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Decorating a Rental Home: 28 Ideas for Every Room

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Decorating a Rental Home: 28 Ideas for Every Room

When it comes to decorating a rental home, the struggle is real! Over 50% of renters are dissatisfied with not being able to customize or improve their homes. It’s easy to feel discouraged by your landlord’s rules or your lease’s limitations.

But don’t let these restrictions stop you from making your apartment feel like home. Simple, practical and damage-free rental decorating ideas are within reach!

Whether you’re a first-time renter or a long-term tenant, you’ll appreciate these 28 apartment decorating ideas to jazz up every corner of your space.

Jump to:

Dos and Don’ts for Decorating a Rental

First, let’s review what you should and shouldn’t do before you start decorating your rental home. 

DO:

  • Review the rules and terms of your lease: Decorating rules can differ depending on your landlord or management company. Be sure to read the fine print, especially when it comes to walls, paint or switching out fixtures. Ask questions if you’re not sure.
  • Use damage-free solutions whenever possible: Most renters spend at least $600 on their security deposit. Don’t expect to get your deposit back if you leave behind any wall damage. Ideally, look for rental decorating ideas that don’t require nails, screws or drilling.
  • Shop around and be thrifty: Apartment dwelling is a temporary situation for most renters. If you know you’ll eventually move or purchase a home, don’t splurge on costly furniture or decor that you might not be able to keep in the future. Plus, it’s smart and sustainable to buy secondhand or refresh older pieces!
  • Keep storage top of mind: On average, one-bedroom apartments are 714 square feet, and studios are only 472 square feet. If you’re working with a small space, consider storage and space limitations whenever you think about buying something new for your apartment or rental home. Is this the best use of your small space?
  • Utilize natural light: To make a small apartment, condo or home feel bigger, brighter and warmer, take advantage of natural light as much as possible. It’s a great way to save on utility costs as well.

DON’T:

  • Repaint or change the flooring: Most landlords won’t allow tenants to make these major changes. Play it safe and avoid making floor updates to your rental.
  • Install “permanent” fixtures: Changing light fixtures or appliances on your own isn’t wise if you’re renting. You’ll find it cumbersome to deal with when your lease is up, and your landlord or property management might ding you.
  • Overcrowd or overdo it with decor: Keep your rental unit clutter-free to maximize the space you have. Choose practical pieces that serve multiple uses and aren’t bulky. Invest in smart storage solutions if you’re prone to clutter.
  • Buy everything at once: Curating a beautiful, functional apartment that abides by decorating rules requires creativity and patience. Don’t rush the process — take your time searching for pieces that work well with your space.
  • Overspend: Be realistic about your budget. Try to shop for pieces you’ll want to keep for years to come. Invest in quality items that you use frequently, and trim your budget for items that won’t get as much use or are just for decoration.

Rental Decorating Ideas for Living Room

A living room serves many functions, especially in a rental apartment or home. It’s a space for gathering, entertaining, relaxing, studying or dining – so you need to make it count!

Here are our top five apartment living room decorating ideas and tips to optimize your space and bring in natural light.

Window Treatments

Windows are focal points, so start with curtains and drapes. Hang soft sheer curtains to bring in more natural light, or color coordinate draperies with your furniture. Or, if your home gets plenty of sunshine, bamboo blinds will dim it down while giving your living space character.

But, is drilling the wall out of the question because you want your renter's deposit back?

Kwik-Hang’s renter-friendly, damage-free brackets and holdbacks allow you to hang your curtains without a single screw or nail.

Read more: How to Hang Curtains in a Rental Apartment

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Use Kwik-Hang Curtain Rod Brackets

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Indoor Plants

Plants are an excellent statement piece for the living room. Prop one next to your media console, or fill a corner with lush greenery. Use plant stands to elevate your houseplants and add dimension to your living room.

And if you have a lousy track record of keeping plants alive, cacti and succulents won’t mind if you forget to water them!

Decorating a rental with house plants

Throw Rugs

Have your floors seen better days? Replacing the flooring in a rental isn’t an option, so you might want to opt for a large area rug to cover old carpets or hardwoods. Besides rug size, color and pattern, you’ll also want to consider foot traffic, usage and material. Wool-blend rugs, for example, are easier to clean than shag rugs.

Throw rugs to decorate a rental home

Storage Ottomans 

Enjoy the benefits of storage, lounging or seating, all in one. Use a storage ottoman in the living room to stash away extra blankets or board games. You can also add a tray on top and utilize the ottoman as a side table or coffee table.

