Expert Tips for Adding Designer Touches to Your Tiny Rental

Add style to temporary spaces with clever designer tips and projects you can tackle in a single day.

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Photo By: William Brinson

Living Room After: Clever Carpet Tiles

A clever trick for transforming floors in a rental is to invest in a removable modular carpet square system. Available in solids, textures and prints, the squares are simply placed onto the floor then held together with stickers. The only tool needed for wall-to-wall installation is a utility knife. Once it's time to pack up and move, the carpet squares can be packed up just like everything else and reused again and again.

Living Room Before: Devoid of Personality

Covered in beige and brown, this tiny Manhattan living room was desperately in need of color, pattern and personality. The small coffee table, dated area rug, brown pillows and mass-produced art were placed into a storage unit to make way for pieces with way more pizazz.

Living Room After: Tiny But Jazzed-Up

To add life to the living room, the area rug was replaced with colorful carpet squares that also added pattern to the space. The brown pillows were swapped for colorful prints picked up from a showhouse sample sale. (Score!) To help accommodate up to three guests comfortably, the tiny coffee table was replaced with a trio of modern nesting tables. To create the look of wallpaper, an 8-foot-by-4-foot sheet of 3/4-inch foam board was covered with wallpaper and fastened to the wall with double-sided tape.

Kitchen Before: Too Sterile

Although the apartment's kitchen was clean and accommodating, it felt cold and sterile. An easy way to add warmth to any kitchen is to layer textiles. A combination of rugs, window treatments and table linens work best.

Kitchen After: Warm + Inviting

The kitchen felt more lived-in and lively by simply adding carpet squares underfoot, dressing up the bistro table with a skirted tablecloth and placing fresh-cut flowers in a vessel.

Bedroom Before: Boring + Beige

In its existing state, the bedroom was void of color and pattern. To boost it with personality, the bedding needs to be swapped for something more earthy and warm, and the walls need a splash of color or a temporary pattern treatment.

Bedroom After: Wild With Wallpaper

The bedding was updated with solids and patterns in earth tones for a warmer look and feel. The walls were given a temporary geometric wallpaper treatment by using foam board and double-sided tape.

Dresser Wall Before: Uninspired

Covered in beige and brown, the window wall of the bathroom was lifeless and uninspired.

Dresser Wall After: Back to Life

For a touch of traditional style, an 8-foot-by-4-foot sheet of foam board covered in chinoiserie fabric was attached to the wall behind the dresser with double-sided tape. To prevent the fabric from wrinkling or sagging, it was held taut to the back foam board with industrial-strength tape, then secured in place from the sides using T-pins.

Workspace Before: So Generic

In its existing state, the small workstation felt generic and impersonal. To add personality and charm, all it needed was a quick styling update.

Workspace After: Ready for Action

The home office was given new life with an oil painting picked up at an antique store, a colorful industrial work lamp and vintage accessories found at the Brooklyn Flea Market.

Workspace After: Sleek Styling

A quick and easy way to update a workstation for free is to use basic art supplies as decor by displaying them in repurposed containers.