I was delighted to receive a reader question from a student at my alma mater - go Blugolds! Meredith, like probably a lot of college students, is struggling to make her college pad feel unique and decorated with the restraints of a landlord (bold paint colors, wallpaper... forget about it). I laugh when I think back to the God awful tricks we tried in our college space. As if a poop brown corduroy sofa wasn't bad enough, we decided to drape purple sheets over it in lieu of a slipcover. Gasp.
Here are a few affordable ideas for decorating a temporary rental...
Probably the biggest impact you can make on walls aside from painting or wallpapering, is a fun collection of art. I chose this example because it shows how art doesn't need to be fancy or expensive to earn a spot on your wall. Goodwill is a perfect source for quirky mismatched frames and they are cheap as hell. You can frame anything from postcards, drawings, scrap from a magazine or even... nothing (see brown frame, upper right). Don't worry about creating a perfect grid, just hang them in a charming cluster and voila! If your landlord complains about nail holes, tell him to suck it.
Cheap rentals usually have some sort of odd built-in fixture. Instead of pretending it doesn't exist, embrace it in a creative way. You may not be able to paint a fireplace yellow, but I love the cute little faux fire incorporated here.
Here are three great decorating ideas that cost next to nothing. First, stock up on some clipboards, hang them in a couple of rows and use them to house inspiration from your favorite mags. Next, make a string of paper airplanes, origami birds or flowers and drape
them over your bed, dining table or entryway. Lastly, with the right chairs and cute candlesticks, a gaudy floral tablecloth suddenly looks kitschy and cute.
Last but certainly not least, I love this grid of paint swatches. Aside from a $2 package of pins, this idea is FREE. Bop over to your local Home Depot, gank a slew of paint swatches and then transform a boring white wall into a mural of color.