Style for a Townhouse: Decorating Tricks to Know

3 Small-Space Tricks
Neutral colors and plenty of texture give this townhouse a stylish personality. Here are the decorating tricks that take this rental to the next level.

Strike with Subtly

Not everything needs to be in-your-face to be impactful. In the entryway, the townhouse dweller, blogger, and designer Wendy Hyde (, traced a medallion shape with a metallic paint pen to give the mocha walls a bit of shimmer. A striking gray console table (designed by Wendy and built by her father) is a modern departure from the townhouse's eclectic-cottage style. 

Rental Tip: Can't paint? Consider temporary wallpaper. 

Prime Time

Once an ugly 1970s brown dresser, the living room media center is a testament to what a little paint and a little creativity can do for a tired piece. A gallery of family photos showcased in white frames and mats makes the television less of a focal point. 

Rental Tip: Focus on the things you can take with you and can adapt to different situations. What you use as a credenza now may make a great dresser in a future home.

Striking Detail

After painting the dresser cream, Wendy had mirrors cut to fit the drawer fronts and attached them with mirror mastic. 

DIY Ingenuity

When Wendy couldn't find a dining table that was the right size and price, she found plans online and enlisted her father's help to build one for about $150. Vinyl letters placed on a black-painted canvas became subway-style art. A revamped buffet provides extra storage in the space. 

To achieve a luxe look that suits her transitional-meets-cottage style, Wendy chooses materials wisely and takes time carefully considering her needs for each space. "You can totally achieve something that looks high-end -- it just takes a lot of elbow grease and patience," she says. 

Space Smarts

To give her oldest son his own space, Wendy used her ingenuity to turn an alcove in the second-level hallway into a makeshift bedroom dubbed "the loft." Above the bed, art made from pieces of scrap wood adds the texture that Wendy loves. The nautical-inspired curtain is hung on rope suspended from screw eyes and secured by an industrial-size handle. It can be closed for privacy.

Rental Tip: Use the space your way. If you don't really need a dining space and a small table in the kitchen will do, turn the dining room into an office.

Added Storage

Under the window, a custom daybed built by Wendy's dad provides much-needed storage for clothes and books in the small space. Wendy cut a foam trundle bed mattress to size for the bed using an electric knife.

Rental Tip: Add storage where you can (and can take with you). Consider freestanding shelves in the kitchen, a slim etagere in the bathroom, and a coffee table or ottoman with built-in storage in a living room.

Girls Only

Wendy placed pages from a vintage-style Barbie doll calendar in inexpensive gold frames for artwork above the bed. She upholstered a curvy headboard cut from plywood.

Rental Tip: Neutral bedding makes it easy to change your look, whether it's in a new rental or as your child's tastes evolve.

Pillow Panache

The room's pillows display Wendy's sewing skills. To create the ballerina pillow, she scanned her hand-drawn sketch, printed it on photo transfer paper, and transferred the design to a linen patch that she stitched onto a pillow cover. Wendy designed the white-and-blue fabric and printed it through

Let's Hear It for the Boys

In the two younger boys’ room, a favorite quilt inspired a striped accent wall. The boards of a dismantled pallet were glued to plywood, stained, and topped with a cardboard deer head for rustic art. 

Slim Work Space

Wendy carved out a small work space in her bedroom. To make a bulletin board less utilitarian, she covered it with linen and lined it with upholstery tacks.

Rental Tip: Small accents and embellishments make a big difference. Look for ways to spruce up the ordinary and you'll take your rental to the next level.

Laundry Love

The laundry closet gets a lot of action in the Hyde home, so Wendy wanted it to be fun and functional. She stenciled the wall with a pattern inspired by a favorite fabric. A countertop found in the "as is" section at IKEA fits perfectly over the washer and dryer.

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BONUS: Small-Space Tips

Maximize your small space with these smart tricks.

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