A Design Expert Solves Small-Space Renters’ Dilemmas

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Interior design is one of those grown-up projects we tell ourselves we’ll eventually get around to when we actually own our own homes. But, the thing is, fixing up our currently rented or shared-spaces doesn’t need to be indefinitely delayed for fear of budget- or landlord-restrictions. Joanna Thornhill, a London-based interior stylist, writer, and former serial-renter, gave us her expert advice on all of our small-space renter woes — and also turned a few of our former design ideas upside down.
The title of Thornhill’s most recent book, My Bedroom is an Office: & Other Interior Design Dilemmas, made us (and our cramped apartments) feel refreshingly seen. “I’ve been a serial renter in all sorts, from tiny one-bed flats to room share or house shares with several other people, so I’ve always had limitations as to what I’ve been able to do myself decor-wise,” she shared with us. “How can I decorate this room — that I don’t own and I may only live in for another year — in a way that’s not going to upset my landlord, but will still lift me up and make me happier?” With a background in set-styling, Thornhill was able to solve these design puzzles from a temporary photoshoot-style approach and liberating outlook that, “you’re not creating something that’s meant to last forever.” In essence, the writer-stylist showcases how interior design does not always equate to permanent-ownership — and getting creative with temporary interiors is actually quite fun.
From structural to personal-charm tips and more, we’re covering eight of Thornhill’s design solutions from her relatable guide book and pairing them with their shoppable counterparts ahead. Scroll on to get started with your own temporary-home redesign — and to learn why reflective peel-and-stick wallpaper is VIP, and how filling small-spaces with small-furniture is a big mistake.
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