September 1, 2013

Owning a rental, style-wise

Decorating options that won't do damage make it easier to put your personal stamp on a temporary abode.


(Continued from page 1)

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Carpet tiles from Flor adhere to each other, but not the floor, so they can be re-used when you move to a new place. Squares in the Hey Jack pattern were used to make a rug for a dining area.

Courtesy of Flor

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Adhesive hooks from 3M are a safe alternative to nailing into walls of dorm rooms or apartments.

Courtesy of 3M

Additional Photos Below

Or you can have a mural custom made in a specific size and design, perhaps using your own favorite photo or a picture purchased from a stock image company such as Shutterstock, Andrew said.

Murals can even be cut to size and adhered to flat, plastic-laminate kitchen cabinet doors, "which would be amazing," Bromstad said.


Like wall murals, wall decals have a repositionable adhesive that allows them to be removed easily and reused repeatedly.

As long as you're careful to put them on a clean wall, they can be reused almost indefinitely, said Paula Berberian, creative director for decal brand WallPops. In fact, Berberian said she's been to trade shows where decals are removed and replaced maybe 60 times a day.

The decals add large-scale graphics and personality to walls and other surfaces without a long-term investment. Some have gems, flocking or mirror embellishments for a little extra bling, Berberian said.

And she noted that more youthful motifs make cost-effective decorations for children's rooms, because they can be swapped out as a child's interests change without having to redecorate.


You probably wouldn't think of wallpaper as a temporary decorating solution, but it can be. Berberian said improvements in wallcovering materials have resulted in papers that are easy to strip, as long they're installed on walls that have been properly prepared.

WallPops' parent company, Brewster Home Fashions, makes a number of wallcoverings with a nonwoven substrate, some of them prepasted and others requiring wallpaper paste.

Other wallpapers use a low-tack adhesive. Removable wallpaper tiles are offered by Hygge & West. They could be mounted on a wall behind a bed in place of a headboard or used as artwork, surrounded by a simple frame.


Maybe your rental lacks built-ins, paneled doors and similar architectural elements that give a space character. With a little ingenuity, you can add a little of that character yourself.

Flank a doorway with tall, freestanding bookcases, perhaps, or position a bookcase in front of a window -- maybe with a cushion on top to create a window seat.

Add an electric fireplace, which requires no venting or installation but is more like a piece of furniture that plugs in.

Shop flea markets and antique stores for vintage furniture pieces or accents that add a timeworn touch.

Or try this idea from the folks at 3M: Add interest to a plain painted door with moldings created from stretcher bars, which are wood frames you can buy from a craft store that are usually used to make painters' canvases.

Configure the bars into rectangles, paint them to match the door and adhere them with Command picture hanging strips. (To see more about this idea, visit, and then click through the pages until you find "Custom Closet Doors.")


Your floor is one of biggest surfaces in your room, so Bromstad said it's a logical place to add color and texture.

He prefers an area rug that's big enough to extend under all the furniture. It's OK to put a rug on top of carpeting to break up "the wall-to-wall monotony," he said. Just use a rug pad that's designed for that purpose, so the rug won't wrinkle.

On hard-surface floors, carpet tiles can be installed to add softness and color, Andrew said.

Carpet tiles such as those from Flor install easily and adhere only to one another, not the floor. You can install them wall to wall or create an area rug from them. And when you leave, you can take them with you. Because your next place will need some decorating, too.


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Additional Photos

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Decals, like these from WallPops on stairs, add personality to rented homes and can be easily removed.

Courtesy of WallPops

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WallPops decals on a wall

Courtesy of WallPops

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Doors are customized with moldings created by sticking on pieces of wood using Command picture hanging stripsfrom 3M.

Courtesy photo

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Removable wallpaper tiles like this Daydream design by Julia Rothman from Hygge & West offer a variety of style choices.

Courtesy photo


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