DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. If you like reading legal jargon my disclosure policy is here.
For all of my adult life I have rented. I’ve rented houses, apartments, big, and small. No matter where I’ve rented there has been decorating guidelines that I needed to follow.
These guidelines always depended on our landlord. We might be able to paint, or they might fine us for nail holes in the walls. No matter what we had to figure out how to decorate to stay within the guidelines of our landlords wishes but to make our apartment feel like home.
Always check your lease for these guidelines. Your lease should detail what you can and cannot do on the premises. Also remember, as a renter, where you are living is temporary so don’t waste loads of money on things you cannot take with you.
Decorating Tips For Renters
I like to stay cautious when decorating a rental. I keep holes to a minimum, rarely paint, and just generally treat it as though I will move away.
However, in our current home we plan on staying here until we buy a house. This means spending money on paint and generally turning it into our home is something that’s more of an option.
Our landlord would like for us to stay for a long period of time as well so we are allowed to really do what we want to make it our home. So long as it’s not a complete remodel of the home.
If you are unsure and your lease doesn’t specify don’t hesitate to talk to your landlord and ask them if it’s ok to paint, add, or change something.
Decorating Tips For Small Apartments
Small apartments can be difficult to decorate. The more stuff you add the smaller the place seems. So the trick with small apartments is to decorate to make them look bigger.
Large mirrors on walls, specifically opposite of windows, makes a room appear larger to the eye. There was a reason why in the 60’s and 70’s everyone had that one wall mirrored from ceiling to floor.
While I’m grateful that particular style is a thing of the past, a simple framed large mirror over your sofa could make your whole living room look larger.
Use lighter color palettes in small apartments. Darker colors make the room feel more crowded where lighter colors will blend more with the neutral tones on most apartment walls.
If you are painting your small apartment use a cream, light grey, or a light color on your walls in an eggshell finish. The eggshell will bounce light and make the room appear larger than it actually is.
Use wall space for floating shelves to add height to your room. Drawing the eye up the walls instead of keeping everything down low can be all the difference making a room appear larger.
If you are adding window treatments have a valance that goes from the ceiling to just below the top of the window frame. This will make your windows appear larger than they are too.
White or light colored curtains will blend in better with your walls making the room appear larger as well. These simple things will make your small apartment look bigger than it is.
Apartment Decorating On A Budget
Decorating can be expensive so as a decorate on a budget queen I have a few things you should do to save some money while decorating. Guess what, they don’t include a lot of DIY’s because I don’t DIY.
Purchase In Stages
Purchase your decor in stages instead of all at once. This allows you to purchase certain items while they are on sale and it spreads out the financial load of decorating your home.
For instance, I purchased our sofa, loveseat, coffee tables, end table, and a rug all during a big sale Big Lots was having and spent under $1000 for them. A month or two later I added lamps to the room. In a month or so I will add curtains and artwork on the walls.
All told my living room will cost about $1500. This is the most I’ve ever spent on decor but purchasing all of it over the course of 6 months spread out the cost of it to a more manageable amount.
Price shopping can be a bit of a pain because it usually means driving all over the place to see if you can find what you want. This is why I recommend price shopping online.
You can browse all the major stores, Etsy, Amazon, and Wayfair all with the click of a mouse to find exactly the right pieces to finish off your room. Then you can order and have it shipped directly to your door.
Price shopping and using the Honey Plugin has made all the difference in saving me loads of money when decorating my home.
Check Your Second Hand Options
The final decorating on a budget secret of mine is to check the second hand options. This doesn’t mean just going to Goodwill or the local thrift shop though.
In addition to checking those stores check out Facebook Marketplace. There are always loads of great options on Facebook Marketplace for home decor. People are always downsizing and looking to make a quick buck on things they have no need for.
Another great second hand option is to hit up garage sales or estate sales. These two options can be a gold mine for finding unique decor items that would look fantastic in your home.
Apartment Decorating Hacks
When it comes to decorating in an apartment, it’s often easier to just not hang anything or to just set your furniture and that’s it. Even though it’s a temporary residence for you and your family, you should try to at least make it feel comfortable for you all.
Use 3M Hooks
3M hooks and sticky tape is a great way to hang pictures and lightweight signs in your house. This keeps you from putting holes in the walls while also giving your space a great pick me up.
I personally use 3M Tape for my white boards in my office. Instead of drilling screws into plaster the 3M holds the white board making it more efficient for me to brainstorm and list out tasks.
Frame Fabric For Unique Wall Art
If you want art but don’t like what you’re looking at for a cheap try instead going to your local fabric store. You can buy a yard or less of different fabrics, glue them in cheap-o dollar store frames and hang them on your wall.
They will provide a pop of color without costing you an arm and a leg to decorate your house. You can even switch out the fabric easy enough if you want to switch up your decor a little bit.
Use Pops Of Color
At Big Lots, Walmart, and Target you can find throw pillows for cheap. While our husbands may not always understand the purpose of throw pillows, we know that it’s for that extra pop of color.
They make our light grey couch less boring looking. Or, they create a focal point in the room so people aren’t seeing the wires that need to be fixed under the TV.
Get yourself some throw pillows in bright colors to add something a bit extra in your home. Add them to your living room, bedroom, kids room, and in an office.
Decorating Tips For Apartments
It is possible to turn a rental into a home. It just takes some creativity and hopefully an understanding landlord. Remember to add mirrors to a small apartment to make it look bigger, check those second hand places for great budget finds, and throw a pop of color in your rooms.
Always check your lease for any rules about nails, screws, hanging TV’s, and paint guidelines. If all else fails, check with your landlord before doing any of these things.
Do you have tricks for decorating a rental? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your home decor boards.
- How I Decorated My Living Room For Under $1000
- 15 Handmade Farmhouse Signs
- 13 Beautiful Beach Cottage Rooms
- 9 Super Easy Tips That’ll Make Your Entryway Gorgeous