How to Decorate a Rental Apartment After Moving In

Updated: May 10, 2021


If you live in a rental property, there’s a good chance you might feel stuck with décor features that are almost offensive in terms of aesthetics. Still, the poor choice of wallpapers or the 70’s shockers like the Avocado bathroom may not be the only reason why you feel the place desperately deserves a makeover. Unlike more permanent dwellings, rentals lack that cozy, lived-in vibe. And while it is, technically, your place of residence, it hardly feels like home. Therefore, if you’re dying to decorate your rental apartment after moving in and still get your deposit back, check out these renter-friendly tips we’ve rounded up for you.


Bring the outside in


Let’s begin with one of the easiest ways to decorate a rental apartment after moving in - greenery. Potted plants and flowers instantly breathe life into any plain space by adding splashes of delicate color. If you’re feeling bold, think about pots that could make an attractive design element to suit your living space.


Succulents, cacti, and air plants are extremely easy-to-handle, for example, so you may opt for purchasing those. And if you already own plants that you want to bring to your new home, perhaps it’s wiser to leave them out of the list of items you’re bringing with you than to think about how they will survive the move. Moving can come off as a shock to your delicate plants, especially if you’re moving long-distance. Therefore, consider giving them away and purchasing new ones for your next residence.

Treasure your possessions

Bringing in your own belongings is another simple route to sprucing up a rental place after moving in. They will immediately help you to feel more at home. Bring with you your favorite piece of furniture, wall art, small clutter items like key trays, picture frames, or lamps - anything that reminds you of home. Of course, you’ll need to make sure everything arrives in a top-notch condition to your new abode, so make sure to employ proper packing techniques to protect your belongings or have a trusted moving company to do the packing for you.

But declutter first

Clutter is hardly anyone’s “décor” of choice. If you’ve been moving and renting out new apartments every few years, you might be amazed at how much unnecessary clutter you’ve come to accumulate. Perhaps it is finally time to get rid of it. Decluttering will help you maximize storage space and make it easier to clean your new residence on your moving day. Also, while we’re on the subject of the moving day, it’s good to know that you can easily avoid stress with good preparation techniques, such as decluttering. Experienced movers and less amount of baggage are the keys to successful relocation.

Conceal unsightly floors

While it’s true that interior design is a matter of personal taste, outdated or damaged flooring is one of those cases where “ugly” is entirely undisputed. And if your landlord keeps ignoring the tell-tale signs that it has reached its expiration date, temporary flooring can be a renter’s best friend. Temporary flooring is easy to install and remove, budget-friendly, and made to last as long as permanently installed floors. On top of it all, it leaves no damage or residue whatsoever on your subfloor.

If you decide to give it a shot, your options range from carpet, vinyl, and laminate, all the way up to artificial grass. Use any of the versatile patterns, colors, and visuals available to jazz up any part of your home and make it cater to your taste.


Embellish the walls

Next, if the four off-white walls in your rental give off that sterile and uninviting vibe, an accent wall can warm things up a bit and add some personal flair.

  • Removable wallpaper: You can decorate a rental apartment after moving in with removable wallpaper. Manufacturers keep finding new ways to make the designs more stylish, versatile, and, on top of it all, affordable.

  • Wall decals: Wall decals deliver a wallpaper-y look and spice up your living space without having to drill any holes into the wall.

  • Washi tape: No wall decals? No problem. Jumping on the washi-wagon is another way to get rid of your rental’s current all-white aesthetics. A colorful washi tape graphic design will brighten up any room without chipping the paint or leaving residue on the walls.

If you just want to add some color, texture, and whimsy, embellish the white walls with some interesting wall art. Also, home-styling knows no limits, so don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Get creative with some whimsical paper fans or even some decorative baskets. All you need is an alternative way of hanging those. Command hooks and washi tape are the renter’s favorite secret weapons.

Deal with less-than-appealing cabinetry

Deal with ugly bathroom or kitchen cabinets by covering them with wallpaper, decorative tape, or contact paper. Moreover, these can disguise ugly appliances. So, if that stained-white, old fridge in your kitchen is too much of an eyesore, tape it over with glossy black (or white, again) contact paper.

Treat the windows

If you don’t like the current blinds or curtains, trade them for the ones you do like. It will make a substantial difference to the aesthetics of your living space. Bamboo blinds keep getting more popular because they’re cheap. Also, they soften the sunlight so beautifully and make your bedroom feel like a sunroom at the beach. You can use command hooks if you want to avoid adding new holes to the walls.

Upgrade the lighting

Start by upgrading the lighting by swapping out the existing fixtures for those more reflective of your personal style. There’s no need to rewire anything: simply unscrew and replace it with the one you’ve picked out. Something as simple as changing the bulbs for a more preferred temperature completely changes the look of the room. But why stop there? You can also swap out the old light switch plate for a new one. Lastly, try layering the light in your rental to achieve a more welcoming glow and a cozier atmosphere. Just add some lamps and position them at various heights.

Make it cozy

Are you going for that warm and cozy feel? After you’ve done away with that harsh overhead lighting and added the lamps and new blinds, you’re already halfway there. All you need to do now is add a few cozy pillows, area rugs, soft-fabric blankets, and throws, and boom - a sanctuary you will never want to leave!


Furniture arrangement is something else that will require your attention. Emphasizing convenience is key to functionality. So, you might want to think about the activities that take place in different areas of your new home and arrange your furniture accordingly. If you plan this out before the move, it will be much easier to navigate the furniture arrangement when the movers arrive with your stuff.

Change old hardware

If your apartment has builder-grade or outdated hardware, such as cabinetry pulls or doorknobs, a simple swap is a landlord-friendly way to upgrade your rental after you’ve moved in. This change is relatively inexpensive, small, and simple, but it will have a significant impact on your space.

The final word

Hopefully, we’ve managed to provide some inspiration for you to successfully decorate your rental apartment after moving in. Do note, however, that some landlords hardly like the idea of a renter rewiring things. For this reason, you should always check your rental agreement first, so you could be aware of what really shouldn’t be tampered with.

Photos used:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-plants-on-the-table-1005058/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-gray-shirt-and-blue-denim-jeans-holding-green-plant-4505464/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-young-couple-with-carton-boxes-in-new-apartment-4246042/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/couture-book-on-sofa-1421176/

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