Decorating a Rental House on a Budget

Decorating a Rental House on a Budget
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: December 5, 2021
  • Updated On: July 11, 2023

Decorating a rental is always tricky. However, just because you cannot swap the flooring or drill a bunch of holes into the walls, it does not mean that you cannot make your space feel like home.

Little changes can go a long way in transforming the atmosphere without putting your deposit at risk. If you’ve recently moved into a rental and found that the interior design is not exactly your taste, here are a few tips that will help you turn that around.

Talk to your landlord

First things first, before you do any kind of renovation project, it is essential that you are fully aware of what’s permitted within your contract.

Refresh your memory and read the agreement once again. Additionally, you can (and should) always ask your landlord before doing something to the property, and the best idea is to also put this in writing. Finally, you might want to steer clear of spending a lot on decorating the property. Consider whether the investment will pay off during your tenancy.

Start with the walls

Your landlord has most likely repainted the property before you moved in. However, if bare white walls do not speak to you, you can ask them whether you can add a coat of a color of your choice.

Naturally, bold colors are not recommended; but a light beige or yellowish shade can make a room feel warmer than stark white, so you can consider this option if your landlord gives you the green light.

If not, there is still no reason to despair. There are more and more wall décor options on the market that are specially designed to leave no trace.

Look into removable wallpapers or vinyl decals and you’ll be able to take them with you when you eventually move out. Dressing up just one wall in a lavish pattern will immediately add some interest to a space that lacks character.

Assess your lighting fixtures

Assess your lighting fixtures

What rentals often have issues with is lighting. It’s not necessarily poor lighting that is the issue, but rather, fixtures that simply don’t cut it.

They are either dated and don’t provide the best illumination, or they are, bluntly put an eyesore. Now, you may be able to swap some of the lighting fixtures without having to drill or do any other “invasive” procedure, but be sure to ask your landlord in any case. They will most likely allow you to do so.

If your rental’s lighting situation is barely adequate but there’s the issue of keeping the walls immaculate, what you can very easily do is introduce additional lighting in the form of floor lamps. They are a stylish addition that will contribute to both the aesthetics and the functionality of your space.

Dress it up with fabrics

If you’ve moved into a furnished property, you might think that there’s little room for your creative vision. Still, there are many ways to accommodate the furniture that may not be especially attractive to fit into your design. This is where the smart use of fabrics comes into the picture.

Your sofa’s color does not spark joy in you? Get a few throw blankets and pillowcases and you’ll be able to hide what you don’t like for a small cost. You can also create a huge impact by simply swapping your window treatments.

A similar strategy will also come in handy in other areas. For instance, the property may have dated flooring you’d rather not draw attention to. You can get an attractive rug and completely transform your living room, for instance.

Rugs also help you create zones, so they can also be used to divide a space if your rental is more of an open-plan design. You can even layer them for added warmth (or if there’s a lot to hide underneath.)

Open up the space

If, on the other hand, your rental is still built according to old standards and there are just too many constricting walls, the space may feel cramped. There are several ways to get around this through decoration and renovation.

If you simply want to make a room feel larger, then focusing on light colors and plenty of light is what’s going to help you. If repainting walls is not an option, the aforementioned strategy of incorporating fabrics will help you out. Adding a few more light sources, as mentioned, will work as well.

If you are still not satisfied with the result, then you can try putting your heads together with your landlord. They may be open to your suggestions and agree to allow you some remodeling.

Before making any kind of structural changes to a building, though, you might need the advice of construction lawyers, too, besides the OK from your landlord. Ultimately, if you think some minor changes could significantly improve your use of the space in the coming years, it’s worth bringing it up.

Add some personality

Just because you technically don’t “own” the space, it does not mean you cannot make it your own for the time being. Adding some details that speak volumes about your personality will make you feel more comfortable in it and turn the rental into a real home.

Bring in decorations like candles and picture frames, display your treasured trinkets and books, DIY a headboard for your bed. All of these will make the space feel a little more like you.

Besides filling your shelves with personal items, you may also want to decorate your walls with art. Truthfully, art can bring life into a space, so displaying your favorite pieces will mean a lot. However, you may run into the issue of not being able to hang them.

Luckily, there are lots of alternative solutions out there that don’t involve hammering nails and the like. If we’re talking about posters and other lighter pieces you can simply use command strips that won’t damage the walls.

For large-scale frames, try leaning them against the wall for a true gallery-like feel. You can also use pegboards and bulletin walls and you will always be able to change up your display.

Bring in Mother Nature

Finally, a décor step that will benefit virtually any interior and is, therefore, a perfect way to spruce up your rental as well is introducing nature to the space in the form of plants. Houseplants are a huge trend right now and for good reasons.

The presence of greenery not only boosts the look of any space, but it even has positive effects on our psyche. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t or couldn’t add a few of them to your rental and reap all the benefits.

There are many ways to display houseplants in an attractive way. You can simply place them in unique pots on your shelves and call it a day. However, you can also layer larger ones with the help of a stool or a crate. You can even use your creativity and turn a wire bin upside down for elevation.

When decorating a rental, focusing on additions that you will be able to “take with you” is the way to go. Adding rugs, removable wallpaper and other decorations won’t endanger your deposit but will make your stay that much more pleasant. When thinking about larger changes, consult with your landlord and you may find that they like your idea.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.