Top 10 decorating ideas for renters

Renters may often feel like interior design isn’t really for them. That they have to wait until they’ll move to their own home. But the truth is that the sooner we take control of where and how we live and how we feel there, the more it will positively affect our lives (in oh-so-many-different-ways), increasing the chances of us taking action towards getting our own house in the first place.

In this article I wanted to give you my top 10 ideas for ways in which you can change your home now, even while still renting. Those ideas will have the biggest impact in making your home look better, but at the same time you’ll be able to easily take them with you, should you decide to move.

And, if you’re not renting, but you’re looking to change things gradually, instead of planning big renovations straight away, then this is also where you might want to start.


Top 10 decorating ideas for renters

1. Curtains.

This often-underestimated element of home decor is a powerful colour accent when they are open, but they also determine the feel of the space when closed after dusk. Figure out what the accent colour for your room will be and use it when getting the curtains. It’s an easily removable element (which you can take with you to your next home) that will make a big difference.

TIP: if it’s your bedroom’s curtains, make sure they block the sun for better quality sleep.

2. Cushions.

This one you probably knew already, but there is a reason why cushions are so popular as a home decor element. It’s a truly easy way of introducing a desired accent colour, while not investing a lot of money. And, if you change your mind, you can change the cover of your cushions into a completely new pattern at a small cost.

3. Blanket or throw over the sofa/armchair.

Are you renting a home where the sofa (or armchairs) don’t fit your colour scheme? Don’t worry. The easiest way of dealing with that problem will not break the bank. You don’t have to buy a new sofa or get it reupholstered. Just buy a blanket or throw which is big enough and cover the sofa/armchairs with it. You can completely hide the colour or pattern underneath and make it the beginning of an entirely new colour scheme.

Below you’ll see how two blankets thrown over the armchairs and matched up with frames of the same colour completely transform the feel of the room. Just imagine how different it would feel, if the armchairs didn’t have the blankets and there were no frames: the room would be very dull. But this way there’s a character to it.


4. Lamp shades.

If every time you look up you see something you hate (whether that’s because the lamp shade has a grandma-style to it, or it’s an awkward shade of pink), then lucky for you in most cases it’s very easy to take off the shade that you don’t like and replace it with something more fitting.

It does not have to be expensive and the lamp shade itself doesn’t have to be in the colour you’ve chosen for your colour scheme. It could be more neutral, so that the attention is not drawn in that direction (as the rest of the light fitting in a rented place might be far from stunning). Remember to keep the old lamp shade somewhere in a box, so that you can swap them back before moving out.

5. Stand-alone lamps.

This is where you can think of light as a feature. Whether it’s a desk lamp, a reading lamp or one that goes on a night stand, a lamp is something which can last you for much longer and can eventually move in with you into your own house.

If you like something a lot, it might be worth saving up for it and investing into one that makes you feel good.


6. Rugs

Rugs are not only for wooden floors. If you have a carpet that doesn’t make you feel great (there might be stains on it etc.), then a rug will be your friend too.
Not to mention, the colour and pattern choices available will let you pick a rug that will enhance your rental’s new and improved look.

7. Paintings, posters, pictures.

Nowadays, you don’t have to drill holes in your walls to hang any type of frames. Instead, you could use adhesive strips that don’t leave any marks when removed. I used them myself and would definitely recommend them. There are different types depending on how heavy your picture is, but you can look them up here.

8. Dishes and mugs.

Homes for rent can often come with their own tableware. But if they do, those can often be a mixture from different sets and some of them might be chipped.

I recommend putting all of them away in a box and buying your own set of dishes and mugs. Use them to infuse colour and your personality into the kitchen. (And it’s another great start of “your own stuff” – the things which will eventually move to your own home with you.)

9. Rearranging furniture for a better layout.

Even in a rented home, there is usually some wiggle room when it comes to the layout. Think about how you want to be using this home and then move things around, experiment and see how they work.

For specific instructions on how to find the best layout for your living room (and the same process can be used for your bedroom or study), check out my article “7 steps for creating a functional living room layout.


10. Add a colourful bookcase.

If you’re short of storage space, adding a bookcase will be the easiest (and cheapest) solution, which – again – you could take with you to your next home.
If you want it to also improve the look of your home, think of adding it as a part of your colour scheme. You could:
– either paint the back of the bookcase in the accent colour(s) of the room,
– or, you could use containers or file organisers as the colour accent on your bookcase (hiding at the same time any smaller items which are giving out the impression of clutter).

For most of us, renting is a temporary solution until “we figure things out”. But this does not mean that we shouldn’t enjoy this part of the journey. I officially give you permission to make your home look nicer, even though you’re not going to live there forever.

It’s like with this elusive thought of “I’ll be happy when…xyz happens”. You either figure out a way to be happy now, no matter what the circumstances, or every time you’ll reach your xyz, you’ll want even more and you’ll keep on chasing.

There is always the next level. So start where you’re at. The way you feel at home is really worth the investment. And, as you’ve seen, all of those things can go with you to your next home.

What are you going to invest in next? Maybe some colourful mugs or black-out curtains for your bedroom? Leave a comment below and tell me what’s the next thing you can improve that will make you feel better?

And if you could share this article with your friends on social media, I’d be very appreciative.

Have a great week of plotting what to improve next,

Kat xx - signature 150px

2 Responses to Top 10 decorating ideas for renters

  1. You know what’s fun? These ideas also work for when you’ve just moved into a new house and don’t have the time/money/energy quite yet to do major overhauls.

    Also, I have a few rugs on top of the ugly carpet on our second floor and have always wondered if that’s an ok thing to do. I feel better now:)

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