Decorating for Renters: Eight Easy Hacks to Try Today!
Find easy decorating ideas and hacks for renters for how to spruce up a rental house or apartment on a budget!
Hey there! Are you looking for apartment decorating ideas or ways to get around rental restrictions and still have a gorgeous home? Maybe you don’t have a lot of extra cash for home decor or removable wallpaper… Well, I’m so glad you found me.
My family and I have lived in six rentals and nine homes over the last 15 years and I’ve learned the ins and outs of apartment decorating on a dime and loving a rental home with second-hand finds and plenty of DIYs.
Today I’m sharing my favorite eight ways on how to spruce up a rental with easy DIYs and renter-friendly hacks that are on a budget.
And please, if you have any thoughts or questions, I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
Decorating for Renters
Eight decorating ideas for your rental home or apartment on a budget.
1. Address the walls:
If you are not allowed to change the wall color, make it more personal by adding wall hangings. Hang pictures, mirrors, or if you want something with more impact, frame fabric, or wallpaper.
- Option 1. Look for frames and mirrors at thrift stores and spray paint them to match your style.
- Option 2. Frame wrapping or craft paper! Even greeting cards and post cards you have saved look great on a photo wall and particularly pretty in a floating frame. I loved showing off gorgeous washi paper in two large and cheap poster frames!
- Option 3: Hang something unusual on your walls like a collection of dollar store paper fans with command strips or cover your wall in a pattern with washi tape.
2. The light fixtures have to stay (some landlords will approve a change, just ask and see what happens!, BUT you can add table and floor lamps. Good lighting makes a big difference.
- Thrift stores, consignment shops and spray paint!!! You may need to invest in a new lampshade with a second-hand find or try a creative DIY for a light fixture like a floral paper lantern hung right over a pot light with command strips.
Look for plug-in wall sconces and attach the light to the wall with command strips!
3. You have furniture pushed up against the wall. If there is not enough space to float your furniture in the center of the room, add a sofa table between the couch and the wall.
- Again, thrift store finds are fabulous for this. You can use anything as long as it is close to the same height of your couch and a little on the wider side. This will give your room more dimension and a designer look.
4. There is not enough space for a full-size coffee table. Invest in storage cubes, bins, or baskets that can double as a coffee table. (Bonus, it hides toys.)
Look for ones that can easily be moved around for playtime and also provide extra seating for company.
By the way, this can also solve the problem of having too small of a space for sofa side tables. Do not be afraid to do both!!
5. Break up your furniture sets!! If you have matching furniture, swap out pieces with the same function in different rooms.
Try bringing your bedside tables out to the sofa, and vice versa. Matching sofa and chair? Swap the chair out in the den with the living room…
6. There are existing vertical blinds over your sliding doors and plastic blinds on your windows. Yay for privacy, boo for eyesore.
Hang curtains to hide both sliding doors and windows. Lowe’s and Hope Depot carry curtain rods with brackets that extend past vertical blinds. There is no excuse now!!
Always try to hang your curtains as high as you can and down to the floor (or just below the windowsill). There really is no in-between. This will make your room appear taller! Try IKEA and Target for inexpensive 96″ curtains.
7. If you have hard floors or flatweave carpet DO use rugs!
It’s totally okay to layer rugs over carpet especially if it is dingy rental carpet.
Look at your local discount stores like Ross, TJ Max, or At Home. Also try Amazon and RugsUSA for inexpensive solutions.
8. Do add pillows and other textiles into your rental decor! These simple details are great for added layers, textures, and coziness. Try mixing different patterns and colors.
Look for pillow covers for your existing pillows. Places, like Etsy, IKEA, and Amazon are all great sources for low prices.
Join me on Instagram for behind-the-scenes, DIYs, decorating tips, room tours, and home inspiration. I’ll see you over there!
I hope you enjoyed these decorating ideas for renters and don’t wait to love your space! Find more rental decorating tips on this page and how to decorate a rental kitchen in this story or even how to cover your kitchen cabinets with contact paper or removable wallpaper!
