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Renter’s guide to holiday decorating from Jonathan Scott

As a home-improvement expert on HGTV, Jonathan Scott spends his days helping homeowners create living spaces they love. But even renters can create the ultimate retreat at home. SheKnows caught up with the busy entrepreneur, and we’re sharing his tips for giving your rental a little holiday flair.

Jonathan Scott

Decorating a rental can be tough. Often you’re limited in the amount of changes you can make and are subject to the whims of your landlord. If you’re in an older space, this can mean you’re stuck with cheesy laminate floors and white walls with a mean case of the blahs. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Especially around the holidays.

Property Brothers star and home makeover expert Jonathan Scott says there are two philosophies to decorating a rental space.

The first approach is to just go for it. “It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission,” Scott explains. “So if you’re doing something that’s not too wild, and is really going to add value to the space, sometimes you may just want to do it.”

“Be prepared that you may have to paint it back to the way it was before, but paint is usually the easiest thing to do to add a little color to a space and make it look good.”

For those not wanting to make a big investment in a temporary space, stick to wall art and decorative accents, he says. Area rugs and window coverings are a huge opportunity to add style to a space that isn’t permanent.

On a tight budget? Scott says to make your own window coverings.

“I buy a lot of curtains at Ikea. Just a plain white curtain, and then I’ll go to the fabric store and I’ll buy a pattern that I like, something a little more bold, and then I’ll just add a strip across the top of the curtains,” he describes. “I’ll just sew it on there, and then when you install it, it looks like a custom curtain; it doesn’t look like just an inexpensive curtain from Ikea.”

Once the holidays roll around, it becomes even easier to update your rental by swapping out accents with a seasonal spin.

“For the holidays, what I like to do is introduce some of the holiday tones, which are the reds and the greens, and some lights, and stuff like that,” Scott explains.

“If someone has a condo, or something like that, just introduce a little bit of garland, have something around the mantel, and maybe change out the area rug for a little bit more personality in your decor pieces.”

And don’t take this to mean you have to deck your halls in dorky little snowmen.

“It doesn’t have to be tacky, cheesy holiday,” Scott further explains. “It can be very elegant, very formal, but just enough to give that flavor of Christmas.”

See our guide for simple seasonal updates you can do for the holidays.

Accent pillows

Swap this

Chevron crewel pillow cover

Chevron crewel pillow cover (West Elm, $44)

For that

Reindeer pillow

Reindeer pillow (Crate and Barrel, $45)

Cozy throw

Swap this

Sage gray throw

Sage gray throw (Lulu & Georgia, $65)

For that

Cullen throw

Cullen throw (Crate and Barrel, $30)

Welcome wreath

Swap this

Driftwood wreath

Driftwood wreath (Nordstrom, $98)

For that

Ornament wreath

Ornament wreath (Pier 1 Imports, $40)

On the fireplace

Swap this

Votive tray candle holder

Votive tray candleholder (Lamps Plus, $45)

For that

Beaded tree garland

Beaded tree garland (Pier 1 Imports, $26)


Swap this

Circles doormat

Circles doormat (Target, $10)

For that

Holiday trees doormat

Holiday trees doormat (Pier 1 Imports, $20)

More holiday decorating ideas

Sabrina Soto shares her hot holiday decor ideas
Christmas decor for small spaces
5 Best blogs for holiday decor inspiration

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