Just because you don’t own a home, doesn’t mean that you don’t want the place that you rent to feel like a home. People need to feel happy and relaxed where they sleep, eat, and spend most of the time. The sad truth is that most rentals are fixer-uppers. That doesn’t have to stop you! Continue reading to discover the best tips and tricks on decorating a rented apartment, while making sure you get that deposit back.

We’ve all very familiar with the fact that millennials rarely buy homes. It’s become a sort of an American dream for us. Our jobs and the cost of literally everything – from food to rent, let alone real estate, means that an average young person is highly unlikely to be able to be a homeowner. On the other hand, the job market nowadays doesn’t keep us tied to one place and one office like several decades ago, and this leads to people changing homes more often than before. The logical solution for most of us are living in rental apartments. 

Now, just because we can’t afford to buy a home, doesn’t mean we don’t want the place we rent to feel like a home to us. People need to feel happy and relaxed where they sleep, eat, and spend most of the time. The sad truth is that most rentals are fixer-uppers. That doesn’t have to stop any of us! Continue reading to discover the best tips and tricks on decorating a rented apartment, while making sure you get that deposit back.

Different textures and colors in an apartment
Get creative with colors and textures

But, before decorating a rented apartment…

First things first – you need an apartment, to begin with. This can be a tricky business, especially if you’re still studying. Check out our tips on where to move as a student. New York is one of the most popular options, primarily because of good universities, but also because it’s one of the centers of culture and art. If you’re into NYC, read how to find a place there.

When you move into an apartment, it must mean you liked something about it. It might be the size, the location, or, most probably, the price. If you’ve ever moved before, you know how much stress there is. The packing, the organization, the calculations, all that plus finding a place. Prior to moving, it’s always best to consult and hire a professional.

Other than that, there’s also a question of where to store your belongings until they are ready to use. Sometimes there’s a gap period between moving out and moving into a new apartment when you can’t drag your stuff around while crashing somewhere. That’s where Castle Self Storage saves the day, where you can rent your own storage space without further worrying.

After all, that, when you’ve moved and decided things need to be changed to fit your taste, it’s time for the fun part.

Where to begin?

This is probably the most cliche answer, but, from the beginning. Of course, it all depends on what you’d like to change about the apartment, but generally, you need a basis for everything else.

Decorating a rented apartment with a vibrant wall
Decorating a rented apartment with an accent wall

When decorating a rented apartment, think about starting from the walls. Some tenants have problems here because the landlord won’t allow repainting, but you could offer to turn it back to the initial color prior to moving out. If it’s a smaller place, you should go with bright colors such as white, but feel free to use yellow too – it’ll be like your personal sunshine!

What you could also do is choose an accent wall and opt for a strong color – think purple, navy, or green.

On the other hand, if the landlord won’t allow repainting, don’t think it’s the end of the world. Instead, bring out your creative side. Nowadays you can buy cheap wallpaper which is easily removed once you have to get out. There are virtually hundreds of colors and patterns to choose and decide what to do with them. You can cover the entire wall, or more; you could also get some frames of a different size and hang the wallpaper to make the accent wall. Check out some other ideas on how to make changes after moving to a new place.

A little goes a long way

If you don’t like the old blinds or windows, colorful, long drapes will do the trick. Also, the lack of light is a common problem, so try decorating a rented apartment with lamps, which is killing two birds with one stone. Make sure you get dimmers so that the strength can be adjusted according to the atmosphere and the time of day. Another option is mirrors – they create the illusion of a larger space while reflecting the light and colors.

Paint isn’t just for the walls

A little paint goes a long way. Here are some ideas on what you can freshen up with some paint:

  • Furniture legs
  • Kitchen and bathroom cabinets
  • Doorknobs – try decorating a rented apartment with bold options such as black or gold knobs
  • Tables and chairs
  • Doors and the wardrobe


If you’re still not completely content, or you want to add some extra vibrancy, go for art. It doesn’t have to be hung on the wall, though. Placing a bunch of framed prints or photos on a shelf, the end of a table, or even on the floor will make the place chic instantly.

Hang some adhesive hooks for a no-drill option to hang pictures, or even string lights for some extra atmosphere in the evening. Speaking of string lights, try hanging them on the headboard for a cheap and effective bedroom upgrade.

Floors can be instantly changed with colorful rugs. Don’t be afraid to use them even if there’s a wall-to-wall carpet underneath!

Woven baskets next to a couch
Woven baskets are a clever and stylish storage solution

If you lack storage, consider using woven baskets or their DIY version. Simply glue some rope around a cardboard box and put a colorful fabric inside. You can use them to store towels, toiletries, even makeup or shoes!

Last but not least – even if you don’t make a single change to the place, go for plants. It’s healthy and enhances productivity while being pretty. If you can’t commit – there are plenty of fake ones that look real and need no water.

In conclusion, decorating a rented apartment doesn’t have to be expensive or hard work. All you need is imagination and a little DIY magic.



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