Solutions for Renters: Bedrooms

January 29, 2013

Two things have occurred in the last 48 hours to bring this “solutions for renters” topic to my attention.  First, I learned from yesterday’s survey (thank you!) that 1 out of every 5 readers of this blog is a renter.  You left me comments like this:

“I currently live in an expensive city where we will be renters for a while. I would like to see posts on how people decorate their rentals when they can’t make permanent changes. Especially how to decorate around plain white walls.  If you could link to those stories or give ideas that would be great!”

“After submitting the survey, it occurred to me that I would love to see more projects for people who rent. Many readers are doubtlessly people in cities who live in rentals and can’t/don’t want to invest in ”permanent” projects, but still need solutions to problems like – my bathroom is ugly! my kitchen doesn’t haven’t enough storage! or the universal problem of storage in apartments… just a thought!”

Second, I stayed with my sister and and brother-in-law last weekend and they rent a small condominium while they save and search for the perfect house.  She suggested as a renter that I tackle this topic too.  Matt and I rented a home when we were first married and I also rented apartments for a few years when I was pursuing my degree, so we’ve both been there too.

So I decided to tackle this topic on in a series.  I’ll do my best to offer suggestions on how to personalize rental spaces in separate posts over the next month including today’s topic on Bedrooms, and also Living Spaces, Kid + Guest Rooms, Offices, Kitchens and Bathrooms. 

Sound good?  Let’s get this party started and go straight to the bedroom.   Shame on you if you misinterpret that last sentence.

solutions for renters in the bedroom

There are several elements to consider when you take on the challenge of making a rental space your own and they are the following: pattern, color, storage, and personality!   How to you incorporate these four essentials when you rent?   Here are some tips!

Pattern.  One of the first things I noticed in my sister’s bedroom was her use of modern floral window panels to set the palette for her bedroom (plums, grays, and teal).   Pattern is a great place to start when your walls are neutral!

When choosing patterns, you can’t go wrong with the design trifecta: a large scale motif (floral, Ikat, paisley, etc.), a smaller scale geometric, and a classic stripe in a complementary colorway.  This perfect trio works in every bedroom and provides just enough pattern to keep a space with neutral walls interesting.

mix of blue patterned fabrics

Brunschwig & Fils

Layering a rug that complements your bedding is a stylish way to introduce a pattern to your bedroom.  It doesn’t matter if your bed is an antique or something more subdued and modern, stationing a brightly painted nightstand (find them in at thrift stores and spray paint them!) also scores major style points. 

geometric bedding striped rug styleathome

Style At Home


Have you heard of temporary or “renter’s wallpaper” ?  There are several companies that offer removable wallpaper from Spoonflower to Sherwin Williams.  Do an online search to discover companies that make this product – it’s an investment but if you crave a bold pattern in your bedroom space, or even just behind the bed, it’s worth looking into!

wallpapered bedroom styleathome

Style at Home


Color.    White walls don’t mean your bedroom needs to be bland, if you have a favorite hue that speaks to you, bring it into the bedroom with your chosen linens and window panels.

pink and orange linens styleathome

Style at Home

pink panels and coverlet bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Another simple way to bring color into the bedroom when the walls are neutral or white is with a piece of painted furniture nestled next to or across from the bed. 

blue bedside chest splendidwillow

Splendid Willow

painted bedside dresser sara tuttle

Sara Tuttle

Don’t forget accessories too, a vivid or shapely lamp, and mirrors or artwork on the walls will bring even more color and character to your space.

Storage.   Closet space is precious in small spaces and this is one clever solution to give you more.  In their first house, John & Sherry of Young House Love added IKEA wardrobes and hung curtains in front for extra storage for their clothing. 

bedside wardrobes bhg

bedroom wardrobes younghouselove

 Better Homes & Gardens


Furniture that also acts as storage comes in handy in a bedroom, so think about trunks for linens and containers under the bed for out-of-season clothing.

trunk storage in bedroom bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Space permitting, I think every bedroom could use a place to rest where you can toss your coat and take off your shoes.  Bedroom corners are a great place to tuck a chair to catch up on some casual reading too, and consider those small scale plug-in fixture or floor lamp above as additional lighting. 

bedroom chair in corner bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Personality.   At the end of the day you want to retire in a space that reflects who you are so inject your personality into your rented space.  Got a fun or vintage textile you’ve inherited or purchased in your travels?  Hang it up as a focal point behind the bed.

textile behind bed bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Anything vintage, old, or one-of-a-kind will add instant character like these weathered doors playing the role as headboard.

weathered door headboard rue mag

Rue Magazine

Kristin’s bedroom is another example of personality on display, that gold framed map headboard and green rustic bench are two accents that make her bedroom unique.

painted hive bedroom

The Painted Hive


Renters (current and former) let’s hear from you.  How do you personalize your bedroom spaces to add color, pattern, storage, and personality, and make them feel like you?



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