When it comes to decorating a serene and inviting coastal retreat in your rented space, you don’t have to break the bank or make permanent changes. There are renter-friendly solutions for a coastal bedroom makeover.
Giving your rental a coastal bedroom makeover without leaving a trace behind comes with some pitfalls, but with a little creativity and some strategically chosen products, you can give your bedroom a fresh and breezy coastal vibe that’s both renter-friendly and budget-conscious.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through a series of simple yet impactful updates that will completely transform your space, from top down, without leaving a trace once it’s time to move out and how to work around common obstacles.
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Let’s start with 5 easier and cheaper solutions
1. Painting the Walls
Painting the walls is one of the easiest ways to update and completely change the look of your bedroom. It’s relatively cheap and it’s removable. So if you’re in for it, if your lease agreement or landlord allows it, or if you know for sure you can repaint the walls back when it’s time to move, it’s a great start for a coastal bedroom makeover. So get your paint roller!
White Walls: A Blank Canvas for Coastal Vibes
White walls are a staple in coastal design, and they serve as the perfect backdrop for your beach-inspired bedroom oasis. The beauty of paint is that it’s temporary and easily reversible.
Choose a crisp, clean white paint to open up the space and reflect natural light. The best part? When it’s time to move, a fresh coat of your landlord’s preferred color will restore the original look (make sure you can find that color).
Light Blue Walls: Bringing the Ocean Indoors.
Blue is not only a coastal color, but also a calming and relaxing hue, making it well-suited for bedroom decor.
However, if your bedroom doesn’t have lots of natural light, blue can darken the room, or at least you may not get that soft coastal look you’re aiming for. So, there are a few considerations to keep in mind if using light blue paint in a room with limited natural light:
- Choose a light blue shade that leans towards a softer, muted tone rather than an extremely bright or pastel shade. Softer tones of light blue tend to work better in rooms with less natural light, as they create a more calming and soothing ambiance. A cool white, white with blue undertones or a blue almost white.
- Avoid painting the entire bedroom blue. Paint the wall behind the bed with the blue tone as a focal point and the rest of the room crispy white. That way the white walls will reflect the light.
- Test the Color: Before committing to painting the entire room or an accent wall, test a small area of the wall with the chosen light blue paint to see how it looks in different lighting conditions throughout the day. This will help you gauge if it achieves the desired coastal effect in your specific room. Do not overlook this.
Coastal Wallpaper and Paneling
Instead of painting the walls or an accent wall blue, you can use wallpaper for a more decorative look.
Adding wallpaper as an accent wall or above a white wainscot can create a focal point that evokes the serene beauty of coastal landscapes. Opt for subtle and spaced patterns like thin stripes, tropical florals, and lines in muted blues, sand, or white.
Two side notes:
Don’t use wallpaper or paint an accent wall if the bedroom is too small or too busy. It can create a cluttered feeling. Also, don’t choose busy patterns.
Wallpaper, whether traditional or peel-and-stick and self-adhesive, is not an alternative to painting the walls in the end. It’s a decorative alternative. This means that removing the paper when it’s time to move out will require you to repaint the walls, because the glue may chip the paint. So know the original color and how easy it is to find it.
Shiplap and Wood paneling: Seaside Charm, Even in a Rental
Speaking about shiplap and wainscot, when aiming to bring a coastal ambiance into your rental bedroom, wood paneling (or faux wood paneling) can make your bedroom more cozy, classic, and coastal.
Incorporating shiplap paneling, either as an accent wall or in strategic areas, can instantly infuse your space with the relaxed charm of coastal cottages.
Cheapest Shiplap? Paint it till you make it: You can use wallpaper that mimics shiplap or you can paint black stripes with a marker and a ruler all over the wall to fake shiplap stripes.
These cost-effective and removable solutions allow you to effortlessly transform your rental into a coastal haven.
