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Decorating Your Rental Home

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Decorating a rental home can be tricky to navigate. Landlords are often tentative about the idea of any permanent changes to their investment. Moreover, they’re aware that your personal tastes may not necessarily be the same as that of any potential new tenants at the end of your lease. This is understandable. After all, most landlords want to ensure that their properties remain as neutral as possible, to retain mass appeal. They also fear botched DIY from tenants may require costly repairs when they move out. So, with this in mind, you might be thinking that your hopes of decorating your rental home (while also keeping your deposit) might be too much to ask.

This isn’t the case. There are plenty of ways that you can add your own personal touch to decorating your rental home without affecting how much money you get back when your tenancy is over. Here are our picks of the best.

How to decorate your rented room

  1. Speak to your landlord
  2. Get the right furniture
  3. Use houseplants
  4. Think about lighting
  5. Add artwork
  6. Get a mirror
  7. Bold bed linen
  8. Take advantage of bookshelves

Speak to your landlord first

Before we get into the ideas of how you could decorate your rental home, it’s worth pointing out that not all landlords are created equal. Moreover, landlords can get a bad reputation which might make you nervous about any changes you make to their property.

The best place to start with any decorating plans is to have a friendly conversation with your landlord, explain your intentions to decorating the rental home and understand any rules or guidance that they have. You might find that your landlord is perfectly understanding and is more than happy for you to give your home a fresh coat of paint.

Some landlords will only want painting and decorating to be done by a professional to ensure the best quality, which they’ll likely expect you to pay for. Others may simply see your intention to decorate as a commitment to their property which means they’ll not have to worry about finding new tenants for quite some time.

Most commonly, a landlord will be happy with any non-permanent changes which is what we’ll focus on here.

Furniture makes all the difference

If you’re renting an unfurnished property, you can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your property simply by changing the furniture within it. This can be a costly venture though, so be sure to plan ahead and understand the type of aesthetic you’re looking for before shopping around for the best deals.

Sofas, armchairs, wardrobes and cabinets can all dramatically impact how a room appears. A trip to IKEA is a great way to get inspiration for the new look of your home and will help you identify key items to give your room that unique touch. If you’re fed up with the neutral tones on your walls, try shopping for statement pieces which add a splash of colour to bring out your personality.

If you’re not looking to fork out on a new sofa or kitchen table, consider vibrant soft furnishings like cushions, throws or curtains.

Rugs are another statement piece which can lift a room from dull to decadent. You can pay as much or as little for a rug as you like, so shop around. When buying a rug that adds vibrancy to your room, be sure to consider the room as a whole so you purchase a piece that fits with your other furnishings.

Breathe life into your home with houseplants

Houseplants are an underrated interior design tool that can dramatically improve the appeal of your home. Pops of natural colour can invigorate tired rooms while also giving your home a more welcoming feel. With modern devices and electrical equipment dominating much of our homes, the introduction of plants can do more than just improve the appearance of a room, they can boost our general wellbeing too.

As houseplants grow in popularity, you’ll be able to find some unique and attractive options without having to break the bank. Be sure to do your research though, each plant requires a different level of maintenance, you only want to commit to plants which suit your lifestyle.

Think about lighting

The right lighting can change the entire dynamic of a room. Consider purchasing a statement floor lamp which illuminates the room in a subtle amber ambience. Alternatively, soft hued table top lamps can give bedrooms a calming feel ideal for evenings spent reading.

Lampshades, lightbulb colours and fixture designs can all have an impact on the appearance of a room. Think outside of the box and don’t overlook the importance of your lighting choices. 

Don’t rule out adding artwork and pictures to your walls

Many tenants shy away from the idea of adding any artwork or pictures to their walls. These touches are often some of the most important for personalising a space, but they fear their landlord’s wrath on inspection day

Worry not! You don’t need to hammer nail after nail into your landlord’s perfectly painted walls. There are plenty of hanging options out there which are designed just for this purpose. Often these will come as double sided strips which are designed to hold up your artwork and family pictures without damaging the paintwork. We do recommend avoiding the cheaper options on sale as they may not be as well-equipped to do the job.

Now that you’ve found a solution for hanging your artwork and pictures, we recommend showing your true personality. Find artwork which says something about yourself, suits your decor and makes your property truly feel like your home. Additionally, why not keep a wall as a mini-gallery to display your cherished photos of friends and family?

Consider a mirror

It’s well known that adding a mirror to a room makes it feel lighter and larger. Mirrors don’t need to be simple and boring though. There are plenty of designs available which can give a touch of flair too.

Industrial style mirrors with tarnished copper or silver style borders are increasing in popularity. If you’re more interested in colour, this can be another option to incorporate into your home’s design. Mirrors don’t always come cheap but they can have a dramatic difference if used correctly.

Go bold with bed linen

If you’re stuck for ideas as to how to add style to your bedroom, bed linen is one of the easiest changes to make. Consider opting for bold colours and designs which stand out against a neutral backdrop. Bed linen can be further accessorised with vibrant cushions, throws and rugs.

Use bookshelves for more than just books

A bookshelf is an attractive feature in any room, showing off your taste in literature while giving depth to a room. However, you don’t just need to use your bookshelf for books. Think about any ornaments, accessories or artwork that can take your bookshelf from an afterthought to a statement piece in your room.

Think of your bookshelf as an opportunity to get creative and give a room some real charisma. Try different arrangements of literature, consider adding some visually striking crockery or even purchase some magazines to give it a contemporary feel. This is your space and it’s easy to rearrange based on your tastes, so have a play with a few different options.


Last Updated: August 22nd, 2023