What are some non-permanent things I can do to improve my rental home?
Real Mom Problem
“I just rented an apartment. What can I do to make it beautiful without being able to paint the walls?”
- 1. Fabric can be hung with only a few staples and no permanent damage to walls
- 2. Removable, decorative decals can be purchased, or made, inexpensively
- 3. Photographs and art can add interest to your walls
- 4. Curtains, lamps, pillows and other accents can bring color into a room without the need for paint
Real Mom Solutions
Renting a home doesn't mean you're stuck with plain décor. See how the moms of CafeMom spruce up their space without paint!
If you can't paint, a good way to add color to one wall in a room is to go to a fabric store, find something simple and colorful on clearance, and buy enough to cover your whole wall. To do so, all you need is a staple gun - just hang fabric straight (fold down just a bit at all the edges so you don't have a rough edge) and staple into place all around the edge. The holes are super tiny (and easily filled in with white toothpaste when you move out) and it's so much easier to take fabric down and reuse it for something in the future than to have to repaint.
Find an Asian Indian store close to you and see if you can find a sari in colors that go with your decor. A standard sari is six yards of fabric, the nice ones are silk, with a decorated border and one decorated end. Hang the sari and drape it on the ceiling and walls. Even plain white silk, artfully draped is beautiful. You can get that online at Dharma Trading Company. You can also get stained-glass party light bulbs at the hardware store that will add some interest and color without needing paint.
We live in an apartment too. My walls are boring, so to add some life to the room I'm going to go buy some red throw pillows and some pillows that have red, orange and the color of my couch. And I'm going to put a red area rug under my coffee table and add red curtains. I think it will really open up my living room.
Another thing you can do is go to Hobby Lobby or Michael's and get canvasses that are already framed (I got two for $10 or so), and some acrylic paints and a brush, and also some Crayola finger paints. What I did was paint the background with the acrylic paint and let it dry overnight, then took the Crayola and slathered it on paper plates and let my kids have at it. They put their handprints all over them. Then I let them dry and hung them in their rooms. (I did this when my oldest son, who is 21, and was shipping out to Iraq so he could participate too, and then if something happened to him, the two little ones (four and two) would have something to remember their big brother by.
I would do some kidsy curtains in the kids' rooms and colored curtains for the rest of the house. Each room can have a different color. Hang paintings or pictures. Add a nice little rug with a cool pattern, fake flowers in vases for the bathrooms and kitchen area, lamps with neat colored shades, a corner lamp with multi-colored light bulbs. You could do a theme for the kitchen - western, fruit, etc. and add a nice tablecloth, and placemats, and colored candles.
Ever seen those awesome wall decals? They are removable and repositionable and leave no yucky residue when removing. They come in cute colors and vary in sizes. AND they are ridiculously priced. So here's what I did - I made them! I just bought white contact paper, cut and painted pictures to my liking and put them up on my wall. My friends all ask who I hired to decorate my son's nursery and want to know the cost. I'll never tell I only spent six bucks on those "professional looking" wall decals.
In the housewares aisle of dollar stores they have a bunch of really pretty wall clings that are all sorts of shapes, and pictures, and things, and each of them only costs a buck! Maybe add other little touches, find a lamp with a shade at a yard sale or swap meet and re-do the shade with whatever fabric you want. It only takes a little fabric and hot glue.
I also live in an apartment, so to add color to my daughter's room I put up a pink canopy near her crib - not too close for her to grab. Her theme is butterflies so I bought butterflies at a local curtain store and hung them on the walls, and I also have a shelf with a picture framed with her name in it. In the other corner I have some of her stuffed animals in a basket, a pink chandelier, a pretty framed picture on the other wall, and other decorative accessories. Try to shop on Amazon, get clearance items at Target, etc. If you are looking for furniture you could check your local Craigslist. Many people sell stuff because they are moving and you could get some nice furniture for yourself for cheap.
I'm in an apartment too and can't paint. My sons' room is football and Elmo. I went to Party City and got decorations that are supposed to be for birthdays or Super Bowls and used them to decorate their room. It turned out great. You get a whole bunch of decorations for a pretty good price. They have tons of pink princess stuff there too that you could try. Also, check out freecycle.com. The Dollar Store is one of my favorite places! You never know what you'll find. And Big Lots. I also look at garage sales. I always look at the newspaper and check out the nicer, richer neighborhoods and hit those first thing in the morning....they are practically giving some really great stuff away!