10 Tips on Decorating a Rental

A designer shares quick tricks for making any place feel like home.

The fix is in

When Kyle Schuneman moved into half of a Victorian duplex in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, he didn’t know how long he would live there. What he did know, however, is that he felt duty-bound to make his mark on the apartment. “Even in a rental, it’s about making a space that works for you,” he says. With these big-impact, low-commitment decorating ideas, he proves that living well isn’t just for homeowners.

Play up good bones

Schuneman made the most of the apartment’s best asset—its molding and wainscoting—by painting it glossy white. He painted the walls blue as a modern counterpoint.

Customize on a dime

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Using plumbing parts and lumber from the Home Depot, Schuneman built an industrial-style bookcase for the narrow space behind the living room sofa. Since the piece is on casters, it can easily move out whenever Schuneman does.

Create the illusion of space

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Hanging long drapes high “lifts” the ceilings. “The blue vertical lines make the space feel taller,” he says.

Beautify built-ins

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Temporary peel-and-stick wallpaper upgrades kitchen cabinets.

Make big statements

Schuneman hits the flea market for large, affordable pieces that can function as artwork, including this San Francisco bus signage that he scored for $25. “I liked these because they had a local angle, but old maps or educational posters work too,” he says.

Work your smallest spaces

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Paying attention to every corner makes a home feel lived in. Here, a pottery collection and a cheeky cardboard deer mount draw the eye down the hall.

Hide flaws

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Schuneman covered a dated built-in mirror above the mantel with an Airstream photo he had blown up and printed on canvas. Mine your pictures for a masterpiece. “Landscapes work great because they can feel like paintings,” he says.

Add a graphic element

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With the help of painter’s tape, Schuneman created a diagonal striped pattern on either side of the mantel. “The stripes help anchor the room and highlight the fireplace as a focal point,” he says.

Set up a temp workspace

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To create an office within his bedroom, Schuneman added a slim desk and put up metal and cork shelves (after putting down strips of painter’s tape and then industrial Velcro to protect the walls).
Read original article by Kyle Schuneman for Sunset Magazine here.  
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