Photos: Courtesy, Jennifer Cooley
The Recession might be over, but according to Bloomberg the rental housing market shows no sign of slowing down — and that may be by choice for many Gen X and Gen Y-ers who find security in the flexibility of being able to move for better quality of life or employment and other opportunities. If you prize interior design and home decor, however; rental properties can be challenging to customize without costing your security deposit.
When Jennifer Cooley moved from Boston to Ireland earlier this year to help open the Dublin office of Cambridge-based Hubspot, where she works as a partner account manager, she found her new furnished apartment felt cold and institutional — far less cozy than the Somerville apartment she left behind. (Local realtors would have sold it on its "character & charm" — I know, because we were neighbors.) Thanks to small temporary changes, including removable wallpaper from Tempaper, Cooley was able to create a home away from home in just a few hours with just a few simple DIYs and a little under $200. Here's how.
Originally from Indiana, and living in Chicago before moving to Boston for her job at Hubspot, Cooley knows a thing or two about the moving target of rental unit makeovers.
"I'm a total 'nester' and, especially when you move to another country, it's important for your place to feel like home," Cooley said. "I get bored easily so I always by neutral focal pieces, like a couch or chair. Then every few years I'll buy new throw pillows or use Tempaper for a wall to mix things up."
Tempaper, created in New York in 2008 by three former set decorators for film & television, is a removable, peel-and-stick wallpaper that doesn't require paste or glue to apply. For just $75 ($100 including shipping from New York to Dublin) and one hour of work, Cooley was able to create a chic accent wall that added a feminine touch to an otherwise "vanilla" furnished flat. (She used Tempaper's Damsel design in Oyster.)
"It was so easy," Cooley said. "I have no experience with wallpaper. Just be sure to line up the patterns on the floor before starting to stick on the wall! The Tempaper comes in panels, so you have to think about how to line it up so that the pattern flows from panel to panel."
In addition to the accent wall, Cooley also switched out a few light fixtures ($20 from TK Maxx, Ireland's TJ Maxx, top left and right) and added patterned throw pillows ($15 from Dunnes, Ireland's answer to Target, bottom left and right) to add personality, texture, and warmth to the stark efficiency unit. For artwork, Cooley chose $9-10 prints from a French artist on Etsy, framing them in simple 9x11" plastic frames (top, center). Last but not least — because, as Gerald Durell famously said, "A house is not a home until it has a dog" — Cooley's beloved Mastiff-Beagle mix, Lola, models the new living room decor (bottom, center).
Have you ever decorated with Tempaper, or switched out simple fixtures to make a rental apartment more personalized? What are your other tricks for making a house feel like a home without making permanent changes? We'd love to hear from you!
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About the Authors
Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out
|Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »|