Keep It Simple (& Save Money) by Avoiding These Mistakes When Decorating a Rental

Keep It Simple (& Save Money) by Avoiding These Mistakes When Decorating a Rental

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Adrienne Breaux
Feb 22, 2017
(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Interior designer Alissa of Lenore Design has had the task of turning her family's rental into a warm home that matches their personality. With an industrial feel (think: overhead pipes meeting very little overhead lighting), the space wasn't an easy project to tackle. Thankfully, Alissa's design skills were just what this space needed, to transform it from a standard rental to a warm and welcoming home.

An eye for design no doubt helped Alissa create the casual, sophisticated space she calls home. Her rental is also a success because she approached two common rental decor issues simply (rather than taking the complex route).

For many people who move into rentals, figuring out what to "do" about the elements you can't change (because you don't own) can be a big decision. And for many of us (in a rental or not), resisting the urge to run out and furnish a new home immediately after moving in is tough. The next time you find yourself in either situation, heed Alissa's advice below:

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Tip #1: Don't disguise, embrace

Alissa writes: "Although every design situation is unique, in rentals, as opposed to home-ownership, I am a big proponent of embracing the necessary, but aesthetically unpleasing design elements. By embracing these elements and incorporating them they disappear into the design as opposed to trying to conceal them and having them in turn become more noticeable.

For example, our family apartment has many of these unwanted elements — exposed pipes and baseboard heaters. In our space we chose to work with these existing conditions by painting our unattractive baseboards (to blend with the trim and chair rail) and used our exposed pipes to easily locate and hang a vintage fixture over our kitchen table."


"I always recommend (whether in a rental or not) living in the home first [before making decorating decisions]."


(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Tip #2: Don't rush

From Alissa: "The biggest mistake I see most frequently is wanting to fill your new rental space quickly. In my experience this leads to two big problems:

  • Overbuying
  • Spending unnecessary money on items you don't need or love

"...by living in the space you are able to more definitively address your needs."


(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

"I always recommend (whether in a rental or not) living in the home first. I have had numerous potential clients reach out before they have moved looking for design services, but I always have them wait until they have moved into the space prior to rendering services. This not only cuts back on both the overbuying and unnecessary spending, but by living in the space you are able to more definitively address your needs."


Thank you so much Alissa!


See more of this rental home in Alissa's house tour.


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