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Decorating ideas for renters

From the Resene decorating blog

Personal touches and a little design flair can be really effective and turning a rental property into a home.

Interesting colours and paint effects elevate simple furniture

Interesting colours and paint effects elevate simple furniture and decor pieces to create a visually interesting space against a neutral background.

The rear wall is Resene Cloud and the floor is Resene Half Cloud. The headboard is metallic Resene Pure Pewter over a base colour of Resene Chicago. The light shade is Resene Half Gravel. The side table is metallic Resene Proton with Resene Copyrite as a base colour. The tall vase is Resene Proton, the ball decoration and textured artwork are Resene Pure Pewter, the bowl is Resene Cloudy. Candlesticks in Resene Copyrite and Resene Pure Pewter. Bed linen from Adairs, check cushion from Freedom, candles from Superette, metallic leaves from Flux Boutique. Project Vanessa Nouwens. Image Bryce Carleton.

Whether you’re in one room of a shared house, a small apartment, or a family home, splashes of colour, texture and style are all important tools that help you settle in and create living spaces that make you happy.

Here are some design and decorating ideas from Resene that won’t leave too heavy a footprint on your rented space so when the time comes to move, it’s a simple job to return the space to its original look.

First things first

Before you start any kind of decorating in your rental space beyond completely moveable features like cushions, throws or ornaments, make sure you know exactly what your landlord is happy with to reduce the chance of issues in getting your bond back.

According to Tenancy Services NZ any changes you make to your rental must be either in line with the tenancy agreement or have written approval of your landlord.

Some landlords will be happy for you to make changes like painting or wallpapering, others could be far more strict, some will require you to remove any additions or changes at the end of the tenancy, others will not. You will also need to be clear about what happens if there’s any damage when you remove your changes. Find out more on the Tenancy Services NZ website.

Surface style

One of the simplest ways to add design flair to a rented space is with easily removable decorated features like rugs, throws, cushions and art.

Resene colour consultant Jill Marsh suggests bringing nature’s greens into your spaces with plenty of indoor plants to create a sense of peace and calm, varying the size and type of plants for visual interest.

She also suggests anchoring your space with a rug from the Resene Living Collection which come in three different designs featuring a combination of Resene colours such as Resene Hindsight, Resene Alabaster, Resene Gold Coast, Resene Tuscany and Resene Half Shark.

“Feature cushions and throws with colour or texture help create interest in your furniture.

“Adding a couple of pieces of statement art can transform plain walls and give you the opportunity to showcase your own style,” Jill says.

If you don’t want to put holes in the walls of your rental to hang pictures you can still be creative with art.

Create your own abstract art pieces on large, stretched canvases then simply prop them against the wall either on the floor or atop cabinets and shelves. To echo the botanical greens of your pot plants try painting your canvas in a creamy neutral like Resene Meringue, then get creative with shapes and patterns in Resene Smashed Avocado, Resene Green Acres and Resene Wabi Sabi. Add a floral punch of soft Resene Valentine pink or earthy Resene Dawn Glow for contrast. You could try for a modernist Mondrian look of Resene All Black and Resene White, with Resene St Tropaz, Resene Bright Red and Resene Turbo, or experiment with a dreamy Impressionist style in soft pastels like Resene Eau De Nil, Resene Awaken and Resene Half Iron.

A high impact feature wall

The addition of a feature wall, and some high-impact contrasting decor pieces elevate this otherwise simple room. Rear wall and floor in Resene Contented, with return wall in Resene Kinship. Desk and magazine holder in Resene Four Winds, with chair and large vase in Resene Bokara Grey. The lamp base is Resene Black White. The brush holder and basket are Resene Kinship, and the bud vase is Resene Four Winds. Chair and console table from Soren Liv, pillows and foliage from Adairs, bed linen from Resene Living range, artwork by Brenda Clews. Project Melle van Sambeek. Image Bryce Carleton.

If you’re less confident in your painting skills, practise some abstract shapes on a piece of card first, try geometric shapes and lines or work with cut-out stencils.

