Designer Emily Henderson's Decorating Tips For Renters

California cool girl designer Emily Henderson shares her insider tips for decorating when you are a renter (hint: they work for homeowners too!).

May 24, 2019
Related To:

Photo By: Luis Noble for Invitation Homes

Photo By: Luis Noble for Invitation Homes

Photo By: Sara Liggoria-Tramp for EHD

Photo By: Sara Liggoria-Tramp for EHD

Photo By: Luis Noble for Invitation Homes

Photo By: Luis Noble for Invitation Homes

Photo By: Sara Liggoria-Tramp for EHD

Photo By: Sara Liggoria-Tramp for EHD

Photo By: Luis Noble for Invitation Homes

Photo By: Sara Liggoria-Tramp for EHD

Designer Emily Henderson Shares Her Best Tips

The author of Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, From Tabletops to Bookshelves, designer Emily Henderson collaborated with single-family home rental company Invitation Homes to share some practical advice for making a rental home into a cozy, on-trend and functional space. Better still, you can take these tips with you each time you move to make every space beautifully suited to your unique style.

Any Space Can Feel Like Home

Whether you are renting or owning, in a city or town for one year or in a forever home, there is no reason you can't personalize and customize your space. Emily Henderson advises home owners and renters to "go into your attic or box of mementoes" for artwork and sculptural elements in your home in place of expensive, original artworks. "If it's two-dimensional and means something to you, it can become a piece of art." The living room coffee table is a repurposed circus elephant stand painted with black spray paint, as is the etagere in the far corner. Circular forms that bring in a hip, Eighties vibe repeat in the couch and mantel mirror and peacock blue and natural wood side tables in the room to bring cohesion to this Boho-Scandi living room.

Thrift It!

This stunning leather chair was sourced at an Atlanta thrift store. "It takes more time, but costs less if you thrift" says Henderson.

Make It Personal

Simple white frames house a variety of special, sentimental objects in this chic gallery wall design by Emily Henderson. A Lucite box holds a sculptural object and three small frames house matchbooks from favorite restaurants. A gallery wall should be a reflection of the resident's tastes and interests and doesn't have to be expensive or difficult to create says Henderson. These personally significant mementoes help you capture your personal style and memories no matter where you go.

Designer tip: A large matte adds impact with small art and objects, like these matchbooks.

Think About Scale

"Renting is not the time to buy the 10-foot sectional" says Henderson, who advises renters keep their furniture medium-scale to make it adaptable to a number of different settings.

Add Architectural Elements

The cool, artsy mobile Henderson found at a thrift store. Combined with the black metal sconce flanking the couch, these elements give this rental home a custom, architectural feel without expensive renovations says Henderson.

Make Room for Art

Whether you find a vintage portrait at a thrift store or a massive, modernist Sunday painting abstract oil painting at a garage sale, Henderson says "art will make a massive difference" in a home.

Embrace Boho

Boho means eclectic, and eclectic often means affordable, as a collection of multi-sourced, funky objects that can be picked up for a song at garage sales and thrift stores. Henderson says that 70-80 percent of the decor in this Boho-meets-Scandi Atlanta living/dining room was picked up at vintage stores.

The Power of Paint

This etagere was also sourced at an Atlanta thrift store. Henderson repurposed the piece with black spray paint to fit with other black metal items like the coffee table and mantel mirror in the room. Better still, if the etagere paint gets chipped in transit you can always cover those glitches with a fresh coat of black spray paint.

Try Inexpensive Changes

Just refreshing your rug, pillows and throws can be an easy and affordable way to bring on-trend touches to a new home. "Warm tones like rusts, browns, tans, beiges are making a big comeback" says Henderson, especially when paired with black, blue or green.

Shop This Look