Living Room Reveal

7 Rental-Friendly Interior Design Hacks

I remember when I was 18 and moved out of my parents’ house for the first time. I was going to college and moving into a tiny shared bedroom in a tiny shared house with some friends, and frankly I was so thrilled at the prospect of independence and adventure that I didn’t mind that the house was in…less than great condition. I didn’t mind the weird shag carpet with holes nibbled in it by a previous tenant’s rabbit, the gap in the basement ceiling looking up at pipes and wires, weird paint colors (one particularly haunting streaky red door comes to mind), or the stark lack of furniture and natural lighting.

At first.

A few weeks later my roommates and I decided that we were going to make things nice, so we borrowed a couch, got some art, and found lots of lamps. We weren’t suddenly living at the Palace Hotel, but it was homey enough for a college apartment.

Since then I’ve come a long way in my rental-friendly redecorating skills, and I want to share my best tips and tricks with you!

Rental friendly interior design is important to me because I’m a huge believer in the power of interior design to make you happy. Too often we think that unless we own a home we can’t personalize our space, and I think that’s tragic. Everyone deserves to feel at home, so making a house a home in a rental feels much bigger than a simple penchant for style.

7 Rental Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Living Room Reveal with wildflower wallpaperRemovable Wallpaper

This is definitely not the easiest rental friendly interior design hack, so let’s get it out of the way first. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for wallpaper. There’s this archaic idea that wallpaper is a nightmare to deinstall, involving lots of steaming, stickiness, and scraping. Yuck. That used to be true, but now there are so many rental friendly wallpapers, so you can peel and stick to your heart’s content!

I’ve loved using Spoonflower wallpaper in my homes and offices, and you can find my favorite Spoonflower artists and designs here!

In my last apartment I really let my imagination run wild with wallpaper, and I loved how fresh and unique it made the space. Here are my tips and tricks for installing Spoonflower wallpaper (which I love!)

Brittany works on installing blue and white striped wallpaper with text that reads "how to install wallpaper yourself"Interior shot of a bedroom with blue and white striped wallpaper. There's a yellow headboard, green floral bedding, paper staghorn ferns, and wicker lamps.Brittany sits on bed in a room with pine-themed wallpaper. She's wearing a pink dress and holding a dark blue and green pillow, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

If you’re still looking for just the right wallpaper, check out this post I wrote about my other favorite places to buy it.

Upgrade Your Lighting

I can’t say enough how important good lighting is! Of course, lots of natural light is best, but it’s not always available. Don’t worry, though! There’s hope for you and it’s in the form of lamps!

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition posterJust like when I was in college, I still love adding light with lamps. You can always go to thrift stores and upgrade them with paint or new shades (or even make your own shades). I also put together some of my favorite lampshades on the market right now, so browse these!

On top of lamps, you can say “Let there be light” by upgrading your light fixtures. It might seem daunting, but it’s not too tricky and makes a huge difference. So many rentals are chock full of boob lights, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t want reminders to #FreeTheNip every time I look up. 🤷🏼‍♀️ If you’re with me on this, consider this your permission to change out your light fixtures and get a new lease on life.

Check out this DIY light fixture you can make to add whimsy and color to your space.

DIY lampshade in bright colors and funky shapes

Find a Statement Piece

Furnishing your rental with statement furniture can really elevate the space. Once you’ve found a piece that you love, plan the colors and design around it for a cohesive, beautiful look. (For bonus points, spot the light fixture I upgraded this room with)

Brittany adjusts pillows on a beautiful green sofa in a light-filled room

Couches, and rugsare my favorite kinds of statement furniture to base a room off. A few years ago I got a life-changing green sofa and I’ll never stop recommending that people add emphasis with colorful furniture.

Couches

Rugs

Plan a Color Story For Each Space

One of my favorite rental friendly interior design hacks is to make and stick to a color palette. Especially when it’s a space that you don’t own and you can’t control everything about, it’s easy for a space to look makeshift and haphazardly thrown together. With a color palette, though, you can go from scattered and “meh” to really fabulous. It takes some creativity and restraint, but it makes a huge difference.

a room with pine-themed wallpaper. There are pillows in dark blue, pink, green, and black, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

You can see I designed this room with a yellow, forest green, and deep blue color palette, and that there are little accents of pink throughout. Especially because the wallpaper is busy, having a solid (no pun intended) color palette really makes the room work.

Plants, Plants, Plants!

Houseplants and fresh flowers are a renter’s best friends. They bring (literal) life into your space and also freshen your air. Just remember to water and fertilize them and give them the right amount of light!

Here are some houseplants that you can buy online!

Mirror, Mirror

I’m such a huge believer in mirrors that I even wrote a whole post about why they’re essential in decor. And I’m sticking to my guns here! They make a space feel bigger and lighter, act as a focal point, and they’re a convenient way to make sure we’re walking out the front door looking great. You can find lots of my very favorite mirrors on the market in this post, and also check out this lovely Rattan mirror DIY here!

DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror

Add Art

Our print shop is chock full of incredible art that would seriously upgrade your home. I know I’ve loved having it in mine! Adding art to your rental friendly interior design plans is so easy, and my main tip is to use command strips. You and your security deposit will thank me later. 😉

Here’s a collection of some floral art prints to bring some everlasting blooms into your home, and you can also read about lots of the artists behind the Lars Print Shop here.

art prints by Julie Marabelle installed in a wallpapered roomAmanda Jane Jones holding up her prints from the Lars Print ShopDaffodil II print by Rachel SmithRental Living

I lived in a rental for years and years before we bought our house, and by the end of our time there we had made some significant upgrades. You can check out everything we did to that apartment here! Not everyone has the opportunity to do as much with a rental as we did, but I hope it inspires you to make your space your own.

I’d love to see what rental friendly interior design tips you have used! Show me your renting secrets at #LarsAtHome!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Articles

DIY Beaded Chandelier

The Inspiration You've probably seen this amazing bead chandelier before, as it has made its way around the internet (others found here and here and...

DIY Family Photo Heirloom Ornaments

Find the tutorial e-book here. I mentioned about a month ago that I sent in my 23andMe kit and that I was anxiously awaiting the...

Recent Articles

DIY Paper Hollyhocks

These DIY paper hollyhocks are part of my ongoing home upgrade. As I've mentioned before on the blog, I've been doing a lot of...

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there's no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you're...