When it comes to how to decorate a rental apartment, the process is fun but can sometime’s get pretty tricky. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself with only a very small space to work with, or a super strict landlord or a maybe even a rental with no windows! If you’re stuck on how to decorate your new apartment, there are many ways to do it while staying true to yourself and maximizing space and potential! In the past five years, I have moved around six times. Five of these moves were to new rental properties, so it’s certainly safe to say that I’ve picked up a few rental friendly decorating tips in my time. Below are 20 tricks on how to decorate a rental apartment. Good luck and hope this helps!
1. Fairy lights will hide a multitude of sins.
Not every rental is going to be gorgeous. Sometimes the wallpaper might not be to your taste. The entire property might be that depressingly bland shade of magnolia found in oh-so-many rentals. But, don’t worry! Just get yourself some fairy lights! No one, not even you, is going to notice the drab wallpaper or the ugly paint! Honestly, there is so much scope to fairy lights, it is unreal. There are so many different shapes, sizes, colours and lengths, and let’s be honest…you can’t really overdo it on fairy lights, can you?
2. Washi tape is now your best friend.
Honestly, it’s amazing. It’s reusable. It’s tearable and it’s removable. It won’t leave marks. As a renter, it’s going to tick all your boxes. Washi tape comes in all sorts of fun colours and patterns and can be decorative in itself! Now you can put up all your photos and postcards safe in the knowledge that you aren’t going to lose any of your damage deposit.
3. Pick a colour scheme and stick to it.
You will certainly be thanking yourself when your new room looks super Instagram worthy. If your rental is painted neutrally, which it probably will be, then you can inject a bit of spice and personality with your matching sheets and bedspread.
4. You can never have too many books.
Your books can be decorative all on their own! They can add an alternative vibe to a window sill or make for an exceedingly instagrammable shelf. And if you’re anything like me, you will agree that a well-stocked book shelf can make a house a home.
5. Invest in some low maintenance plants.
Since I’ve moved into my most recent home, I have not been able to have my cat with me (she’s staying with my mum while I’m at university – please don’t worry!) As all of the cat moms out there will know, being separated from our gorgeous bundles of fluff is almost physically painful. I know how ridiculous it sounds, but having my cacti in my dorm room has really brightened up the room – it’s surprisingly nice to have another living organism around.
6. Put your photos on display!
Photos will always add a personal touch to a rental, and it’s a great way to use up all the wall space you’re going to have! Use your washi tape for a cute, rental appropriate photo display – you could even add your super cute fairy lights to really brighten the place up!
7. Over-the-door space savers are a life saver.
Over-the-door hooks for your bathroom and kitchen mean you can hang everything you could possibly need to without permanently damaging your walls – and they’re a great space saver! Everything that is hung up means you have more cupboard, wardrobe and drawer space. An over-door shoe rack will also be super helpful, creating a ton more floor space for you to enjoy in your (probably tiny) rental.
8. If your rental is carpeted, get a rug.
This tip is threefold; first of all, your carpet is probably beige so a rug will add some colour and personality, and make your rental seem a little more homely. Secondly, the carpet is probably threadbare, so your rug will make it look a bit less gross and will be much kinder to your feet. Lastly, you’re probably going to spill stuff. You’re going to spill a lot, I know I do, and if you spill it on your own easily cleaned, easily removed rug, then you won’t be endangering that precious damage deposit.
If you don’t know what this is then seriously, where have you been? In these times of economic uncertainty, a lot of people can’t afford to decorate with completely new furniture. An easy and fun way to deal with this is to upcycle! Take your old furniture and make it new! A splash of paint, slightly different handle shapes, a redesign and boom; you’ve got a lovely piece of furniture that cost you practically nothing – and you made it yourself! Even if you don’t have any furniture to upcycle, you can still jump on the bandwagon, just keep an eye out at charity shops and car boots, you’ll find some absolute gems.
10. Figure out your aesthetic BEFORE you move in.
What kind of vibe are you going for in your new place? Edgy? Homely? Minimalist? You’ll need to decide before you move in! If you have an image in mind for how you want your apartment to look and feel, it will be so much easier to execute when it comes down to it.
11. Avoid Blu Tac like the plague.
I made this mistake in my first rental. Blu Tac will leave an oily residue where it once was and depending on how long it’s holding your posters up, it can be really hard to remove! We had to repaint the entire apartment because I used Blu Tac everywhere, please learn from my mistakes!
12. Use White Tac instead.
White Tac is like the oil free cousin of Blu Tac. It’s not quite the same kind of sticky and the consistency is a bit weird, but it won’t leave oily circles all over your walls when you’re done with it! It’ saved me so much time and money over the years, it’s unreal.
13. Don’t buy too much.
Until you’re moved in and settled, you’re not going to know exactly what will fit in your rental, when you will and won’t need and what you will actually use. Save yourself some money and just buy the essentials before you move in! It took me a while to realise this, but you really don’t need everything you think you will need. I promise, as essential as IKEA makes it look, you can live without it.
14. Make sure you know what you can do.
You need to know what your landlord is okay with. Can you have pets? Do they mind you putting stuff on the walls? Are you allowed to paint? Are you allowed to screw things into the wall? These are all things you need to know!
15. Make sure you know what you can’t do.
If you’re not allowed to do any of those things, then you need to know that too! As long as you’re clear on what your landlord finds acceptable, you should be fine! Remember that if you do anything that cannot be reversed you might not get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy, so it’s important to know what you can’t do to your rental.
16. If it’s small, sort your storage.
If your rental is small (which it probably is, let’s face it) you will need to figure out some storage solutions. The over-door options I mentioned earlier are a great start but look into under-bed storage as well! Also, if there is spare space in your wardrobe or under your sink, then this is prime storage opportunity!
17. Invest in blankets.
You can drape a blanket on your furniture to hide a stain, fold it at the end of your bed to go in place of a bedspread or even add some personality to your desk chair. Also, blankets will keep you warm on these cold winter evenings so your heating bill won’t be quite so expensive!
18. Command Hooks.
In most rentals, you can’t drill holes into the walls so command hooks are a must for any tenant! They are versatile and easily removed, making them perfect for the millennial renter – they also won’t damage the walls.
19. Wall Stickers.
You probably can’t paint your walls, and you probably can’t leave any holes or marks on the walls, so wall stickers and decals are your best bet. In our first rental, me and my mum had a huge cherry blossom tree on the wall of our living room. It was great, she rearranged it all the time and it never left any residue behind – it’s the perfect way to add some rental-friendly colour to your walls.
20. Make it your own!
The most important thing about decorating your rental is that it feels like home. You’re going to be living there for a considerable length of time, it makes sense for you to feel at ease there. Who knows what’s going to happen in those four walls while you’re there? You could write the resume cover letter that gets you your dream job. You could write the paper that determined your entire career. Or, you could make friends that will become the closest people in your life. You could even fall in love! Make your rental feel like home, make it feel like it’s yours.
Do you have any other ideas on how to decorate a rental apartment? Share in the comments below!
*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.