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Tips for Decorating a Rental Apartment

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

4 min read
Tips for Decorating a Rental Apartment

Transforming a rental apartment into a homier place is a complicated affair.

Usually, it’s your landlord’s restrictions that put a stop to your creative instincts. For others, it’s due to the fact that they won’t put down permanent roots and so they leave it the way it is.

But does it really have to be that way?

None of these are good enough excuses for your creativity to lie dormant. Yes, it may only be your temporary home, but it’s still your home for the time being. Putting your own stamp and decorating a rental apartment to your taste is still possible even without permanent changes.

The following tips allow you to explore ways of unleashing your inner interior decorator and feel more comfortable in your home.

Know the ground rules

As we’ve already mentioned, the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of decorating a rental apartment are the landlord’s restrictions. However, most people simply assume that this is the case, without consulting with their landlords about the matter.

Believe it or not, more landlords are open to changes than you might think. Make this one of the main things to check before renting the apartment. This way, you’ll know what you can and can’t touch and go from there.

For example, if you think a space could use a fresh coat of paint, consult with your landlord. Maybe they won’t mind you taking care of it for them! Repainting cabinets is another great way of elevating and transforming the space without actually renovating.

A good conversation between you and your and landlord will keep both parties happy and satisfied, as long as the rules are established and respected.

Decorate the walls

What your apartment says about your personality can be read on its walls. While your landlord probably won’t let you get away with anything else but white paint, there are ways to compromise. You can try bolder colors and then paint them back into white at the end of your lease. Another great way to reach a compromise is to choose an accent wall so you only have one wall to paint before you leave.

However, if painting is out of bounds, hanging things probably isn't. Afraid to put nails in the walls? Don’t worry, that’s what spackling paste is for! So go ahead and hang those favorite photos of your family – they will remind you to be grateful every time you look at them. If you’re sick and tired of neutral shades, you can use wall fabric as a solution. Mandala tapestries will add a pop of color to your apartment, creating a light atmosphere in your home. And don’t forget wall art, which is always a great idea when decorating a rental apartment.

Play with Lighting

Now here is something that is supposed to be a top priority yet is often neglected in rentals. And this isn’t just about decoration, it’s about your health, safety, and productivity. Not only that, but it also influences your emotions as well.

Add task lights under kitchen cabinets to make it easier for yourself when cooking, but also for warmer ambiance. If there’s no ceiling light, your living room can come alive with table and floor lamps. Don’t be afraid to invest in some things that might be useful even beyond your years in the apartment! For more detailed advice, check out our article on lighting tips for apartments.

Invest in Pieces you Love

Just because you’re currently living in a rental doesn’t mean you have to resort to old, uncomfortable furniture. Not only that, but a great piece of furniture will help you transform the boring living room or bedroom and freshen them up.

Most people assume that if you buy an item of furniture now, it probably won’t fit in their future home. The end result – they are stuck living with pieces they hate. And while you better steer clear of buying large items like bookshelves and wardrobes, a coffee table or a nightstand are a great addition. That way, when you end up moving, a moving company can easily transport the items for you.

In fact, if you really adore a piece, you’ll easily find a place for it in your next home.

Grow some plants

Have you considered following feng shui principles when decorating your living room? One of the principles states that plants are great purifiers of air, which is why you should include them in your home.

Apart from these obvious benefits, they can also visually change the atmosphere of a room. Jasmine is great for relaxation and a good night's sleep, a welcoming addition for your bedroom. The Peace Lily is great if you want to spruce up your living room decor and add life and energy to your home.

When decorating a rental apartment, it’s good to usher in some wealth and abundance with a Rubber Plant. Even if you aren’t superstitious, buy it just in case it works; you never know, right?

Are you a beginner and aren’t sure how you’ll keep your plants from dying? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a gardener to successfully care for your indoor plants. The only thing you’ll need is a basic reminder app, a sticky note reminder or even Google Calendar.

Don’t forget the outdoors!

Decorating a rental apartment is not only about the rooms. If you’re lucky, your rental has a modest balcony where you can unleash your creativity. In many cities, this privilege is considered a luxury, so don’t skip on a chance to transform it into a personal summer retreat.

Start with cushy elements like patterned rugs or cushions. These will make the space more welcoming and comfortable. Add some plants as well – even artificial ones can create a beautiful garden-like atmosphere. Throw in a hammock and watch all your friends gravitate towards it at parties. Your balcony can easily be the fun zone and a relaxing spot after a hard day.