How to decorate a rental property without annoying your landlord

Door opening into space
Door opening into space (Image credit: Shutterstock)

When you’re renting an apartment or home, it can be a little tricky when it comes to decorating in the style that you want. Some landlords are quite laid back about what you can do inside the property, while others have a long, drawn out lease agreement of what you can’t do (no purple walls, no drilling, no new flooring). 

In any case, you’ll want to know how to decorate a rental property without annoying your landlord. Here's how to transform your rental space with these six easy steps, that won’t risk your deposit.

If your room lacks natural light, you'll need to read how to brighten a dark room for top tips and tricks or how to clean painted walls to remove stains in no time. And here are the 9 things organized people keep in their kitchen.

1. Spruce up floors with a statement rug 

Blue rug in middle of living room floor

Blue rug in middle of living room floor (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’ve moved into a place that comes with worn carpet, dull wooden flooring or cheap linoleum, a statement rug can make all the difference. Soft rugs can add that comfy feel and warmth, so choose one that incorporates your favorite patterns or colors to reflect your personality. When choosing a statement rug, bear in mind the dimensions of your space and furniture layout. Most prefer their rugs in the center of the room or placed just under sofas. For smaller spaces, a circular shaped rug would be more suitable. 

2.  Stylish lighting and fixtures

Smart lighting in living room

Smart lighting in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

You may not be able to do a great deal of DIY, but there are simple things you can change like ceiling light pendants or striking lamps. The use of soft lighting can change moods, and make a room feel cozy. There are so many different styles on the market, from loft-style/industrial designs to the glamorous chandelier, choose one to suit your interior style. 

LED lighting, strip lights and smart light bulbs are a great way to illuminate display cabinets and show off bookshelves. In addition, positioning LED spotlight lamps towards walls or the ceiling is a great way to get rid of unwanted shadows.  If you really want to be on top form, you can check out the best TikTok lights for more inspiration.

Gallery wall in living room

Gallery wall in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re tired of staring at the cold, bare walls, add colorful art, photography or unique mirrors to lift up the space. If your landlord is likely to throw a fit over drilling holes into the walls, you can use damage-free, picture hanging strips. This Command picture hanging kit  ($28.99 on Amazon) literally sticks to any surface,  leaving no marks and easily removable if you ever decide to move. If you do ever come across the inevitable mark on your painted walls though, this is how to clean painted walls to remove stains in no time.  

4.  Upcycle old furniture to look brand new

Painting old furniture

Painting old furniture (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If your agreement doesn’t allow to repaint the walls, you can still give your furniture a grand makeover with a fresh coat of paint. Whether it’s a coffee table, wooden chairs or even just painting furniture legs a bold color, a new coat of paint will brighten up the space. Obviously, this only applies if the furniture belongs to you and not the landlord. 

5.  Bring the outdoors in with plants

Plants in living room

Plants in living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

For those renting an apartment and have no access to a garden, why not bring the outdoors in? Huge botanicals, tropical plants and  palms can be a nice feature, adding a touch of color to the room. Just check on the specific care conditions of the plant, as you don’t want to kill them off. 

6.  Stylish home accessories and soft furnishings

Cozy living room

Cozy living room (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Eye-catching, home accessories can really add character to a plain space. Whether you’re a collector of vintage items or fan of comic books, displaying these in strategic places work well to personalize a space. Stylish storage baskets, plush cushions, pillows and soft throws are also great for creating that cosy ambiance. 

Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!