How to Decorate a Rental Home

It can be tricky when you’re home is rented and you don’t have total control over how it can be decorated. It’s also likely you don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on it.

There are ways to get a really stylish look to your rental home without spending much money, nor causing any long term damage that has to be rectified later.

The key is to know your limits, have a scheme in mind and do some research.

Here are some tips to get you started down the road of creating an amazingly decorated rental home.

Find Out What You Can and Can’t Do

The first step is fairly simple but often overlooked by renters. Actually having the rules in writing is very important so that when it comes to moving out you are not left wondering whether you’re in the right or wrong.

Make sure you know if you can put things on the walls, if you can paint, if you can change curtains (more on that later).

However, even if you are allowed to do some things, such as put nails in the wall for a picture, it doesn’t mean you should. Make sure you also know what state the landlord expects the property to be left in.

If you’re swapping existing fittings, such as lampshades, for your own make sure you keep the old ones to put back when you move out.

It’s best to meet your landlord and get a feel for how they might react to anything you want to do before you ask them.

Plan Your Style

Don’t simply go out and start picking up things you like and cramming them into your rental home in the hope it will look better. Make a plan of how you want it to look in advance.

This might be about picking a certain style, such as mid-century modern, minimalist or farmhouse.

Just be sure you are choosing any furniture, accessories, soft furnishings with a certain look in mind so that it will all work well together. This is especially important with colours.

Pick Some Strategic Investment Furniture

Your rental may come furnished, or it may be completely empty. If you know you are going to be renting for a long period of time it may be worth investing in some good quality furniture that has an evergreen look. By that, I mean that you will like the look of it in a year’s time, 5 year’s time, etc.

Just one or two pieces per room can make a huge difference to the feel of the room generally, and also to you personally. Owning your furniture is a big thing! It makes a rental feel so much more like a home.

Make sure these pieces of furniture fit in with the look you are going for.

Add Some Strategic Accessories


Rugs are a great way to add your own style to a room without having to worry about the existing floor. They can be used on any kind of floor, but if it is a wooden or tiles floor you might need an anti-slip mat underneath.

Be bold and pick something you adore. You’ll be able to take this with you if you move out so think of it as an investment, like the key pieces of furniture earlier.


Artwork can really transform a space and with rentals it is often a good idea to go big. A large piece of artwork can be leaned up against a wall instead of having to be hung.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive work of art, you can get a digital image enlarged and out it in a cheap frame. You could even buy a large canvas and create your own masterpiece!

If you do want to put artwork, photos, etc on the walls then use command hooks which will not leave a mark. You could also use coloured washi tape to stick posters up for a more stylish look than blue tac, and it’s more gentle to the walls!


Light can work wonders to change the feel of a space and there is plenty you can do in a rental home without changing the existing lights!

You can use a combination of table lamps, floor lamps and fairy lights to light your rental home in just the way you want.

You can even make changes to the existing lights by using different wattage bulbs or swapping a light shade for something that fits your scheme.

Soft Furnishings

Now, this is where you can add some real injections of colour if you want! A few cushions, pillows and throws can really transform a space.

Another thing you can do is swap out the curtains for something you’re much more happy with. You can take them with you when you move out, just keep the old ones somewhere!

You could get a sofa cover fitted if you need to do something with a hideous sofa that came with the rental.

Changing Fittings

There are some fixtures and fitting that you should be able to change for something better while you live in your rental home without causing any damage. All you need to do is keep the old ones to put back when you leave.

  • Kitchen cabinet handles can be unscrewed and new ones, the same size, fitted in their place.
  • Light fittings can be changed by an electrician.
  • Door handles can be changed.
  • Feet on sofas or armchairs can be changed.

Don’t assume that you are stuck with everything a rental comes with. This all starts to make sense if you know you will be there for a long time.

Display Books and Gorgeous Items

A bookshelf might just be your most important purchase for a rental home. You can get something really simple, such as an Ikea Billy bookcase and use books and stylish accessories to decorate it.

It will create a large, well designed and curated display that will have a big impact on a space.

Using books as decoration is a great design trick. You can arrange them in colour co-ordination, get some really old books for an antique look or find some second-hand coffee table books for an instant ideal home style, dressed bookcase.

Get Some Plants

Plants always make a room feel happier, healthier and more vibrant. You can start small with some easy-to-care-for cacti or go big with a bird of paradise.

With a bit of patience (and a handy YouTube video) you could use cuttings from your plants to create more and have a garden of eden in no time.

Again, plants are going to be something you can take with you when you leave. You’ll be so pleased you started a collection of plants early on when you’ve got to a point where you have a large array of mature plants.

It doesn’t have to be difficult to create the home of your dreams in a rental property. Just a bit of planning and some creative solutions can help you make your rental feel like your own home.

Don’t be afraid to swap out some fixtures. It might be best to let your landlord know what you would like to do and what you will do to make sure it will go back as it was when you leave.

This might be a rental, but it is your home for now and you want it to feel right!