Decorating Your Rental: Do’s and Don’ts

If you’ve already locked down a rental and found roommates to live with, then congrats! The hard part is done. The next part can be pretty daunting if you’re not as prepared as you want to be: decorating your rental. Especially if this is your first off-campus living experience or away from your parents, decorating your rental is more than just re-using the same bed you’ve slept in since middle school.

You might be surprised to find out that the most basic appliances that you took advantage of while living with your parents, is actually a very crucial part of your rental that you don’t already have. Furthermore, rentals are a little bit different than owned homes when it comes to decorating. Especially since you don’t own the home yourself and you’re likely not going to live there as long as you would if you owned it. But don’t stress! I’ll cover what the Do’s and Don’ts are when it comes to decorating your rental.

DO check in with your landlord

Rules vary from place to place, and some rules are universal for rentals. It’s a good idea to check in with your landlord prior to moving in on what you can and can’t do with your new space, in order to avoid any potential conflicts. When you sign your lease, make sure to read ALL the terms and conditions! You want to make sure that you’re fully aware of the rules that it comes with. Plus, staying on good terms with your landlord is always advised. Even if you can’t paint your walls or drill large holes into your rental, you can still add warmth and color to your space with bright rugs, blankets, and throw pillows.

DON’T overcrowd a room

Rental spaces tend to be on the smaller size, so utilize what space you have wisely! It’s a good rule of thumb to always measure your living spaces to make sure that your existing and future furniture will actually fit in the space. You don’t want to have to get rid of your couch once you’ve realized you can’t actually get it through the door. Be considerate when picking out bulkier items that will live in your space – in the world of rentals, less is more. Sometimes we tend to get too excited to decorate our space that we feel the need to overdo the decorating by trying to crowd in random room furniture or hang up too many posters and like. And a well-thought out flow will feel and look more spacious in an already-cramped space. Overcrowding a cramped space will make it look even smaller than it already is!

DO be thrifty and crafty

apartment rental decorating thrifty crafty

Furnishing and decorating your rental can get pricey real quick. This is especially true if all the furniture you own belong in your bedroom, and now suddenly need kitchenware and a couch. Don’t be afraid to be thrifty! Your first apartment out of college does not need to look like it’s straight out of an IKEA catalog – and you can get really creative with all your furniture. Pinterest inspired DIY projects can be really fun – and adds a creative flair to your home. Decorating your rental doesn’t have to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars if you don’t want it to. BUT, do exercise some caution when scoring antique/free/used furniture… that free mattress could potentially have some unwanted bed bugs! Some things may be better bought new.

DON’T do anything too permanent

With anything that you rent, you’re expected to leave it in the same condition you received it. This applies to apartments as well! Apartments are great short term, but that also unfortunately means that you can’t do as much permanent decorating as you could with your own home. That includes tearing down a room, painting rooms, putting up wallpaper… anything that would be deemed as a no-no for apartments. Some places will even go as far as not letting you put any holes in the wall, so make sure you know where the line is for permanent decoration.

DO personalize your space

spacious apartment decor

Just because you’re living in a rental doesn’t mean you can’t personalize your space. Nothing makes a rental feel more like home than decorating it. Even if you decide that you want to move out after your lease is up, that shouldn’t deter you from making your rental more homey. Besides, you’ll be spending a lot of time there – might as well make it a place that feels like home. Bright colors, bold patterns, and fun decor gives your home a lived-in sense, and looks great for your Instagram handle ;). Let your personality and creative style show through with the pieces in your home that you so ~carefully~ crafted together!

DON’T forget to have fun!

Decorating your rental shouldn’t be a chore – you should be excited for it! You have more freedom to do what you like than if you were living at home with the parents or in the dorms. And a lot more space to turn it into your dream rental. Don’t be afraid to have fun and get creative!

Need some ideas for decorating your rental?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. There’s so many blogs, websites, and Pinterest boards full of inspiration to get you started on your decorating. It all depends on what your taste is! For fun DIY projects, head on over and check Pinterest’s DIY Home Decor ideas. Just want some ideas and inspiration to look at before you tackle decorating your apartment? Here’s some great examples for inspiration.