Storage ottomans to decorate a rental and maximize storage

Hanging large paintings or canvases requires nails and isn’t practical for a rental unit. Instead, try arranging a variety of smaller photo frames on a gallery wall. You can use 3M Command Picture Hanging adhesives for easy application and removal — no hammer needed.

Or, if you have a beautiful painting that’s too heavy for adhesive hooks and holds, you can always display it on an easel.

Read more: How to Decorate Apartment Walls Without Nails

Art wall in a rental home

Multifunctional furniture

Since space and storage are significant issues in rental places, seek out functional furniture whenever possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of beautiful multifunctional furniture options.

To name a few, sleeper sofas and ottoman beds are perfect for accommodating overnight guests. Secretary desks provide shelving and storage space while serving as desks when needed.

Be inspired: 8 Minimalist Apartment Ideas

Textiles

Rentals tend to feel quite cold and soulless. The most accessible and affordable way to infuse warmth into your home is to add throw-pillows and blankets. If you get easily bored or want the decor to reflect your mood (Anyone else likes earthy tones in Fall?), you can buy as many throw pillow covers as you want and mix and match them however you like.

Floor throw pillows are another excellent choice, especially because they provide extra seating space!

Rental Decorating Ideas for Kitchen

While you can’t change the appliances or tear off the cabinets, there are rental decorating ideas to help you beautify your kitchen within a reasonable budget.

Read more: 5 Kitchen Curtain Ideas to Spice Up Your Windows

Small, Colorful Appliance 

A pop of color will work wonders on drab kitchen countertops and stoves. If you’re big on baking, a colorful stand mixer will look stunning on the tabletop. For a more budget-friendly decorating option, prop a vibrant tea kettle on your stove or switch out your toaster for something more colorful.

Colorful teapot to decorate a rental

Peel-and-Stick Backsplash

Transform your kitchen without the hassle! Peel-and-stick backsplash tiles don’t require drying time, are easy to clean and can withstand those grease splatters. Some paint may peel off when you remove the tiles, so check with your landlord first and don’t hastily apply backsplash tiles on newer paint.

Vinyl Floor Stickers

Kitchen floors aren’t the most pleasant sight, especially in older buildings. While you can’t change it, you can certainly mask it up without getting in trouble with your landlord. Like peel-and-stick backsplash, vinyl floor stickers come in various styles and colors.

Clean up your old flooring, let it dry and stick the vinyl floor tiles. When it comes time to move away, you can peel them off – et voila!

Cabinet Knobs and Pull 

Give your kitchen a quick makeover with this renter-friendly hack. Cabinet knobs, handles and drawer pulls are easily removable and can be re-installed once you’re ready to move out. Upgrade to more modern hardware, or source your local thrift or vintage shop for rustic and unique pieces.

Kitchen cabinet knobs to decorate a rental

Barstools

Most apartments offer minimal space for a full dining area. If your setup allows, use barstools to create an eat-in kitchen instead of purchasing a dining room set that takes up valuable square footage.

Cutting Board Display

Decorate the kitchen using items you already own. Put your best cutting boards, charcuterie boards and coasters on display, or showcase glass jars with the essentials, like flour and sugar (or cookies). Also, a bowl of fruit and veggies will add a pop of color to your kitchen, making it look homier.

Cutting board display

Rental Decorating Ideas for Bedroom

Breathe life into your bedroom with these practical, stylish and rental decorating ideas that even your landlord will love!

Utility Cart Nightstand

This sleek solution is perfect for keeping all your essentials at hand. We love the look of a utility cart as a nightstand. Plus, it’s functional and space-saving.

Pro-tip: You can also use a rolling utility cart in the kitchen, living room or workspace wherever you need additional storage.

Utility cart as a nightstand

Curtains and Drapes

Bedroom curtains are ideal for accentuating your windows, reeling in natural light or adding privacy. Opt for colors that match your furniture, or go lighter or darker depending on your light and privacy needs.

After choosing your bedroom curtains, use Kwik-Hang’s renter-friendly curtain hardware to complete the setup with no wall or window damage. Shop Kwik-Hang curtain rod brackets and curtain holdbacks for styles and colors to match any aesthetic.

Storage Bench

If you have space, invest in a storage bench to place at the foot of your bed. Use this practical piece to store extra sheets, blankets or towels conveniently, so you don’t have to waste precious closet space on linens.