- Create a Boho Basket Wall Decor in a Few Easy StepsSpruce up your wall with a DIY boho basket wall decor using thrift store baskets and paint. Perfect for renters and adding a pop of color. Hi there! After sharing our kitchen progress yesterday (which is a bit of a challenge), I’m thrilled to share this cool and eclectic DIY wall art for our…
- Create a Boho Folding Fan Wall Decor that’s Renter FriendlyCreate a renter-friendly folding fan wall decor for under ten dollars with this easy and unique DIY and find more wall art ideas. Are you looking for wall art on a budget and/or trying to get around rental restrictions? I have the perfect wall decor idea for you! How to Create Folding Fan Wall Decor…
- Come See this Fun Rental Kitchen Makeover with Floral Cabinets!Check out this before and after rental kitchen makeover with floral cabinets using peel and stick wallpaper and other clever DIYs! Hi, there friends! Eek! This week has been the most fun for me during the One Room Challenge. I finished installing the floral removable wallpaper on my cabinets and am just smitten with the way…
- Decorating for Renters: Eight Easy Hacks to Try Today!Find easy decorating ideas and hacks for renters for how to spruce up a rental house or apartment on a budget! Hey there! Are you looking for apartment decorating ideas or ways to get around rental restrictions and still have a gorgeous home? Maybe you don’t have a lot of extra cash for home decor…
- New Year New Room Refresh: Global Eclectic Rental Kitchen MakeoverA botanical print, copper and wood tones, and a colorful rug gives a rental kitchen makeover a global eclectic vibe. Hello, hello! What a month. I’m so pleased with the progress we’ve made in our new Japanese rental home. A huge thanks to the challenges I participated in this month. We are a military…
These interiors look so good it makes me want to go rent an apartment. I love the fact that you recommend Thrift Stores. Visiting them is one of my favorite activities.
Having sold our home of 25 years and moving to a rental… these ideas are invaluable! THanks so much for the practical suggestions.
My pleasure CJ! I hope it makes your transition easier. 🙂
Very cute ideas, but I don’t consider a thousand dollar rug to be ‘on the cheap’!
I don’t either! Rugsusa offers 75% off sales on just about every holiday and I do consider those a steal! That’s when I purchase my rugs. 😉 There’s a sale going right now if you are in the market. Thanks for stopping by.
Really great tips! A good amount of people can sometimes forget or not realize that they can’t remove light fixtures. Hanging more aesthetic curtains over vertical blinds or even black-out drapes are a must when living in an apartment!
Yes!! Such a big impact these changes can make. Thanks so much for the sweet comment!
Thrift stores and decorating an apartment go hand in hand. A lot of people will stray away from decorating because the residence isn’t permanent, but you can still give your place a personal touch even if you are renting.
Absolutely! Thanks for the stopping by.
hi. Love your ideas. If I’m adding some red highlights in our grey and white dining area and want to add drapes to the sliding glass door, should I place two drapes together on one half and what color or pattern should I look for?
Hi Rebecca, Thanks so much for the sweet words. Do you have other patterns going on in your dining area? What color are the walls? If you want to send me picture or more info to firstname.lastname@example.org, I would love to make a curtain suggestion for you. 🙂
Do you know where i can find info on the white coffee table (the one in the 3rd to last picture??) I think it would be perfect in our new living room!!!
great tips for renters!!
Sorry, I’m not sure about that exact one. Here’s a link to a similar one http://amzn.to/1hkAJgQ Hope that helps!
Such great ideas! Thank you so much for your post! Love the idea to frame craft or wrapping paper!
Some of my favorite tricks is to use quilts to hang on the wall, thrift stores and spray paint…always and liquid starch and fabric to “wallpaper” walls in small bathrooms…When you move out you just take down the fabric and wash the walls…super easy to do…Curtain brackets only take two screws to secure and with a pole and curtain rings: easy upscale drapery tick. Then just cut lengths of fabric at 100 inches, turn the edges under and use iron fusing tape at each end to finish edges and clip the “curtains'” on the rings and hang….cheap, cheap, cheap…
Final tip is insulation form wrapped in fabric and fitted wall to wall.. increases sound proofing and decreases heat loss and looks like a tuck and rolled wall…very high end…
That’s all I got …Happy Camping…
Great tips for renters Patty! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the wonderful ideas
My pleasure Fran!
