Somewhere, at some point in our lives most of us have had to rent a place. We all rent for different reasons, whether it’s that we haven’t been able to save enough up for a down payment or we just don’t know how the next five years will pan out and don’t want to commit to a certain location or house size, but there is one thing all renters have in common. Decorating can be a pain! It’s not your house (or apartment) so you can’t just do whatever you want with it.
HT and I recently moved into a new apartment and before moving in I did a lot of research on decorating ideas for rentals and many of the ideas I came across seemed so unrealistic. Many of them mentioned painting walls, building shelves, and resurfacing countertops, which yes, you technically can do, but that’s also a lot of work to take down when you leave and/or a lot of money (as well as respect!) you’ll lose from your landlord when you go to get your security deposit back. And, after all, isn’t the main reason we rent – because our situation isn’t permanent?
So here are some of the ways I came up with to make our apartment feel more like a home even though we were limited on the “improvements” we could make.
1. Stick with a Similar Color Theme Throughout
If you stick with a similar color theme throughout, this allows you to interchange pieces when you want to mix things up and also ensures that the pieces will still be useful when you move in to your next place. I’ll take vases or art pieces and move them from the bedroom to the dining room or to the living room all the time. For the most part, I like to stick with neutrals and then add in accent colors to each room for a little pop.
2. Pillows are Your Best Friend!
And throw blankets too! Although I don’t think HT would agree too much with me on this one. 😉 Okay, so maaaaybe I bought a few too many pillows for our couches, but pillows do really liven up the room. I tend to prefer solid colors for big pieces, such as couches and bedspreads so pillows allow me to incorporate a little bit of pattern and character into each room. Plus, pillows are a really easy item to switch out if you get tired of them later and decide you want a totally different look.
3. Store Items in Decorative Containers
Make use of extra counter or floor space by storing items in decorative containers. This tip is especially helpful when you live in a small apartment and are limited on space. Store kitchen utensils in a nice ceramic or porcelain utensil holder on the counter next to the stove. This also makes for easier access when you’re cooking. 😉 Q-tips, cotton balls, and tissues can all be kept in pretty containers on your bathroom counter. 🙂 I found a TON of beautiful bathroom accessories when I was shopping for our apartment. It was hard to narrow it down to one! Blankets can also be stored in baskets or on wood ladders. We don’t have a wood ladder for our blankets, but I LOVE the idea!
4. Find a Shower Curtain You Love
To me, shower curtains have always been the worst part about renting. I’ve always hated them. There was just something that always looked so “cheap” about them. That is, until I found the shower curtain we now have. Because this was such a major item to me, I spent a long time finding the perfect one and now the bathroom is actually one of my favorite rooms decor-wise. I also purchased fancy little hooks to go with it. 🙂 The shower curtain is the main thing you will see in your bathroom and really gives the bathroom its whole vibe so spend some time finding a shower curtain you love. I was able to find this one on Amazon for a great price and it looked way better than any of the more expensive ones I looked at in stores.
5. Hang Curtains
Curtains add so much to an apartment! When I think of what our apartment looked like before we added curtains, it’s like night and day. (Kind of literally too I guess, lol) They really finish off the whole room. Now I know I said before any changes you make to your rental result in more work when you move out and who wants to deal with that, BUT I have a surprise for you! They sell no-screw, no-drill curtain rods that look exactly like the real thing. They don’t look those plastic PVC pipes ones you typically see. I was sooo happy when I found these! They sell them on Amazon, but I wasn’t able to find them in a long enough size for what I needed so was able to order them online through Walmart’s website for pick up in store. They sell them in multiple colors too so I purchased nickel and black.
6. Add Flowers
Really, what isn’t better with flowers!? Spruce up empty spaces such as dresser tops and the dining room table by adding vases with artificial flowers in them (or real if you’re up for it!). This is my favorite way to decorate and adds such a touch of class to the room. My favorite place to shop for artificial flowers is Michaels and they are almost always on sale. They have 40% off coupons every week too so make sure you never leave the store without using one! If you don’t receive them in the mail, you can look online for one. Whenever I buy something at Michael’s, I always just search Michael’s coupon in Google on my phone and bring up the coupon on my phone at the register.
Here are some of the great places I shopped for home items and decor:
Bed, Bath & Beyond – I bought so much from here! Also a tip, their paper coupons NEVER expire and you can use as many as you have in one purchase so hang on to them (even though they have an expiration date on them) and they will still honor them in store. I used a coupon on every single item I bought from there and let me tell you, it was a lot! I purchased our silverware, pots and pans, glassware, kitchen utensils, a toaster oven, bath accessories, couch pillows, and much more all at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Target – I got a lot from Target too, mostly cleaning supplies, but also bath towels, pillows, lamps, curtains, and other decor. In case you didn’t know, you can search for items online and find the nearest store that carries it and pay ahead to pick up in store. This way you ensure you get the item in case there are only a few left (and don’t have to go searching through the aisles to find it!). I’ve used this service a number of times. Also, if you have a Red Card Target offers free shipping for online purchases. Be sure to use the Cartwheel app too and you can snag free stuff! I got one of our throw blankets for free using Cartwheel. 😉
Wayfair – Our comforter and bed sheets are from Wayfair and I got the BEST bed sheets for such a great deal! I think they were regularly $100 and I got them for around $20. Wayfair seems to always be having sales.
Amazon – I’m sure you know Amazon is great for everything so of course I browsed on here for home items. I found our shower curtain on Amazon, as well as the throw pillow covers for our bed and the curtains in our bedroom. And with Amazon Prime I was able to get everything within 2 days which made putting our place together so much more efficient. Plus I knew I could easily return things if they didn’t work out or weren’t the right color.
Walmart – The only thing I purchased from Walmart was the curtain rods. They don’t sell them in store so I ordered them online for in store pick up.
What are some ways you’ve found to make your rental feel more like a home? I’d love to hear! 🙂