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18 home decorating ideas for rented apartments and houses

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Samuel Hurley
18 home decorating ideas for rented apartments and houses

You’ve finally found the perfect place to rent, but you’re not sure how to decorate it without breaking your contract?

Don’t worry, there are lots of ways to make a rented property feel more like home, even if you’re on a budget!

Can you decorate a rented house or flat?

If you want to add a fresh coat of paint or put up new shelves, check your contract first. Every landlord has different rules about their property, so it’s important to get their permission before making any changes to the property or you’ll risk losing your deposit.

On the bright side, if they like your idea, your landlord may be willing to pay for the materials out of their own pocket. Win-win!

Make sure you’re both on the same pages about the changes, and what you need to undo before moving out. Once you have their consent in writing, you’re good to go.

How to Decorate Your Rented House or Apartment on a Budget - Our Top Picks

Tip: Play around with soft furnishings

1. Add a Large Statement Rug or a Series of Smaller Ones

Rugs can suit any space: by your front door, in high traffic areas, under furniture, in your bathroom… Consider covering up the living room floor with a large statement rug, or filling your hallway with small rugs. Your feet and eyes will thank you, and you’ll avoid damaging the floor with scuffs and stains.

2. Mix in Distinctive Throws and Cushions

A few extra cushions or a throw can make a sofa or bed more colourful and cosy without breaking the bank. Look into mixing different colours, patterns, textures and sizes to make the room more visually interesting.

3. Update Those Dull Curtains and Blinds

Window treatments are a make-or-break part of a room, as they serve both a functional and decorative purpose. From thick wool curtains to woven wood shades, the key is to create a harmonious look and avoid diminishing the amount of natural light in the room.

Tip: Use adaptable furniture

4. Invest in Modular Furniture

If you find yourself regularly getting bored by your set-up, modular furniture might be the solution for you. For example, a modular sofa will keep your living room suited to your desired lifestyle with flexibility for future changes.

5. Save Room with Sofa Beds

Perfect for when you have limited space and frequent guests, sofa beds are a practical and budget-friendly way to add some variety to your apartment. By saving space, they also give you more leeway to decorate your apartment with other furnishings.

6. Ottomans and stools

If you ask us, ottomans are underrated. Not only do they add a splash of personality to a room, they’re also a multi-purpose piece of furniture: you can sit on them, use them as a footrest, or even use them as a coffee table.

Tip: Light things up

7. Lamp bases and lampshades styles

The world of lamps is vast, to say the least. Whatever you’re looking for in shape, size, colour, and material, you can combine styles to suit your tastes, e.g. you can attach a green resin table lamp with a basket weave lampshade, or use a brass retro base with a beige silk pleated shade. The sky’s the limit!

8. Layered Lighting

Layering your lighting can make an immense difference in your living space even if you can’t install permanent fixtures.. Don’t be afraid to combine ceiling lights, pendant lights, wall lights, floor lamps, desk lamps, under-cabinet lights and more to add depth to a room.

9. Incorporate Candles

Candles come in all different colours and sizes: from tea lights in glass cups to large candles in intricate holders, they add a great atmosphere to an apartment. Just make sure to keep an eye on them when they’re lit.

Tip: Decorate your walls

10. Shelves and racks

Use all the vertical space available to you! Floating shelves and racks are great to put books, plants, picture frames and other decorative items. If you live in a smaller apartment, strategic use of tall storage space and areas under tables/beds can help to decrease clutter.

11. Add Character with Wall Art

If you’re not allowed to drill holes in the wall, there are other options for hanging paintings, and pictures, such as adhesive hooks, command strips, or picture rails. You can also play around with hanging rugs or decorating with removable stickers.

12. Refresh your Wall Paint

If you’re allowed to paint your walls, test out some options other than the traditional white. Introducing a new colour scheme, even if you’re sticking with neutral tones, will help you feel like the place is yours.

13. Mirrors

A single large mirror or a bunch of smaller differently-shaped mirrors can make a room feel a lot more spacious. Mirrors can also brighten up a room and illuminate darker corners.

Tip: Invest in nice crockery and kitchenware

14. Decorative bowls and plates

Kitchenware will of course be part of any first-time home essentials checklist, but it serves more than just a practical function. Decorative dishes can add that final touch of personality to your living space, whether you go for glass, porcelain, wood or another material. For example, a fruit bowl with lemons is an easy way to give an air of freshness to your kitchen.

15. Glass jars

Instead of storing your rice, pasta, grains and other dry goods in plastic and cardboard packaging, you can add a bit of life (and organisation) to your kitchen by keeping them in glass jars on display.

Tip: Become one with nature

16. Houseplants

Don’t underestimate the impact of greenery in your home (and especially your bedroom). Consider putting a pothos plant on your bookshelf, a spider plant on your desk, or a jade plant on a windowsill. Many indoor plants are remarkably easy to take care of, and they’re good for your mental health to boot.

17. Natural Materials

From driftwood and shells to pebbles and dried leaves, nature has a lot to offer to spruce up your home. How about using a big shell as a soap dish holder, or arranging dried leaves and petals into unique artwork?

18. Fresh or dried bouquets

As an occasional treat, a fresh bunch of flowers in a vase can make a big difference to a room (and has the extra benefit of smelling nice). Alternatively, you can get a dried flower bouquet, which will last a lot longer without any extra hassle.

Whatever your preferred style, renting an apartment doesn’t have to limit your ability to decorate it! If you’re living in a small space, check out our small living room decor ideas for more inspiration.

Shop our modern and contemporary sofas, available in a range of colours and fabrics to suit your ideal style.

Shop Swyft sofas

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