whenever we move on. To make this decision more palatable, I chose to be really savvy with items I purchased, including shopping on Kijiji. I am a big supporter of the 2nd hand economy. In my line of work, I acquire LOTS OF STUFF, and I enjoy selling items I no longer need.

The other thing I find helpful about supporting the 2nd hand economy is that it offers less pressure to keep items you do purchase. While I am a big believer in investing in quality and things you might own for a lifetime, I am also super comfortable with the notion of changing your mind, or simply wanting new items in a new space. Finding creative ways to stretch your budget, like shopping second hand, can really help get you make your rental feel like your own.



Image credit: Larry Arnal


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