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How to Decorate a Rental (Without Your Landlord Freaking Out)

decorate a rental
The Carousel The Carousel has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Sep 18, 2021

Renting? Sometimes it feels like you’re constantly waving your interior design dreams goodbye, doesn’t it? You’re just trying to figure out how to decorate your rental, but every idea you have is a main character in your landlord’s worst nightmares (paint, nails, and holes in the wall).

Despite what your landlord may have you believe, you actually can decorate your home when renting without getting kicked out or losing your bond (or spending a fortune). You just need to know how.

Here,  author and Simplicity Expert Bronwen Sciortino, offers expert advice on styling up your rental property without breaking the bank, or freaking out your landlord. 

Renting Renovation Solution – The Peel and Stick

The best solutions is when decorating the home you’re renting is generally to go for the “peel and stick” variety. Anything that’s peel and stick is as easy to install as it is to remove.

Try:

Invest in What You Actually Own

Forget about investing in your rental property for now and invest in what you can own and take with you.  

  • Achieve originality on a budget with secondhand furniture
  • Save for investment pieces (think above-average couch or fancy toaster)
  • Save on staples (like bathroom storage or a kitchen island from IKEA), then spend on the stuff your guests are going to notice (like your couch or your dining table)
Clean Indoor Air
Research suggests that clean indoor air can contribute to better health.

The Grass is Always Greener (If You Fill Your House with Plants) 

You can bring pot plants with you wherever you go, so they’re a worthwhile investment regardless of how long the lease on the property you’re renting is. Just ensure they have a saucer or plate beneath them to avoid any spills and stains on flooring or other surfaces. Not a green thumb? Look for plants that thrive on neglect, such as succulents. 

Rug Up 

Despite what your landlord might think, shag carpets are never going to make a comeback. Do yourself a favour by introducing your living room to the 21st century… with a rug. This is also a great hack for covering up stained carpet or the cheap ugly carpet a lot of landlords put in properties they are renting to tenants.

rugs
The Bambi rug is the perfect combination of softness and style.

A few tips to decorate a rental :

  • Lay down a hallway runner to add some interest in a boring hallway
  • Try the new rug layering trend with some interesting shapes/colour combos
  • Protect your hardwood floors from getting scratched and keep yourself warm in winter with a big, heavy-duty rug  
  • Rugs can be expensive, so scour second hand websites or community Facebook groups. You are likely to find a gem at a bargain price.

Let There Be Light (Fixtures)


Switching up your lighting can do a lot for a room that’s got nothing going on. Try changing lampshades and pendants and see how it makes the light change, or layering light with multiple lamps.

If things start to get technical, get an electrician, but don’t feel the need to overcomplicate things; even switching a lightbulb from cool, white light to warm, yellow light can make a difference.

Anything You Can’t Hide, Store

Decluttering can absolutely help to reduce overwhelm. When you keep things as simple and minimal as possible, it always helps to keep anxiety and stress at bay. Less ‘stuff’ means less opportunity for clutter to take over. Importantly, you’ll never achieve your interior design dreams with clutter everywhere. Instead of trying to find a place for it in your already crowded rental, get a TAXIBOX instead. TAXIBOX deliver their mobile storage box to your door then collect it when you’re done.

What about the bathroom?

So many bathrooms in so many properties that are available for renting are, for want of a better phrase, devoid of style. in fact, often they are quite the opposite. It’s easily fixed though!
The simpler you can keep things, the easier it will be for you every day. Look at the things you have sitting around in your bathroom and ask whether you 1) use them regularly and 2) actually need them. Remove anything that isn’t a yes to these two questions and either store them out of sight (if you use them, but not regularly) or throw them away.

Finding a way to include an indoor plant in your bathroom space can be a big stress reliever too. There’s something really soothing about having a plant in your bathroom – it creates a trigger to relax and which is a big pressure release in the mind clutter stakes.

To brighten up a daggy bathroom, try personalising the space with a patterned shower curtain. You don’t need to spend much for style – even your local Target has some really stunning offerings.

If All Else Fails, Fix It Later

If the temporary fix fails, get it done some other way, with the hammer if you must. You can make permanent changes, as long as you’re willing to make them disappear as soon as your lease is up:

  • Hang art with nails, patch up the holes when you leave
  • Replace curtains, hang the landlord’s musty ones back up later
  • Paint walls, then repaint them the colour you found them at the end of your lease

About Bronwen Sciortino

Bronwen Sciortino is an International Author and Simplicity Expert who spent almost two decades as an award-winning executive, before experiencing a life changing event that forced her to stop and ask the question ‘What if there’s a better way to live?’.

In her books, Keep It Super Simple, The Economy of Enough and Beyond A-Ha, Bronwen offers simple solutions for life, practical, easy steps and information.

Gaining international critical acclaim and 5-star awards for her books, Bronwen spends every day teaching people that there is an easy, practical and simple pathway to creating a healthy, happy and highly successful life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By The Carousel The Carousel has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

The Carousel is devoted to inspiring you to live your best life - emotionally, physically, and sustainably.

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