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ikea PS 2017 blue sofa and red round ottoman in living room

Style Tips: Things to Consider when Decorating a Rental Home

I’ve rented a few homes in my time and I have to say that finding creative ways to decorate them is no easy feat.

I put a call out on Instagram last week asking you what your top decorating woes were and decorating a rental – especially taking potential moving into account – was one of the top issues. So here it is: my how-to guide on pimping out your rental pad (with furniture & decor ideas that will work even when you move onto your next home).

If you have any ideas or tips of your own I’d love for you to share them in the comments section below this post!

Things to Consider when Decorating a Rental Home

grey sofa from h&m with orange cushions and small red round side table on polished concrete floor

Choosing your living room Furniture

The living room (often a communal zone in a share house) can be the trickiest one to get right. My first tip when it comes to selecting your couch is to find one no larger than a two-seater and preferably without arms. This ensures that no matter what house you move onto, you’ll find a way to make it fit. If you’re after more ways to make a small living room feel larger, this post has you covered.

An armless sofa is also going to work wonders in a small area – which is what rental living rooms often are – because it’ll create the illusion of more space. Avoid chaise lounges, too, if possible; the home you move onto may not be able to take its fixed dimensions.

If you’re keen on having arms on your sofa, look to slim arms like on the piece above from H&M.

top 3 by design Aveva Coffee table alternative bedside table ideas on the life creative

Coffee Table and Hanging Art

Ditch your dreams (for now) of a grand coffee table. When it comes to decorating a rental home, your best bet is to choose small coffee tables (or even side tables) and cluster a few together to create a versatile piece of furniture that, should you move on, can be used for a variety of purposes in just about any room. 

Any renter who loves to decorate will understand the dilemma when it comes to hanging wall art. 3M hooks are fabulous, but if you have really heavy items, try leaning them against the wall. I do this in my own space with art and it can look pretty lovely. 

IKEA living room - Rental Decorating

Versatile Storage Solutions

Versatility is key with all of your pieces when you’re decking out your rental home. When it comes to shelving and storage, buy multiple slimline shelves to create a large storage system. If you move house, you can split the shelves up around your home where needed.

Buying a large shelf is going to end in grief should you move and can’t find a space to fit it. Also consider pieces that can turn on their side. I have an IKEA shelf that works both vertical and horizontal in my space and I’ve used it in multiple ways across the homes I’ve rented – and it looks great regardless of which way you use it.

The above photo is actually from IKEA and you can see how easy it is to pack multiple small shelves together to create one big shelving system.

Versatile Chairs - Rental Decorating

Stackable Furniture

There are some nifty, stackable stools on the market that I would also recommend you get your hands on. This idea is great when you’re entertaining guests and can be put away with ease when you’re at home alone.

When it comes to decorating a rental home, space can often be an issue. Especially in shared units or apartments. So any ideas that save room are good ones. The stools above are amazing because they double as side tables if you flip the top over.

Under Bed Storage - Rental Decorating

In the Bedroom

Your bedroom is another zone worth thinking about when decorating a rental home. And I’ve had some small ones to work with in my time. I’d always suggest a bedside table that’s slimline, even if the current space could take a larger one. If the area around the bedside needs something else, pop an affordable floor lamp there. 

You might move onto a home that has no built-in cupboard or wardrobes. With this in mind, steer away from an ensemble bed if you can. Under-bed storage is a great way to capitalise on space. If you are on the market for a bed and you’re renting, opt for a base that’s not too cumbersome and with a bedhead that’s not too high or embellished. You might end up in a room with a low window and the bedhead may obstruct your view!

Feature Wall Ideas - Wall Decal

Additional tips for Decorating a Rental Home:

  • Rugs are super versatile, so grab some affordable ones to liven up your rental rooms. If you stick to a standard size you can take them anywhere (avoid custom-made with irregular measurements).
  • Let your homewares be your wow moments in the space. You never know what colour carpet, floorboard or walls your next rental home may have, so stick to neutral furniture and drizzle them with colourful accessories you can change-up when you move.
  • If you’re in a long-term rental but want to ensure you get your bond back, wall decals are a fantastic way to transform your space without leaving permanent damage. There are versions on the market that look and feel just like wallpaper (and remove easily, too!).

When it comes to decorating a rental home, what are some of the things that have worked for you? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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