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How to Decorate a Rented House

May 15, 2018

For many, renting a temporary living space can seem impersonal and limiting, especially if it is your first time living away from your family home and you want to move in and immediately make your mark to establish your style. Before you set a budget and crack open the paint, there are many ways you can decorate a rented house without getting on the wrong side of your landlord.

First, establish the boundaries

Some landlords have very strict decorating rules and wouldn’t want you hammering nails in the walls, let alone changing the colour of a room. However, there are a lot of landlords who are open to the idea of some interior decorating because, let’s face it, you would be doing them a favour and likely raising the value of their property in terms of visual appeal - so the first thing you should do is ask what your options are.

The lights

Often the most underestimated of interior design elements, lighting can have a huge impact on your home for many reasons. Not only can it bring together a style you gravitate towards like this vintage lampshade design, but it also helps your colour choices and textures really pop.


Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri, stars of the TV show 'Kitchen Cousins', said in an interview with Popsugar, “Focus on the lighting. We go into a lot of homes where people don’t realize the impact that lighting has. Although important, a lot of people might focus solely on changing the hardware, but truly how many people will notice that? It's the lighting that sets the tone. Hanging two fixtures over an island can make a huge impact without costing a lot of money. And the best part is that you can take them from place to place.”


For a more Scandinavian modern look, Ikea is a perfect place to look for smart, simplistic designs.

stair lights

The scent

Another underrated addition to your home is scent. Scientifically, scent plays a big part in storing memories - like the way that the smell of cotton candy might remind you of the circus, or a certain perfume might remind you of a loved one.

Whether your signature scent would be pina colada or peppermint, finding an aroma that will forever remind you of your home is not only comforting, but you can take it with you wherever your home will be. For amazing handmade soy candles, The Botanical Candle Co is perfect for extra special creations by a eco friendly, independent business made from scratch.

red tinted candle on table


Adding your personal touch can be a great way of establishing your style without breaking the bank and you’ll leave with your security deposit when it is time to move on. For Insta-worthy discoveries, you need to check out Rose and Grey. Featuring quirky home goods and guaranteeing you’ll always be on trend, it is a one stop shop for all things home, like this gorgeous botanical pillow.


Another good idea is to add artificial flowers and plants to your decor - not only do they look great and you can mix and match colourful bouquets and greenery, but they don’t require the upkeep of living plants and you won’t have to replace them every couple of weeks.

red and peach roses

The floors

Regardless of whether you are renting or buying, there are many reasons why you might want to accessorise your floors. Sometimes it’s due to an unfortunately coloured carpet or ‘just because’, rugs can add some much needed aesthetic but they can also have a practical use because they dampen sound, which is very useful when you’re dealing with older floors that creak.


Ikea is a great place to look for affordable, simplistic rugs in a variety of colours and types. This chic low pile rug means that the fibers are shorter (easier to clean) and still gives you that soft carpet feeling under foot.


If you often have people over, another way to bring some style to your floors are to make use of floor pillows like this stylish addition from Aldi.

modern black sofa

The walls

Once you have established boundaries with your landlord, you can start having some fun. If you know you can paint your walls, it’s usually best to stick with white or other neutral colours. This is not only because it’s likely your landlord will prefer it, but vivid and bright colours might be attractive initially, but will wear you down after a while. Great for Instagram, bad for your eyes.


Another good idea is to hang artwork that reflects your personality. Although your wall’s colour might be on the plainer side, a good tip is to add injections of colour through art that packs a punch without being permanent. For stunning prints check out Hilary and Flo, who have some amazing pieces that will impress your friends without a hefty price tag.


These non-invasive hanging strips allow you to place your art on your walls without causing damage, making it a definite renter essential.

artistic posters on a wall

In conclusion, renting a house can seem limiting initially, but with the right decor and interior elements, you can turn anywhere into a home. First, make sure that you know what you can and can’t do, then tackle the easiest things like choosing table lamps and candles then, when you are ready, you can move onto making decisions about the bigger projects like choosing the colour for your walls and hanging artwork.