Rental living has a lot of perks, but one aspect that can seem like a downside is the restriction on personalization. One of the best parts of having your own space is getting to make it your own, but often when renting an apartment or house you are limited to what you can change in it. Fortunately, the limitations set by your landlord don’t have to limit you from having a stylish space that reflects you.
Renting may make customization a little more challenging, but some of the most creative things ever made were done so under tight restrictions. In fact, sometimes the results can be even better when you don’t have endless options to get overwhelmed by.
There are lots of ways you can decorate an apartment or other leased space without having to paint the walls or tear out those funky colored tiles in the bathroom. With a few apartment decorating tips and tricks, you can put your stamp on it and make it a space that is a reflection of your personality. And you don’t even have to spend a lot of money to do it.
Here are 10 apartment decorating ideas that are landlord-approved.
Apartment Decorating Ideas
1 Use accessories and fabrics to fill a room with your personal taste and liven up a dull space. Curtains, slipcovers and pillows are available in so many colors and patterns. They are a wonderful opportunity to add your special touch to an undistinguished room. You can easily switch them out, too, whenever you want to change up the space. Once you’ve chosen them, bring in coordinating accessories to complete the look.
2 Hang a large mirror. Mirrors are especially great in small spaces because they reflect light and make rooms appear larger. It’s like adding another window to the room. Depending on the frame or style of glass that you choose, they can also provide some character.
3 Layer area rugs over carpets. Yes – you can do this! This is a great way to define each space, bring in color without painting, and add texture to a room. They’re also perfect for covering up not-so-fabulous flooring. For example: If the carpet is a bright color, tone it down with a neutral area rug. If everything is neutral and you want to add some color, layer a colorful area rug over it.
4 Use furniture that has hidden storage space. Storage ottomans are a stylish way to store linens, towels and other items when cabinet space is lacking. Besides being another chance to bring in color, they also provide extra seating when you have guests and are easy to move around so you can put them where you need them.
5 Work with the vintage charm rather than fight against it. Older buildings are very charming, but can pose many decorating challenges. A common feature found in them are colorful tiles in the bathroom. Paint the walls a neutral color (if they aren’t already and you’re allowed) and let the tiles be the star of the show. Then, add some updated accessories. When it’s done, you may even find yourself falling in love with the tiles.
6 If you can’t paint the walls, paint the furniture. Adding a beautiful color to your furniture can add just as much punch to a space as a new color on the walls. To give an older piece of furniture a more contemporary vibe, use high-gloss paint. You can also go bold with a colorful sofa or armchair.
7 Add some glamour with a wall of drapes and turn an ordinary bedroom into a luxurious retreat. Hanging layers of drapery behind your bed is a beautiful way to bring color, pattern, and texture to a plain room. It can also be used to give the illusion that a small window is much larger than it really is or to balance out windows that have an awkward placement. Check out my tips on hanging curtains.
8 Hang peel-away wallpaper or decals. Ordinary wallpaper is a definite no-no for many landlords. But you can still make a statement with splashy walls by using removable wallcoverings and decorative decals that go on your walls like a sticker and come off just as easily. Check out this post from Apartment Therapy for a list of companies that make a variety of removable wallpapers. Or create a custom collage on removable wallpaper using your own photos.
9 Take advantage of coveted outdoor spaces. Even a small balcony is an opportunity to create a cozy sitting area. A nice bench, a couple of rugs and some colorful pillows will transform this space. And don’t forget the greenery – this is the perfect place for live plants. To make it feel even more like an actual room, layer an outdoor area rug and hang some outdoor curtains (which also do a great job of providing privacy and shade).
10 Mix the new with the new-to-you. Even if you’re decorating on a shoe-string budget or setting up temporary housing, you can still apply creative flair to your space. Things don’t always have to be lavish and new to be fabulous. Blending second-hand items with new purchases help to give a space character. Shop those thrift stores, garage sales and second-hand stores for items that, with a little paint and elbow grease, can become one-of-a-kind treasures.
With a little imagination and a few apartment decorating tricks, it’s totally possible to express your personality in your home’s decor regardless of challenges. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re renting it or you own it – as long as you “own” your style.
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