Residential and Commercial Interior Designer for 10 Years MFA in Interior Architecture at the California College of the Arts in 2010
Today I’m going to be sharing with you 12 renter friendly decorating hacks to totally transform and customize your rental space. I know a lot of rentals can feel really cold and bare and lack a lot of personality. And sometimes you're just scared to customize them because you don't want to ruin it. You want to keep your deposit all of that, so today I’ll be sharing with you a bunch of different decorating tricks that you can do around your rental space, that are reversible, removable, affordable and really easy to do.
The first is changing up the hardware. This is super simple really easy to do and it will make such a huge difference to your kitchen, your bathroom and built-ins that you have around your space. You can get new hardware from pretty much anywhere. So this always comes with the screws that you need, different sizes you barely need any tools to do this. You pretty much just need a screwdriver and that's it! Anyone can do it when you're making a change like this always. Make sure to keep your existing hardware, these original pulls are from a bathroom vanity that I transformed, and I like to keep these in the bathroom. Just in case I need them again, I know exactly where they are. They stay in the room that I transformed and when you leave your rental, you can easily put them back on. You can clearly see the difference, something a little bit more dated versus something more modern really would make a huge difference in a rental, especially in a kitchen or a bathroom. A lot of rental units have the old dated hardware and it's such an easy change. Just to switch out, all you have to do is measure between one hole to the other and make sure that your new one matches up perfectly and they're the same size you can obviously do something and totally switch up the style or if you like this look you can also find a similar one in a different metal finish. You can get this in silver, black and gold to really match with your aesthetic. It’s easy, affordable and removable and as long as you keep the original ones, you can put them on when it's time to go.
Tension Rod Curtains
Another thing to consider doing in your rental space, which really makes it feel homey and cozy, adding some privacy and making it feel less like a rental, is to use tension rod curtains. Tension rods are amazing and they don't leave any damage behind, you can add café curtains or roman shades. You can cover up ugly areas of your home using tension rods and adding a nice curtain to it. It doesn't require you to drill any holes in your walls or anything like that to hang up a curtain. Tension rods are very versatile. They come in different colors and even if you can't find the color that you want, you can spray paint them really easily, they're adjustable in their size. You can go as wide or as small as you want and pretty much fit them anywhere, they're really great for hanging up sheer curtains, anything that's really lightweight to add a nice whimsical light diffused look in your space. If you've been living in a rental space and have always wanted some curtains, some roman blinds, some cafe curtains definitely consider using attention rod. Because it will make your curtain dreams come true and make it so possible in a rental space now.
Take Off the Cabinet Doors
If you're somebody that really loves the open concept, open shelving look of kitchens, bathrooms, any type of cabinetry. You can get a similar look in your rental space by simply removing the cabinet doors from your kitchen or your bathroom. Because you can see right to the wall, it brightens everything up and opens the space up but you just have to be careful with keeping your cabinets clean looking. You can do this in a smaller way by just removing two cabinet doors and you can kind of create a nice little open concept display unit area to really show dishes that you love, or decor pieces that's an easy way of doing it. And you can go all out and remove all the upper cabinets and create an open shelving kitchen look. I would say this is a perfect option for people that are really orderly and have matching dishes. Really want to make it look decorative, but if you have a bunch of cabinets that are completely filled and have mix-matched things inside your kitchen, which can look really cluttered. If you remove those door, please make sure to label all of your cabinet doors and keep all the hardware. So when you leave or move out, you can install the doors, back on and no one will know that anything has ever changed.
Peel and Stick Wallpaper and Decals
Now on to some wall treatments, something that every single renter should know about is peel and stick removable wallpaper and decals. Peel and stick wallpaper is simple removable and there's so many different styles to choose from, you can use it as accent walls in little nooks, your spaces, on an entire wall, furniture, stairs and more. You can use peel and stick wallpaper anywhere. It is so easy and I think it is the perfect solution for renters. I’ve also been seeing a ton of peel and stick decals, which are really cute as well it requires less work. I would say because you get little individual decals, that you can kind of place in different patterns. You can also create your own wallpaper look or a nice little setup around something that you really want to highlight. If painting is not an option for you and your rental, don't miss out on peel and stick wallpaper. Trust me it goes such a long way. You can find colors and styles that will totally match with your aesthetic and it will completely customize your rental space.
Washi Tape or Electrical Tape
Alternative to peel and stick wallpaper and decals, you can use washi tape or electrical tape to create your own pattern. If you want to create stripes on your walls patterns or little x's across the wall, you can create really trendy, kind of Scandinavian patterns, which is super easily using electrical tape or washi tape washi tape. It comes in different sizes, different colors and patterns. So you can pretty much create your own wallpaper using tape. It’s super affordable, removable and totally renter friendly.
All right now on to renter friendly lighting fixtures. The thing about lighting fixtures is you can remove them and you can put them back on without damaging anything. So changing up the lighting in your rental space is an option. If you're living with an ugly chandelier something, that's really ruining the style that you're going after. Just consider changing it up by switching up the lighting or adding new lighting, you can really transform your rental space from a dark cold space to a welcoming and warm inviting space.
