A Designer Used These 4 Tips to Make a New Orleans Rental Sing on a Budget

published Jun 12, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Small gallery wall above neutral colored sofa in living room.
Credit: Jacqueline Marque

When it came time to tackle a young couple’s 1,100-square-foot rental home in New Orleans, Louisiana, designer Hattie Collins of Hattie Sparks Interiors arrived chock-full of ideas on how to hack a rental so it can shine its brightest. Below, she shared some of her top tips for designing a stylish space without breaking the bank — or losing that security deposit!

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

Opt for chic removable wall and window treatments.

While many renters opt to add personality to their spaces with removable wallpaper, Collins went another route. “We used framed wallpaper panels to give the suggestion of a wallpapered room without the permanency,” she says. Better yet, these panels can easily be transported to a future home and repurposed down the line. 

Beyond the walls, determining how to best tackle the windows in a rental can also be challenging. For this project, Collins turned to Amazon, where she purchased made-to-order drapery “that didn’t break the bank but makes the space feel more finished.” Her tip here? Even if you go semi-custom with Amazon or otherwise, try to find a style that’s close to standard drapery lengths — generally, 63 inches, 84 inches, 96 inches, or 108 inches. That way, you’re likely to have a window or two where you can repurpose anything you’ve invested in down the road if you move. 

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

Explore untapped furniture sources.

Don’t forget to check out the furniture section on your next trip to the hardware or big-box home improvement store. Collins actually sourced the faux marble dining table for this rental at The Home Depot. “A marble table was something the client really wanted but was slightly out of budget,” she explains. “This piece looks incredible in person and gives the dining area the look we were after.” 

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

Use the 70-30 rule for furnishing your spaces.

Don’t underestimate the power of secondhand shopping. “We sourced as much vintage locally as possible, which is great budget-wise and for finding those special one-off pieces that are unique to your space,” Collins says. It’s easy to style vintage finds alongside more contemporary items, too, the designer notes. “I think the key to a good mix is keeping the balance just right — I like a 70 percent new, 30 percent vintage or antique mix,” she comments. “I also think trying to stay within a certain time period for all the antiques within one room can help keep things looking cohesive.” 

Credit: Jacqueline Marque

Add art for a pop of personality.

A piece of statement art — or a gallery wall arrangement — may be the finishing touch that your space is missing. You can hang pieces you already have on hand, no matter how varied, or go on a finding trip at a flea market or craft fair. “The art is all the client’s,” Collins says of this project. “My suggestion for gallery walls is the same as furniture: Too much of one style can feel redundant. Mix it up with vintage, new, and different mediums.”