Are you renting from SC? Here’s how to make the temporary space feel like home. | Features

Landlords don’t often want tenants to wallpaper or paint the walls. If a tenant thinks the kitchen needs an upgrade, they’ll likely have to move elsewhere to get it.

The Charleston area’s competitive real estate market often means that renting is the best option for residents. Others, especially recent transplants, prefer the flexibility of renting to a mortgage.

In fact, approximately 48% of Charleston County residents are renters according to the US Census Bureau.

But renting an apartment or house doesn’t mean a tenant has to live in a bland space.

Whether you’re staying six months or six years, certain personal touches can make a rental feel like home.

Local interior design professionals have shared their tips with The Post and Courier on how to decorate in a way that’s friendly to homeowners and wallets.

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For a tenant who does not stay long, some furniture can move more easily from one place to another.

Investing in a better quality, durable sofa may make more sense in the long run than a dining set.


Peel and stick wallpaper is designed to be removed without damaging a wall, making it a good option for renters. Lacey Toney Photography/Supplied

“A sofa is generally something that, although you keep in mind the size of your space, is going to be a piece that will take you from space to space,” said Lauren Waldorf, principal designer and owner of Lauren Waldorf Interiors. .

When shopping for a sofa, buyers should keep an eye out for performance fabrics, such as the Crypton brand, that will stand up to daily wear and tear, pets and children, Waldorf said.

Velvet and leather are also durable options.

“Velvet gets overlooked, especially in Charleston because it’s kinda warm…but velor is a really durable fabric,” said Dain Silvestri Stall, who is an advertising and e-commerce associate for the local home decor boutique. and design Celadon Home.

Sometimes couches can help make the most of a small space.

“If you have a smaller apartment, you can invest in a sofa bed so your guests can have a place to sleep,” Silvestri Stall says.

Choosing a practical sofa doesn’t mean a home’s style has to stay the same over time, Waldorf added.

“Sometimes you might want to play it a little safer, keep it neutral and fairly classic, then add occasional pillows and furniture that has more personality and isn’t hard to change over time,” a- she declared.

That doesn’t mean a hot pink sofa is out of bounds.

“If you love it and it resonates with you right now, don’t make rules for yourself just to have rules,” she said.

For other furniture, such as coffee tables or bookcases, Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores can offer budget options, said Karie Calhoun, co-owner and teacher at the Charleston School for Interior Design.

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“If (the seller) knows the brand of furniture, you can tell if they have good furniture,” she said. “You will know if it has worn well over time.”

Cheaper items can provide a canvas for a DIY project, she added. Used furniture can come alive with a fresh coat of paint.

Add personality

Without the ability to make permanent changes, adding artwork is one of the easiest ways to add personality to a home.


Celadon at Home sells accent items and furniture. Anne Rhett Photography/Supplied

Celadon Home curates a selection of local artists to help give the store’s offering a sense of place. Picking up unique pieces while traveling is another way to make a space personal.

“Find pieces that add character. Whether it’s bright colors or warm tones, there’s something for everyone,” Silvestri Stall said. “Make sure you have rooms you feel at home in.”

Not hanging up the curtains is also a missed opportunity, Waldorf said.

“Curtains make a huge difference in making a place feel full, settled and soft,” she said.

For those with a more creative streak, Waldorf recommends Peel and Stick Wallpaper, which is specially designed to be easy to rent. West Elm sells it and other brands specialize in it like Spoonflower and Minted.

To add more lighting in a unique way, tenants can find battery-powered wall sconces that don’t require wiring and are easy to hang.

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“It’s a great way to establish a permanent feeling,” Waldorf said.

And sometimes the simple act of replacing a light bulb can have a big impact.

“Sometimes rentals have these LED bulbs that have really high Kelvin temperatures. They’re almost blue light,” Calhoun said.

She recommends replacing these bulbs with softer tones when possible or adding lamps to provide different options.

Work at home


Hanging art is an easy-to-rent way to personalize a space. Lacey Toney Photography/Supplied

With so many people working from home, having a comfortable space is even more important now, Silvestri Stall said. In small spaces, tenants should try to find a way to put work items away at the end of the day when possible.

“It’s always nice to have a desk or an area on Fridays where you can put the screens away and it can still feel like part of your space,” she said.

Decorating a rented space may seem frivolous to some, but it has big effects.

“So many people don’t realize it’s impacting them until it’s impacting them well,” Waldorf said. “You should always be able to find some comfort and peace in your space.”

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