Temporary Decking Tiles
All right now onto the outdoor space in your rental. Maybe you have a balcony, a patio, a rooftop or a backyard, this is something you can do to totally transform and customize the look of the space and make it look brand new. You can consider putting in temporary decking tiles, and these come in a wood finish or tile finish. These ones from IKEA are perfect, they're easy to install, kind of like a little puzzle piece. You just fit them together across your balcony space and you can have brand new flooring. I especially love the tile ones, I feel like that color and the pattern are beautiful and would totally add a ton of interest to your outdoor space. Let me know down below if you guys are living in a rental that has an outdoor space. Is it a patio, a balcony, a rooftop that would be amazing?
Now a super simple thing you can do to transform your flooring indoors is simply putting down a rug. Rugs are perfect, don't underestimate them. You can put down runners, area rugs, floor mats, kitchen mats, anything pretty much hide your floor. I’m even a believer of putting rug on top of carpets. If you have some ugly, not so great carpet in your rental, you can throw a rug over top of it and you’re good to go. I think this is the best option to cover up any cold flooring. Maybe you have concrete floors, maybe some dated parquet flooring, just throw down a rug, and add a rug pad underneath. It's comfortable and not moving around. It’ll make your rental feel cozy, homey, and look super stylish.
Peel and Stick Tiles
Now let's talk about tiles, I think every renter should know about peel and stick tiles. Peel and stick floor tiles, back splash tiles, towels to put over fireplaces. There’s so many amazing options out there to transform the look of your tiles. They’re a great temporary solution, which is super affordable and easy to install. You don't need to hire anybody, you can do everything yourself just by using scissors. The peel and stick tiles for backsplash is amazing, because a ton of kitchens in rentals don't even have backsplashes. And if they do, it's probably not your style, so you can switch that up easily by ordering some peel and stick backsplash tiles. They fit together like puzzles and you can totally cover up your outdated tiles. It's not just a sticker, but they also do have sticker, kinds that just go straight over top of your tile and they can show the grout coming through. so they really do look pretty real, it's a super easy day project that you can easily do over a weekend and get a whole new look to your rental space. So peeled stick floor towels can go right over existing floor tiles. You don't need to demo anything and same thing goes for the peel and stick backsplash. If you're a renter and you haven't tried peel and stick tiles. I think you're missing out and if you need to cover up some ugly tile, put these right over top and you will never look back.
Lean Your Wall Art up against the Wall
Another thing that's just in style now is just leaning your wall art up against the wall. So instead of hanging your wall art up, it's in style now to not hang it and just lean it up against the wall. This looks really nice on top of console tables, dressers, sometimes even the floor. This looks really nice when it's intentionally done when it doesn't look like you just left something out, especially layering different frames together. Different colors together and making it look decorative is the way to go. I recommend starting with a large piece of artwork, maybe layering in a medium size behind it and a small one in front and you can kind of create a nice triangular pattern. This can also be done with large mirrors. So you don't have to hang your large mirror up on the wall, and have it elevated. You can actually just push it up against the wall and have it leaning there on the floor or a dresser. And the large scale mirrors look perfect in this situation.
Peel and Stick Hooks
As well now something you can do to add some functionality but also some style to your rental space is install some peel and stick floating hooks to get the clutter off the floor to organize a space. You can install some peel and stick hooks, and they are super strong and will hold up what you need. They sell them in different finishes like black silver, gold wood finish, but if you want to kind of customize those, you can easily spray paint them and really get a look that matches with your space. I’ve also used suction cup hooks which are really great for bathrooms or any kind of rental space that has full walls of tiles, which is damage free, affordable and something you can install on your own.
All right the last thing you can do to really decorate and customize your rental space is to paint it. I’ve been in a few rentals where I was allowed to paint and I didn't even have to paint it back to white. At the end they actually came in and painted everyone's units. When they left anyways to have like a nice fresh start. It really depends on where you live and it's worth asking the landlord some might actually appreciate it. Because you might be cleaning up the look of their space. If you're picking a nice neutral color, something brighter, something that's really going to be nice for a long time. They might appreciate that if you're going to paint, maybe just try and keep the painting to a smaller area of your rental space. So maybe don't consider painting every single wall, maybe you can actually just do one accent wall, one little nook, some smaller space that won't take so much effort. If you have to paint back at the end. It's worth having the conversation. I know it's possible, and definitely doable in some situations. All you have to do is ask.
Those are just some of my renter friendly decorating tricks that you can try in your rental space. There is so many more things you can do, but I tried to narrow it down to things that I think would make such a big impact your space and are easy to do. Let me know down below in the comments if you're a renter. If you live in a rental home, a rental apartment, let us know down below. Also let me know down below what your favorite design trick was from this article, which one you would consider doing for your rental space if you enjoyed.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.