A bedroom bench is also perfect for bonus seating, and it can be useful when you’re getting dressed in the morning.

Stylish storage bench for bedroom

Ladder Rack

Ditch the hook rack and opt for this no-drill rental decorating idea instead. If you’re fond of rustic decor, you’ll love displaying a ladder rack in your bedroom. A leaning ladder serves as a useful storage space for blankets, hats, scarves, bags or your outfit of the day.

Pro tip: You can also use a ladder rack for towels in the bathroom.

Ladder rack to decorate a bedroom

Wood Crates

Looking for unique ways to display shoes, hats, books or bags? Try this Pinterest-worthy look! Arrange various sized wood crates to create an attractive storage solution that’s also affordable.

Wood crates as a decor

Rental Decorating Ideas for Bathroom

When it comes to decorating a rental, bathrooms are usually the very last thing to come to your mind. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it prettier and more relaxing with a few simple touches. Here are a few hacks.

Textiles and Accessories

The easiest way to refresh your bathroom is to swap your textiles and bath accessories. Switch out your shower curtain, bath rug and linens, or update items like soap dispensers, toothbrush holders and canisters.

Decorative Trays

Adding a tray to the top of the toilet serves a dual purpose. Decorate with small plants, candles or reed diffusers, or leave an extra roll of toilet paper handy.

Decorative tray for bathroom

Tiered Storage

If you want to optimize your bathroom’s space, tiered storage is the way to go. These shelving and storage solutions are a must if you’re sharing a bathroom or have a pedestal sink with no counter space. Keep toiletries, towels and skincare essentials in reach without sacrificing space.

Tiered storage for bathroom decoration

Washi Tape

Get creative and update your bathroom using this decorative masking tape. Washi tape is inexpensive and easy to apply and remove. Redesign the bathroom walls from floor to ceiling, add color to the bathtub or shower, or frame your mirror.

Humidity-Friendly Plants

Plants like ferns, gardenias and spider plants thrive in the humidity of a bathroom. Turn your bathroom into a little green oasis so you can relax while you’re taking a bath or getting ready for the day.

Plants in bathroom

Rental Decorating Ideas for Patio & Balcony

Create an outdoor retreat you’ll love! Check out these five ways to elevate the patio or balcony in your rental home.

Wood Deck Tiles

Most apartment balconies are small and dull. These easy-install deck tiles are a fantastic solution for covering the concrete and adding personality to your patio or balcony!

Wood deck tiles for balcony

Outdoor Curtains 

If you enjoy outdoor privacy or want to keep chilly drafts at bay, hang outdoor curtains on your patio or deck. Use inexpensive, easy-to-clean fabrics like cotton or polyester, as outdoor curtains can soil quickly. Hang your outdoor curtains with Kwik-Hang’s no-drill brackets and holdbacks for damage-free installation and removal.

Read more: How to Hang Patio Door Curtains

Outdoor curtains for patio decoration

Colorful Touches

Want to catch the attention of neighbors across the building? A ladder plant shelf, colorful patio chairs or patterned pillows are sure to spice up your outdoor space. Alternatively, if you prefer a simpler, budget-friendly solution, add a vase of fresh flowers to your patio table.

Decorative Lighting

Love dining al fresco? You’ll want to equip your apartment or rental home patio with proper lighting for the perfect ambiance. Suspend string lights from the awning, or weave them around your balcony’s rails. You can also add lanterns or decorative candle holders that are perfect for illuminating evening meals.

Tabletop Fire Pit

We’re big fans of these affordable, small space-friendly fire pits. You may not have room for a full-size campfire, but you can still recreate the same experience in your little outdoor area! Grab a blanket, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the warmth on a cool night.

Explore more: 8 Home Office and Guest Room Ideas

Decorative lighting for balcony

Surefire Hacks for Decorating a Rental Home

Decorating a rental home is more about being creative than breaking the bank. Bring some of these ideas to life and stay true to your style without breaking the lease rules.

You can start with Kwik-Hang’s damage-free curtain rod brackets, which are the perfect solution for renters! Just align the brackets to your window frame, tap them in with a hammer and hang curtains or drapes instantly — no other tools needed.

You can also add Kwik-Hang’s no-drill curtain holdbacks to complete your window treatments and create the space of your dreams. Our holdbacks feature the same patented damage-free technology as our bestselling brackets.

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