design ramblings | episode 9 |decorating ideas for renters

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Design Ramblings22 Comments

It seems like, for most people, a stepping stone to home ownership is renting.  It’s probably safe to say that most of us started out our adult lives as renters and many are still renters for various reasons.  Living in a rented space was the norm for me as I was growing up, since my dad was in the military.  I also experienced renting for the first six years of our marriage and now I’m experiencing it again as I’m renting the studio space for my business.


For those of us who love decorating, renting can be frustrating.  We want the option to customize our space, but usually we’re not allowed or it’s not worth the time and money to make improvements to a space that isn’t ours.  There is a lot you can do in a rented space, though…everything from peel & stick wall paper to starching fabric on walls and hot gluing a backsplash in place.  And that is what we’re rambling about today…

In the video, I mentioned that my mom starched fabric on the walls in our military housing.  I used that trick in our master bedroom (yes, that’s fabric) and you can find the full tutorial HERE.

Miss Mustard Seed-280

What are some of your favorite ways to make a rented space feel like home?

design ramblings | episode 9 |decorating ideas for renters

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22 Comments on “design ramblings | episode 9 |decorating ideas for renters”

  1. Love the Design Ramblings, but it is often difficult to hear Kriste….it seems like Marian is closer to the Mic. I don’t want to miss anything you two have to say!

  2. When I was a single mother with no money years ago, I used to hang family quilts on large walls with my staple gun (much to the horror of my mother!). I also used to staple up sheets, too, and sometimes I would trim that out with some kind of braid and glue before I found out about the starch method. Overlay area rugs on ugly carpet, use lots of bookshelves around the perimeter filled with books or interesting things, set lots of plants at the windows. Change the curtains (usually made of sheets), carefully folding away the basic white ones that came with the apt. Keep a lot of your colorful dishes and kitchen things out in view on trays rather than hiding it. My furnishings were always colorful, usually castoffs that I had reworked with paint and fabric. I almost feel like I could write the book on decorating for renters!

  3. I don’t rent, but I do worry about making permanent holes in my woodwork. One solution I came up with was a new sidelight window curtain design that’s hung using velcro squares rather than rods. You can see them on my site. Perfect for renters or someone that doesn’t want to make a permanent hole in their woodwork.

  4. Hi Ladies,
    I really enjoy and look forward to your Design Ramblings! Could you possibly discuss more about where and how you sell the furniture pieces that you fix-up?

  5. When I was in college, my roommate and I spent a Saturday and made tiny little scotch tape balls to hang wrapping paper “wallpaper” all over the room! It was so awesome! Between that and the Ramen noodles, life was good. 🙂

  6. Years ago, before the whole DIY thing was “In” & I found myself as a single mom renting an apartment, I didn’t have any money, & nothing to decorate my walls with. At the time, I drew & cut out my own stencil on some thin cardboard & stenciled on a framed design on my wall. I didn’t have to worry about nail holes & since the walls were all painted basic white, I just needed a pint of white paint & painted a couple of coats over it when I moved out. I needed the paint anyway to cover up some of the blemishes that occurred during living there. These days, there’s lots of great stencils to be had in order to “decorate” a rental space in style.

  7. I’ve heard of this technique! Does it fall down easily or come off easily when you want it to? Btw, I love all your dress forms.

    xo Ashley

  8. Yep, it just peels right off. The wall might feel a little starchy, but you just wipe it down with a damp cloth and it’s good to go.

  9. Yay…my question landed on Design Ramblings! 🙂 Thank you thank you! I am loving the starched fabric idea…but had a question. Do you know if you can do this over walls that already have wallpaper on them? We have WP in our dining room, entry, and bathrooms (not awful, but definitely not my taste). Would love to know if you think I could use this technique over those areas. I’m pumped about projects too for our future house. I think you are spot-on with investing in pieces you love, vs. pieces you that just “fit for now”. I’m currently working on some bar stools, and fixing up some pieces that I love and would like to use in this house and our future home. My husband also just gave me the go ahead to buy a new sofa too…which I’ve had my eye on for awhile and love. 🙂 Yay! This post has me pumped to keep working on my projects. Thanks a bunch!!!

    1. Yes, you can do it over wallpaper. I wouldn’t do it over wallpaper I may want to “use” in the room again, though, as the starch might make it a little wrinkled or something. I haven’t tried it, but it’s the starch that holds the fabric in place. My mom did this trick over an ugly metal wall in one of our military apartments.

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