How to freshen up your rented apartment (without redecorating)

Wondering how to creatively decorate a rented apartment in a way that it looks fresh and stylish too? These tips will help you out...

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So you’ve chosen the perfect apartment to rent and you’re packing up your things in preparation of moving into your new home. While moving may seem like a stressful experience, you can restore your drained energy by planning the home décor of your new apartment beforehand. Get on Pinterest and make a ‘new apartment’ inspiration board. Doing this will help you visualise how all furniture items and accessories should be placed according to the new floor plan. Here are some essentials to consider when decorating your new rented home:


It’ll take a while before you can find a place for all your belongings, especially if your new apartment has less built-in storage than your previous home. Storage is necessary keeping your home look clutter-free and neat, so having somewhere to stash away your items will help you settle into your new house much faster. Choose beautifully designed storage items that actually enhance the overall appeal of an apartment, such as using baskets as storage items. Baskets don’t only hide clutter, they also add texture. Instead of dumping extra toys and gadgets under the bed, it’s a great idea to choose baskets of different styles, colours and shapes to keep them neat and easily accessible.


If you’re looking for durable furniture that’ll suit your next home too, wooden pieces should be your furniture of your choice. You can dress up a natural wood table with dining chairs in bright colours and add vibrant storage boxes to your wooden desk to bring a touch of your own personality into the apartment. I think of wood as a ‘neutral’, which can be adapted to any future home decor so, it’s a good idea to invest in something you’ll know you’ll be able to use for any years to come, no matter where you move to. 


While you might not be able to change the light fittings on the ceiling or walls of your rented home, you CAN add lamps and LED lights. Nothing beats the glowing ambience created by pools of light from floor-standing lights or table lamps. While serving the purpose of functional décor, electric lanterns add a traditional touch to the interior of any apartment and can create that cosy glow in the evenings.


Why choose wallpapers when you can spruce up your bedroom with a curtain that makes your wall look bright and colourful, yet elegant? Most landlords won’t allow you to decorate with wallpaper but that doesn’t meant you can’t add a splash of colour to your home. To get the look, get a curtain designed with silk. If your bedroom is decorated with light hues, as many rented homes are, all it needs is a dominant curtain in a contrasting colour to provide a focal point. To get the perfect mix-and-match, bring in bright accessories in coordinating colours (such as lamps, cushions, throws etc) to decorate the room.


No matter how small your city centre apartment is, mirrors can make the space feel bigger. And when it’s about changing the look of a compact living room, a miniature bathroom or a cosy bedroom, nothing works better than mirrors! Prop up mirrors on sideboards – or even on the floor – to save you needing to drill into walls. Not sure how to incorporate this style into your tiny kitchen though? It can be done! You don’t just have to mount mirrors on the wall, you choose appliances with reflective surfaces. A chrome kettle will brighten up the worktop and a shiny reflective microwave door mimics a mirror. This will help to bounce light around the room, subtly creating the appearance of a bigger kitchen.


A bookshelf can say a thousand words about you, but who knew it could be considered a home décor item? You can arrange your books by following a specific colour code to bring a rainbow into your home. Place books with the lightest (or similar) colours on the top shelf and work your way from bright colours to darker colours as you place the remaining books on the second and third shelves. Now, stand back and look at the pattern – doesn’t it look pleasing to the eyes?

Let me know if you have any other tips for decorating your rented apartment in the comments below – I’d love to hear how you’ve made it your own.


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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