2. Give your Bed a Coastal Makeover
The centerpiece of any bedroom is, of course, the bed. Just by decorating your bed in a coastal style you can create the seaside feel in your bedroom. Here are some easy updates:
Bed Slipcovers: Effortless Elegance
The easiest way to create a coastal bedroom is by updating the bedding.
Opt for interchangeable bed slipcovers or a bedspread quilt. It can instantly change the color and texture of your bed, allowing you to embrace coastal hues and textures. Think soft blues, sandy beiges, and crisp whites to capture the essence of the ocean. Bed linens is something you will keep after moving, so invest in decent-quality duvet cover and quilt sets.
Go a Step Further: Update the Bed with a Bed Skirt and a Headboard
Enhance your bed appearance by adding a bed skirt, and a headboard.
A bed skirt not only conceals any under-bed clutter, it also adds a touch of elegance.
To make a statement, consider a removable headboard. Many headboards are designed to attach and detach easily, so you can add a touch of style without damaging the walls or bed frame.
If your bed already has a headboard, but it doesn’t look too coastal, you can use a bed headboard slipcover.
Choose white, sand, or blue (light blue for a seaside look and nautical blue for a traditional coastal style) and match the headboard and bed skirt colors for a cohesive look.
3. Update the Lighting: Let the Sun go Down
It may not look like it, but changing the lighting fixtures for the right ones can make a big difference and immediately give a coastal vibe to the bedroom.
Changing the lighting is something you can do without breaking any rules. Just make sure you store the original fixtures in a box so you can reinstall them later when it’s time to return the keys.
By choosing the right lighting fixtures, and incorporating ambient and task lighting, you can create a cozy atmosphere that embodies the serene charm of the coast.
Let’s shed light on how to illuminate your coastal bedroom oasis with style, functionality, and a renter’s consideration in mind.
Not Wiring? No Problem: Add Battery Operated Lighting
Battery-operated lights, bulbs, or LED strips offer an easy way to add a warm and inviting glow to your coastal bedroom with no wiring required. It’s a perfect solution for a bedroom, and any area of the house, rental or not, when you don’t have the right electrical wiring.
You can find battery-operated wall sconces, picture lights, and strip LED lights, and you can even add a battery-operated bulb to any lamp and light fixture you want. That’s amazing!
Best Coastal Style Lights
Since light fixtures are also something you can keep after moving, invest in timeless coastal-style models.
Wall Lights: Instant Nautical Vibe
Adding wall sconces over the bed can instantly make the room look coastal.
Whether you want a modern coastal bedroom, a Hamptons-style bedroom, or a classic or rustic coastal style, wall sconces can help achieve this look.
For a modern style choose white ceramic uplights and for a nautical and rustic look choose brass, bronze, or black framed wallchieres or swing-arm sconces.
Coastal Table Lamps:
If you prefer table lamps, then clear glass, brass, bronze, or black metal frame, or white or soft blue ceramic table lamps with a white lampshade are the best choices for a coastal bedroom.
Coastal Ceiling lights
Replace that bland boob light with a coastal-style ceiling light. You can choose a brass, black, or bronze chandelier or pendant pagoda lantern, or even a wood bead chandelier. Alternatively, or to add depth and layers, add battery-operated LED strip lights around the edges of the ceiling. It will look especially amazing if the ceiling has a gap under the crown molding, that way you don’t see the strip.
4. Coastal Decor: Bringing the Coast Indoors
Accessories are the finishing touch that brings your coastal theme to life.
Incorporating elements like seashell decorations, coastal-inspired artwork, coastal pattern throw pillows, white, blue, or sandy beach scented candles, clear glass jars, frames, and mirrors all in a coastal-style will complete the coastal bedroom makeover. These are 100% rental friendly and the options are almost endless.
5. Update Window Treatments:
Transforming your rental bedroom into a tranquil coastal haven extends to the windows as well.
Update your window treatments with a touch of seaside charm.
