5 Home Décor Pieces Renters Should Avoid
We love design, and sometimes there’s nothing—not even a totalitarian landlord—that will stand in the way of us swapping out all the contractor-grade light fixtures in our home. That said, when it comes to decorating a rental, there are some things we can be sensible about. Here are five home décor items renters should avoid, and a few stylish alternatives, since there’s always another way...
If you move often (i.e. every year or two), it’s wise not to purchase furniture that’s extraordinarily heavy. No one wants to deal with moving a midcentury steelcase desk, whether it’s three-story walk-up or a ranch house; those bad boys are monstrous. Especially in small city apartments, rental moves can often be tackled with a friend or two, but that overweight piece may be the one that requires you to hire a mover.
If you’re planning to live in your rental for a long time, then by all means, get a sectional if that’s what’s right for your space. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid it. Should you ever move (very likely!), the configuration and/or size of the sofa may not work in your future abode. The alternative? Get a standard sofa and an upholstered ottoman, which you can easily move around.
While you may have scored on moving into a contemporary loft apartment with beautiful tall ceilings, when your landlord raises your rent in 12 months and you’re forced to move into a vertically challenge ‘70s unit, that uber-cool and tall Arc Lamp of yours may very well not fit. Stick with pieces that will accommodate the standard apartment height of 8’.
As dramatic a transformation wallpaper can make, it is costly and time-intensive to install and to remove, so we strongly advise against wallpapering in your home. A great alternative is temporary wallpaper, which more or less has a peel-and-stick application. If you’re having trouble finding a pattern you love, consider Graham & Brown’s Paste the Wall designs, or similar papers from other brands, which peel off by hand in easier-to-manage sheets and don’t require steaming as traditional wallpapers do.
Hanging art in your home with a single nail or a screw is an acceptable practice in rentals, but if you make multiple drills in your walls, your landlord won’t be pleased when you move out. So avoid furniture and décor that requires extensive installation, such as industrial bookcases or shelving; instead, select freestanding furniture. I once not-so-smartly (and lazily) used adhesive foam backing to attach a large lasercut sheet to my wall; when I removed it on moving day, about four layers of paint came with it—not a pretty sight.
A custom box valance may be just what you need to complete your dream window look, but who knows what dimensions the windows in your next rental will have. It’s probably not wise to invest in custom-sized décor, unless you’re skilled with upholstery and can DIY! Instead, just use curtain panels or drapes, which are quite easy to shorten or even lengthen when you move.