I rent low income. This year is going to be rehabilitation of our 50 2-bedroom single story Apts. Some will stay 2 BR, Some converted to 1 BR, Some will be converted 3BR. We’ll have new kitchens, floors, wall painted, new windows (same size as now), all doors, bathrooms and lots more. I am very excited. I want to take window dressing up a notch, and change my furniture. Love your ideas. Can I send you pictures to your email address when mine is done? Sometime this year mine will be done I just don’t know yet when,
thank you so much
PS I LIVE IN SOUTHERN ARIZONA HOT HOT
I would love for you to keep me updated on your rehabilitation project Debra! Thanks so much for asking. You can email me pics to email@example.com – Can’t wait to see what you do!
Lovely ideas! I rent a place and I find it really challenging to decorate at home and still preserve as the landlord requires. Really inspiring post!
Thank you so much! I’m glad you found it inspiring.
Dear Kathy, I just adore your ideas and sense of color. I live alone in a small two bedroom apartment. Three years ago, I painted an accent wall..a light Wedgewood… now.. uncertain.. I would like to change the entire room color to a light grey…(new carpet/floors). But.. I have this mad vision… about the ceiling…”light lavender”. I even purchased the paint!
Please advise… Thank you,
I say go for it! Light lavender ceiling sounds lovely!
Hi, great ideas!
I had to chuckle to myself at the idea of Pom Pom curtains because I live with two cats…. I could just picture what they would do if I tried to do that!
I have a hallway with “family”photos so I see them every day.
I’m not allowed to paint and the Living/Dining area is a shade that isn’t grey or blue, so I am in the process of lightening it up. Existing plastic mini-blinds offer some privacy (corner, facing the street) and I have long white sheers over them. And I put a bookcase/cattree in front of the largest window, again for privacy, and it has books, plants, turquoise bins for “stuff”, and three levels of Cat Spaces for them.
Remaining areas are a continuous work in progress.
Thanks. If you have any suggestions for colors please email.
My cat left the pompoms alone! lol Sounds like you’ve done alot. Does the cattree/bookcase let light through? What color is on the walls? A cream or beige?
It’s that grey/blue color. It’s dark. Not totally but nothing close to shedding light on the space.
That’s why I thought the white sheets would let in more daylight. Of course not that I’m home a lot during the day anyway…. work at school.
I prefer grey/blue over cream/beige! Sounds like you’re letting in natural light. Do you have table or floor lamps for evening?
I like that you talked about breaking up the furniture sets into different rooms if you are pressed for space. My wife and I are moving to a smaller apartment soon and are trying to figure out the best way to decorate our new space. We will certainly keep this article in mind as we consider our options.
I never thought about spray painting mirrors and used furniture to give it a more unique look. I have been hosting friends at my home for a while and I noticed how boring everything is when they come over. I really want to start decorating the walls more so that it’s a fun place.
It’s super easy to do!
I love how you mentioned that thrift stores are fabulous for finding furniture. Actually, I’d love for our apartment to have a bit of a rustic feel to it. To that end, I’m considering buying some wall clocks for our living room and hallway.
These are such great ideas! Looking forward to following along with this series!
Thank you so much!! Feel free to email me anytime about the series or renter’s tips.
I really like how you mentioned that switching pieces from the bed set and living room set could be a good way to change the decor without compromising a lease. My grandma always had a knack for knowing exactly what fit well together in a room. I think that a piece of antique furniture in the sitting room is always a good touch, and it could break up those furniture sets!
Thanks! I love switching up styles and different period pieces in a room.
I love all the ideas you’ve shared with us! I’ve been contemplating redoing my bedroom in my apartment but I want to paint a large mural on one of my walls. Do you have any tips for that?
That’s something I haven’t done yet. I say just go for it! Paint is an easy fix when you mess up.
It caught my attention when you explained that using pillows and textiles in our decore can add layers and help the apartment feel cozy. My husband and I want to start looking at three-bedroom apartments for rent because our oldest daughter is at the age where she needs more space to herself. Your article provided some great ideas for housewarming gifts that I can give her, so thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much Rebecca.
Thank you so much for the suggestion to put rugs over the flooring to help improve the overall comfort and appearance. About a week ago, I graduated from college, and now, I am ready to get a home. I want to rent a place while I figure out all of the details of where I want to live. I will have to follow your decor advice as I look for homes to rent.
Thanks so much Greta! I have a whole page just for rental tips and I will be updating it soon. https://uptodateinteriors.com/rental-decorating-ideas/ It is so much fun having your own place! Congrats on graduation!