a renter’s guide to decorating

a renter's guide to decorating

I’ve been renting an apartment since I first moved away to college, and would consider myself quite comfortable with the quirks {+ work} that come along with making a rented property feel like my own.

Recently, I read Erin Gate’s book Elements of Style {which I highly recommend} and found myself both relating and learning from her “renter’s tips” she included in each chapter. Inspired by this interior designer/blogger extraordinaire, I’m sharing with you a few ways I go about decorating my “placeholder” pad. 

removable wallpaper

  • To hide any of those unfortunate looking walls, removable wallpaper is your best friend. I like the idea of picking a fun pattern {great, affordable options here} and blanketing one wall to add character to a larger space.



  • Floors get a lot of wear + tear, so in a renting situation, this always seems to be a problem area. From covering the unsightly carpeting in the living room, to the less-than-flattering title in the bathroom, a cute rug is an easy solution {& the bigger, the better}. I’m loving this patterned one or this faux fur option.


  • Lighting can effectively elevate a room + just because your place comes with some vanilla-looking ceiling fixtures doesn’t mean you need to stick with these. While you can hire help to swap out and install these pieces for the duration of your lease, plug-in fixtures are a hassle-free alternative to explore. I’m currently eyeing this chandelier to bring to my new place.


  • Hardware is actually one of those elements of a home I never even considered swapping out in my rental property. However, I learned from the pros that it can really take an outdated kitchen and turn-it around. I have an affinity for gold, but these knobs would look great in a kitchen or bathroom. {just don’t lose the pieces you switched out before your lease is up.}


  • Since I’ve been renting, storage seems to be a constant issue, so ottomans and trunks are my go-to, as they can double as seating, tables, and storage. Typically, I look to Craigslist for vintage versions of these, but this tufted option would be an easy choice.

images: 1/2/3/4/5/6

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    Living on Cloud Nine (@Livingoncloud_9)

    Beautiful ideas and beautiful blog! I followed you and adore following Chicago land bloggers as we are 2 hours east and get into the city every couple months. Hope you’re having a wonderful day!



      Thanks for the kind words! I paid a visit to your blog as well and love the beautiful layout. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

    Melissa Blake

    Awesome tips…just found your blog. So glad I did! 🙂

      WordPress.com Support

      So Glad you visited, Melissa!

    Laura (bright and beautiful)

    These are all great ideas! I especially love the tips for hardware and floor rugs – little changes can really make a big impact!

    xo, Laura


    Fab ideas and tips!

    Made in Mauve // Bloglovin

      WordPress.com Support

      Thanks! 🙂

    ~ Carmen ~

    Such awesome & relevant ideas. My favorite would be the use of rugs. We had horrid carpeting at my old apartment & the rugs hid some of the hideousness effectively. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲


      Carmen- I can totally relate! I currently have rugs everywhere, but they certainly do the trick!

    Katie Elizabeth

    So many great ideas here! We just spent the last 4.5 years renting and I wish I had implemented more of these — our place was always so blah to me. Loving those monogrammed towels!


      Thanks for stopping by, Katie! Agreed with the towels- I’ve got a new monogrammed set en route just in time for the new place 🙂