6 tips for decorating your rental property.

There's an abundance of colour, pattern, texture and layering in my bedroom to make up for what I can't have.

There’s an abundance of colour, pattern, texture and layering.

This past weekend I put the final touches on a little side project of mine.  My own bedroom.  It’s been patiently waiting for an update, which I was avoiding because 1/ I’m my own worst client 2/ I live in an inner city rental so quickly feel defeated by all of the constraints.  What’s an Interior Designer to do without wallpaper, architectural details or custom curtains?  Here’s what I decided on.

1. More of everything (else).

For practical reasons wallpaper, custom curtains, even a lick of colourful paint are out.  This means that stepping up all of our usual elements is in – think more colour, pattern, texture, scale and layering.  Here, I’ve used pops of colour in the soft furnishings and accessories, the patterns are quite bold on the cushions and blanket, I’ve mixed different textures and had an extra tall (145cm) headboard made.

2.  Invest in quality furniture that is transferrable, not temporary.

I’ve been gradually building up a collection of good quality furniture.  I’d like to think I won’t be renting for much longer but the reality is I live in Sydney and have a penchant for pretty inner city suburbs beyond my current reach.  Ikea is just not going to cut it while I wait to win lotto.  Invest wisely and look out for sales on key pieces and really enjoy the home you live in, today.

3. Multitask

I like to look out for furniture that is versatile so that it can be moved around to different rooms and used again in another home.  This antique desk is currently a bedside, was previously a stand for my TV and I’m sure will make a great entrance console one day.

If space is an issue, multi task areas.  I'm loving the trend for bedside tables that also work as desks.

If space is an issue, multi task areas. I’m loving the trend for bedside tables that also work as desks.

4. Hang great artwork

I really think it’s important to hang proper artwork that you love.  Removable velcro strips are a godsend.  I’m lucky enough to have beautiful water colour paintings by my partner’s father.  So much more sophisticated and personal than that new sticky wallpaper, washi tape or decals that scream RENTAL!  Don’t you think?  (I have also found some amazing paintings in Vinnies so no excuses!)

5. Floor rugs

Floor rugs are a great opportunity to bring in that first layer of colour, texture and warmth.  An over scaled rug (so long as it fits in the room!) will make the room appear bigger and more luxurious.  They’re also transferable to your next home so a good excuse to spend a little more on something nice.

6. Accessorise

As with any interior, accessories finish and lift the room.  Try to find accessories that you love and are personal to you in some way, then layer them on top of books and make vignettes.  I find weekend markets a great source for unique accessories.

I pulled the blues and greens used in this scheme from the water colour painting in this pic.

I pulled the blues and greens used in this scheme from the water colour painting in this pic.

Colour of the moment: Radiant Orchid


Image source unknown

Beautiful colours flow in and out of fashion with changing trends, seasons and locations.  Whilst I always recommend using a base of neutrals for the large and often expensive items in your home, it’s the accents of colour found in art and accessories which will personalise the room.  If you’re looking for some fresh colour inspiration, why not try a colour that you wouldn’t normally consider?



At the moment, I’m loving ‘Radiant Orchid’, which has just been announced as the colour for 2014 by colour forecaster, Pantone.  This bright magenta cross fuchsia purple sits surprisingly well next to all neutrals, from white to greys and even the deepest charcoal.


image source unknown

Ease in to this colour with scatter cushions, throws or a new accessory.  If you’re feeling bold, paint or wallpaper an entire room.  The trick is to ensure there is another expanse of neutral colour in the room for the eye to rest on, such as a sofa or floor rug.


image from Barbara Groen

Have a look at my instagram @thedesignanthologist for my interpretation of using this colour with beautiful fabrics.