White Roller blinds
Embrace the crisp and clean aesthetic with options like white roman or roller blinds, which brings a sense of elegance and versatility to the space. It’s simplicity effortlessly filter sunlight, creating a soothing ambiance reminiscent of a boat.
Additionally, wood blinds can add warmth and character, creating a connection to coastal cottages and Hamptons vibe, since they imitate plantation shutters, a staple in Hampton’s homes.
To infuse a hint of natural texture and a beach vibe, use bamboo roller blinds which adds an organic element that complements the coastal theme.
If installing blinds is not your thing, consider using white linen or cotton thick curtains. All you need is a coastal-style curtain rod in the same metal color chosen for the rest of hardware and fixtures.
With these varied choices, you can easily find the ideal window treatment that perfectly captures the serene coastal essence while staying within the boundaries of your rental arrangement.
Now, to the 2 trickier Coastal Bedroom Makeovers
Now that we’ve talked about five easy and cheaper changes and updates you can do for a coastal bedroom makeover even in a rental, let’s discuss the two trickier upgrades. They are doable, but they can be more costly or more riskier.
1. Update the Furniture: Choose Coastal White, But…
Now this can be tricky if your rented space came furnished, and worse, with outdated or mismatched furniture. Been there and it was not easy to deal with. So what can you do?
Contact Paper on Furniture: Is It a Good Idea?
Let’s start with the most popular solution: contact paper. Here’s the thing…
Does it come off easily?
Contact paper is often promoted as the miracle solution to updating furniture and it always looks great, and we always assume it’s temporary – all we need to do is to peel it off when it’s time to put everything back, even if we have to use a hairdryer and a scraper. What can go wrong? Perfect, right?
Well, let me say this from first-hand experience, and you’ll find other DIYers who have encountered the same problem: it can also be a total disaster.
When it’s time to remove contact paper from furniture it can go three ways:
a) Smoothly! Which is fine, perfect, great! That’s what we want!
b) It can leave a sticky residue, which is a pain to remove, but with time, money, and patience it’s doable.
c) Or...it can ruin the furniture irreparably!
Almost all modern wood furniture is made of some material like plywood, MDF, or other composite and then foiled with a finishing wood veneer. With time, exposure to hot, cold, and moist, that foil can lose adherence in some places. Other times, the foil has a finishing coat too.
Well, the contact paper glue can peel off that wood foil and varnish. And once it grabs a bit of the veneer, it only stops pulling it off when it wants to. You have no control over it. It’s a nightmare! And this damage is not fixable. It’s not varnish, it’s not wood filler…it’s an entire wood foil industrially applied that needs to be replaced.
Does it look good?
Another thing, but this can be a matter of personal taste, is that contact paper can give a cheap plastic look to the furniture and the room. Your guests may not see it, because they don’t know it’s paper, but it looks like plastic. It’s not wood, it’s not real, and it doesn’t have a natural wood warmth, texture and shine. It is fake and it looks fake. However, as a temporary solution, it’s not the worst idea.
When is it safe(r) to use contact paper on furniture?
If the furniture is made of natural wood, not foiled, coated, or finished in any way, or has a stone or ceramic top, the worst-case scenario is the sticky residue leftover from contact paper, but it will not damage the surface. If the wood chips a bit, you can repair it. Theoretically…
So, be cautious. If you decide to use contact paper anyway, choose white and maybe faux white wood paper.
Paint Furniture White: A Breath of Fresh Air
A coat of white paint can work wonders. Whether it’s a nightstand, dresser, or even a chair, painting furniture white creates a cohesive, coastal, and airy feel. It makes such a difference in the light it brings.
If your furniture belongs to the landlord, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can paint the furniture but if, and only if, it has a very smooth, glossy, lacquer finish.
If so, and if only so, choose a water-based paint, test it first in a small hidden area without sanding the piece, or applying primer. Let it dry completely and then scrape it with a window scraper (which doesn’t scratch the surface) and water. If the paint comes off easily, you’re good to go.