Painted frames are another simple way to add punchy colour to your artwork and your rooms. Look for large ornate frames from second-hand stores that you can repaint as a room feature or try a collection of simple frames painted in a palette of tonally similar colours to create a gallery collection, either for the wall or a shelf.

Top tip:  For a sophisticated rental revival work to a colour palette of about three main colours, adding a fourth as an accent in small amounts if you want some additional punchiness.

Feature walls

Jill suggests asking your landlord about the possibility of adding a couple of feature walls with either paint or wallpaper to your rental. “A coloured feature wall in a master bedroom can help add a modern look,” she says, suggesting colours such as Resene Coast, Resene Fast Forward or Resene Field Day as ones to try.

Wallpaper panels are an easily removable art display

Wallpaper panels make a simple but very effective art display that is eye-catching but easily removable. The rear wall is Resene Woodland with the side wall and floor in Resene Blanc. The wallpaper panels and lampshade are Resene Wallpaper Collection 91310. Panel frames and sideboard are Resene Teak. Light shade is Resene Crail. The coffee tables are Resene Papier Mache. Handled bowl on sideboard is stained with Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, the plant pot is Resene Avocado. The lamp base is Resene Tea. Book on coffee table is Resene Yogi with tealight holder in Resene Brown Sugar. Sofa from Nood, rug from Mocka, throws and washed linen cushions from Adairs, rectangle cushion from Kmart, textured cushions from Freedom. Project Vanessa Nouwens Image Bryce Carleton.

“Feature wallpaper in a separate toilet can add a splash of colour and fun to a small space,” Jill says. “You may only need one or two rolls for either one or two walls.”

For a subtle wallpaper effect that is still neutral in colour, try the slightly weathered looking texture of Resene Wallpaper Collection 38823-1, or if your landlord is happy for you to go bolder, go all in with the 3D-looking florals of Resene Wallpaper Collection 38722-2 or the lush leaves of Resene Wallpaper Collection 37862-1.

If your landlord won’t allow you to wallpaper, find a pattern you love and treat it like art by simply wallpapering a canvas or a long drop of ply (make it the width of the wallpaper to keep things simple) that can hang or lean against the wall.

Another feature that you could ask your landlord about, would be to add a feature fun pop of colour to the main entrance door, Jill says. Bold contrast colours such as deep red Resene Rudolph or deep orange like Resene Clockwork Orange are on-trend for front doors and can add great street appeal your landlord may appreciate. A framed ornate design like Resene Wallpaper Collection 570847 can have a touch of both colour and elegance, while a painterly design like Resene Wallpaper Collection ONB102726002 can work as a floor to ceiling piece of art.

Stackable cubes add flair to this study area

These stackable cubes add flair and function to this peaceful study area. The walls are Resene Comfortably Numb with floors in Resene Colorwood Shade and Resene Colorwood Greywash. The cube shelves are washed in Resene Quarter Chicago. The vases and bowls are Resene Emerge, Resene Longitude, Resene Haven, Resene Dark Slate. The chairs are Resene Dark Shade and Resene Emerge. Cork board in the wall-mounted desk is stained in Resene Colorwood Rising Tide. Fold out desk from ifurniture, Futon from Nood. Project Megan Harrison Turner. Image Bryce Carleton.

Removable feats

There are other removable or easily changeable features in a rental property that you can temporarily add to your space so it reflects your personality and design style. If you’re replacing something that belongs to the landlord as part of the property, just be sure to store it carefully so you can put it back.

Resene Meringue

Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Hindsight

Resene Kinship

Resene Contented

Resene Valentine

Resene Awaken

Resene Dawn Glow

Resene Comfortably Numb

Resene Eau De Nil

Resene Four Winds

Resene Rising Tide

Resene Field Day

Resene Wabi Sabi

Resene Green Acres

Resene Smashed Avocado

Resene Yogi

Resene Rudolph

Resene Shade

Resene Fast Forward

June 27, 2023

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