Published on July 8, 2019

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Courtesy of West Elm

I am what you might generously call “resistant to change” when it comes to matters of the home. I’ve lived in my itty-bitty apartment for a year now, but it’s still very much a work in progress. In an effort to combat buyer’s remorse, I’m decorating slowly, carefully picking longer-lasting investment pieces like an antique wood trunk and a mini gilded mirror. But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the siren call of seasonal decor swaps. What’s a non–impulse shopper to do? Rent it.

West Elm is the latest brand to launch a rental program. In partnership with Rent the Runway, the retailer is offering rentable bundles of bedroom and living room textiles—think: quilts, pillows, and blankets—in an effort to help its customers refresh their look without having to commit to something long-term. Supporting Mother Nature (when you’re over that pillow, it goes to someone else instead of a landfill) and us fickle decorators alike, rental decor makes sense—but how does it actually work? I got to test out West Elm’s rental bedding before the official launch to find out. Here’s what went down:

The Lead-Up

The first thing you need is a Rent the Runway membership. Once acquired, you’ll be able to select your living room or bedroom decor bundle from the site and have it shipped directly to your address—no hassle, no extra steps. 

When the program debuts, Rent the Runway members will be able to choose from 26 bundles, which range in style from rich jewel tones to sunny yellows. In the spirit of embracing change, I let West Elm select a bedroom package for me, which is how I ended up with a cream-colored sateen bedding set. 

The Nitty-Gritty

My bedroom bundle arrived quickly, in a large box refreshingly devoid of Styrofoam packing peanuts or excess paper—which would have been wholly counterintuitive to the whole “decor rentals are sustainable” argument. Each delivery includes two pillowcases, a coverlet, and a throw pillow with an insert. (You get to keep the insert, which is a nice freebie.) In terms of quality, everything arrived neatly packaged and looking brand-new. In other words, you would never be able to tell that  the items were previously in someone else’s home. Always a positive! 

It’s a small thing, but I also liked the fact that the set doesn’t include sheets. This way, I didn’t have to worry about where to store extra linens (see previously: tiny apartment), but still got a brand-new bedroom look. 

My personal style steers clear of anything too polished or glam, so I would admittedly never have picked out the bedding set I ended up with. But decor rental is like throwing a wig party: All the fun, none of the commitment of dyeing your hair purple. The beauty of the West Elm program is that it stretches your design boundaries. For one week, the jacquard velvet pillow and glossy quilt made me feel like I was sleeping at an upscale hotel. I even whipped out a silk eye mask from the depths of my closet for the full effect. 

The Takeaway 

When you’re done with your stint in rented decor, you have two options. Either pack everything up in a provided bag (the shipping fee is prepaid) and drop it off at your nearest UPS store, or buy the pieces you fell in love with. I could see this service being super-useful for two types of people: those who recently moved and are looking for a try-before-you-buy experience, and those who simply want to change up their decor for a bit. 

I fall in the latter camp. Working at Domino, I hear and write about a lot of new trends and products, so it’s fun to occasionally treat my home to something new. Given the immense impact our surroundings can have on our well-being, it’s worth the indulgence. So go ahead and test out West Elm’s cobalt blue throw. After all, it’s only temporary.

The West Elm x Rent the Runway program will officially launch July 22; sign up to get notified here as soon as the collection is live. Until then, shop our picks from the West Elm bedding and living room bundles: 

See more temporary decor ideas:
One of the Most Stylish People We Know Just Unveiled the Coolest Temp Wallpaper
How to Make Your Sublet Feel Less Like a Sublet
Yes, Rental Furniture Is a Thing—But Should You Try It?

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