The lacquer finish is so glossy and hard that water-based paint doesn’t adhere well, especially without sanding and primer. The paint can get into little chips, crevices, and scratches which will be a bit trickier to remove, but we’re talking about little drops here and there. A brush can help wipe it off. It will, nevertheless, be time-consuming to remove the paint, but it can work. However, test it first and be cautious.
If it’s your own furniture, go ahead. Painting it white is a great way to make it coastal! If you don’t have furniture you can buy it in thrift stores or second-hand for cheap and paint it white to create a cohesive and coastal look.
Embrace the Wood Furniture
I know this is not easy to do, but sometimes we have to let go of our expectations and work around what we have. Been there too. Fortunately, the coastal style has many variations to choose from.
Hamptons, nautical, classic, and even cottage or farmhouse coastal styles allow wood color furniture. Dark or light. So it’s not the end of the world.
If your bedroom has wood furniture in natural or dark colors, make it work with a coastal style by making the bedroom mostly white (white walls and light floor).
Update the Floor for a Coastal Lifestyle
You can give your coastal bedroom a makeover from the ground up.
Vinyl or PVC flooring (laminate, click-lock, peel-and-stick) is perfect for renters seeking a temporary flooring update. With its easy installation and removal process, you can achieve the look of hardwood or tile without the commitment.
Consider opting for a light finish to complement the coastal theme. For a classic coastal or a country coastal look, you can choose dark wood.
However, much like the contact paper, be careful with peel-and-stick solutions. It can damage the original floor. One safe option is to layer plastic sheets over the original floor, secure it with tape, and then add the peel-and-stick flooring over it.
Traditional click-lock and floating floors are much safer because they are not glued to the ground.
What if You Have Carpet Installed?
Having to work around features we can’t change and didn’t choose can be challenging, and an installed carpet can be one of those things. But it’s not the end of the world. You can still have a coastal-style bedroom.
Can you Install Floating Floor Over Carpet?
Although installing laminate or peel-and-stick floor (not directly!) over carpet is not recommended, because the fluffy floor will cause dents and possibly break the laminate floor, there are people doing it and getting away with it as a temporary solution.
Search on YouTube and you’ll find many tutorials for this. In many of those tutorials, they suggest adding plywood sheets over the carpet and then floating or peel-and-stick flooring on top. The thinner the carpet, the better.
Can you have carpet floor in a coastal bedroom?
If you don’t want to go the route above, which is understandable, your best option is to embrace the carpet flooring. But don’t worry.
A carpet floor in a coastal bedroom may not seem compatible with a beach lifestyle, but it’s all a matter of mindset and shifting the focus away from it, with the right design choices, to create a cohesive and pleasing coastal atmosphere.
Also, carpet floor in a coastal bedroom is not that uncommon and the colors are usually not so far from the coastal palette (carpet is almost always cream or white) so you can incorporate it in the coastal decor.
Think about it: It’s like having a large rug under the bed, isn’t it? And isn’t a large expensive rug under the bed and nightstands something we like? It is. What about hotel rooms? Aren’t they almost always carpeted? They are. And we love hotel bedrooms, don’t we? We do.
Layer a rug over the carpet
If you still want to hide the carpet, for any reason, consider layering a rug over the existing carpeted floor; it’s a clever and creative way to minimize the visual impact of the original carpet. It also adds depth and texture to the room, enhancing its overall appeal.
Putting it All Together
Achieving a renter-friendly coastal bedroom doesn’t require permanent changes or a hefty budget.
It has its pitfalls, but with the help of strategic updates and affordable products, you can create a coastal oasis that’s both inviting and in line with your rental agreement.
Remember, the key lies in choosing removable and reversible elements that capture the essence of the coast without leaving a trace behind. So, embark on your bedroom transformation journey, and let the soothing waves of the ocean guide you to a serene and stylish sleep space.