7 Tips for Decorating a Rental Home: Apartments to Houses

While many people dream of owning their own home, renting has its perks. With a rental, you don’t have to worry about property taxes, home repairs, or a big down payment. There’s only one problem — with so many decorating constraints, how do you make a lackluster rental feel like home? Fortunately, a stylish living space doesn’t require permanent changes. Here are seven tips for decorating a rental home or apartment.

1. Color Your World with Accessories

Of all the decorating tips and tricks, adding color with accessories is the easiest to accomplish. Home accents like throw rugs, bedding, table linens, shower curtains, and bath towels in bright colors and patterns can add a pop of personality and cheer to your rental decor. When it comes to decorative pillows, California designer Melissa Warner Rothblum recommends going big with two pairs of pillows in contrasting colors, textures, and patterns.

2. Choose Versatile Furniture

Because you don’t know how long you’ll be living in your current rental, it’s a good idea to buy versatile furniture that fits well in many spaces. Think modular sofas that configure to the left or right, collapsible butterfly chairs, drop leaf tables, corner shelves, and portable bar carts. When it comes to studio apartment decorating tips, versatility ranks high on the list. For small living spaces, look for multipurpose pieces like chairs that convert into beds, a bookshelf that doubles as a room divider, and benches, ottomans, and coffee tables that come with built-in storage.

3. Be Thrifty

If you’re looking to save money while decorating a rental home or apartment, take a tip from Diane Henkler, creator of In My Own Style. She recommends shopping at yard sales, estate sales, church sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. To find the best deals for your money, Diane suggests hunting for useful items that have good lines and buying things that reflect who you are, whether a mid-century modern side table or a pair of big woven baskets.

A female shopping at a thrift store

4. Brighten Your Living Space with Greenery

In addition to cleaning the air of dust and carbon dioxide, indoor plants bring natural beauty and texture to any living space. Don’t have a green thumb? That’s OK. Brighten your space with easy-to-care-for ferns, philodendrons, ivy, spider plants, and air plants. Set large tree-like plants on the floor, and hang smaller plants from the ceiling, or place them on shelves, counters, pedestals, or tables. If you fancy yourself a foodie, then hang a vertical garden on a sunny wall featuring herbs like basil, oregano, cilantro, fennel, and chives.

A grouping of desert plants and cacti on a corner shelf

5. Create a Warm, Welcoming Glow with Lighting

It’s not likely that a landlord will let you change the overhead lighting in your rental home or apartment, but you can create a warm and welcoming glow with other types of decorative lighting. Illuminate dark corners with stylish floor lamps, and top nightstands or end tables with attractive table lamps. Place stick-on LED lights under cupboards and in closets, and decorate walls with plug-in sconces or back-lit wall panels. To add charm and whimsy, hang a strand or two of string lights along the ceiling or around a kitchen island.

6. Deck the Walls

In lieu of painting, take advantage of other ways to decorate your walls. With a variety of patterns and colors, stick-on wallpaper creates an eye-catching accent wall, and it peels off easily when needed. To avoid an uneven, bubbled look, make sure to apply peel-and-stick wallpaper to smooth, non-textured walls. Here are a few more tips for adorning your walls:

  • Hang attractive wall mirrors.
  • Add splashes of color with fun stick-on decals.
  • Line open wall shelving with framed photos in different sizes.
  • Decorate walls with vibrant tapestries.

A built-in bookshelf featuring books and decorative items

7. Try Additional Home Decoration Tips for Rentals

When it comes to improving your rental decor, the sky’s the limit. To spruce up your living space, consider more home and apartment decorating tips:

  • Change out the hardware on kitchen and bathroom cabinets, saving the originals for when you move on.
  • Give the illusion of a higher ceiling with floor-length window treatments hung 5 to 7 inches above the window casing.
  • Organize book shelves with a combination of horizontal and vertical stacks as well as decorative accents like artwork, vases, candles, clocks, and knickknacks.
  • Place items like magazines, the TV remote control, and other essentials in pretty trays on a coffee table or side table.

Decorating a rental home or apartment is easy with these tips and tricks. To further enhance your living space, consider CORT Furniture Rental for everything from furniture to accessories.

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