Rock Your Rental with Kim Myles

  • 01 of 06

    Rock Your Rental with Kim Myles

    Kim Myles is a Los Angeles based interior designer and television personality. The winner of the second season of HGTV Design Star, Kim can currently be found on the OWN Network as a featured designer on Home Made Simple.

    I love renting. I may spend my professional life doing design makeovers for homeowners on TV, but my off-camera passion is the mortgage-free lifestyle. Truth is, I’ve lived in rentals all of my life with the exception of one brief foray into homeownership in 2009. And let me just tell ya’, I did not end up feeling that my adorable Los Angeles cottage (pictured here) was a satisfying slice of the American Dream. Contrary to the hype, owning wasn’t validating or empowering – it was just exhausting. It was three years of ‘money pit whack-a-mole’ and sleepless nights deciding whether to save for retirement or fix the “_______ “ (fill this blank in however you like, because everything needed fixing). My husband and I were so emotionally and financially drained by 2012 that we decided to sell in favor of regaining a nest egg and moving into a rental… and surprise! We couldn’t be happier.

    For every proud homeowner, there’s someone like me who feels that drinking the “Gotta’ own to be happy” Kool Aid was a toxic affair. Some see renting as the non-owner’s consolation prize, but I strongly disagree. I’m part of an exploding population of renters who are consciously opting out of a 30 year fiscal commitment in favor of the freedom and flexibility that renting affords us. From Millennials to recent retirees, millions of us are re-defining what ‘home’ means, and living rich, full, super-stylish lives in our rentals.

    So if you’re a renter, and you’re ready to really own your walls without all of the hassle that comes with literally ‘owning your walls’, you’ve come to the right place.

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  • 02 of 06

    Wall of Mirrors

    Let’s start by tearing down the myths that pass for rental décor advice. Run a quick search of ‘design ideas for rentals’ and you’ll find plenty of space dedicated to the idea that you can’t paint. Not so fast! Before you throw in the paint towel, check your lease as well as your local tenant’s rights laws. Landlords are legally obligated to repaint every few years, so if you love your spot and plan to stay for a while, make it yours! If you’re doing a shorter residency but still want some ‘wall-wow’, then floor-to-ceiling mirrors makes a stunning display. (Bonus! This kind of installation doubles and brightens any room – brilliant for small or dark spaces.)

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  • 03 of 06

    Bookshelf Room Divider

    How about the whole, ‘renting means you’ll have no storage space’ fiction? Small space décor just means you need to divide and conquer for maximum functionality. Floating bookshelves are my go-to solve because they provide the function of a wall with the bonus of storage. Note: if you go with a closed set of shelves, don’t miss the opportunity to turn the backside into an unexpected feature. Instead of facing a wall, it’s now an exposed, mini-wall itself - turn it into a statement by treating it to a stencil or some wallpaper.

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  • 04 of 06

    Temporary Wallpaper

    People who claim you can’t wallpaper a rental couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re ready to go bold, then wallpaper is definitely an option thanks to the gorgeous ingeniousness over at These repositionable, removable wallpaper panels are just begging to turn your rooms into customized masterpieces. Even papering a small area such as an entry wall can really elevate the experience of coming home at the end of a long day.

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  • 05 of 06

    Faux Molding

    The idea that renting relegates you to life in a bland, white box just isn’t true. Architectural details like molding and paneling can be the MVP’s of the ‘customized look’ game, and you can absolutely rock them in a non-permanent way. People are doing some cool things with paint, but I’m totally feeling this moody (and temporary!) version of decorative molding created with simple black masking tape.

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  • 06 of 06

    Quilt Art

    Ultimately, our spaces are our own, simply because we inhabit them. Why shouldn’t we give pride of place to our most beautiful, cherished items (like this stunning, modern quilt) just because we pay a landlord once a month? We need to stop shelving our decorative dreams, and start making our way towards homes that we love, regardless of who’s paying the property tax. It’s time to start rocking our rentals. I say, all aboard!