Decorating a Rented Space

Thanks to high housing prices, increased urbanization, and frequently moving millennials, more Americans are opting to rent their living spaces than we have in a long time — since 1965, to be exact, the experts tell us. That means a lot of things, including flexibility and short walks to hip urban coffee shops. But it also means some decorating headaches.

There are a lot of reasons to buy your own home, and also plenty of reasons to rent, but let’s face it: homeowners have a distinct advantage when it comes to interior decorating. When a homeowner doesn’t like a paint color or a type of flooring, they can change those things—it’s their wall and it’s their floor, after all. But, as a renter, your options might be a whole lot more limited.

There are still ways to make your apartment better, of course. Here’s what you should know about decorating your apartment space.

Shape your space with furniture

As a renter, you may not be able to knock down walls or take on major remodeling projects, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make major changes to the shape of your room. The placement of large pieces of furniture determines the size and shape of the useable space in our living quarters to nearly as great a degree as do the walls themselves.

Think about the large pieces of furniture that you have in your space and how they are placed. Sure, some will have to go up against walls, but can you shift them around to create a sense of space or to improve the flow or utility of an area?

Focus on things like walking paths around your space. Directing traffic and eliminating dead ends can make your space feel better. And watch out for big pieces of furniture that crowd in near doors, creating a claustrophobic effect as you enter. Those should be moved away.

Deck the walls

You may or may not be able to control the color of paint in your rented space. But you can always control the things that you use to decorate those walls.

Classy wall hangings can elevate your space, but personalized ones can make a rented space feel more like a long-term home. You can combine the two by investing in high-quality canvas prints. Why not print a custom canvas of a beloved photograph and hang it in a prominent space on your wall?

Your options don’t end there, of course. You can add paintings, posters, tapestries, and more. Be mindful of the impressions that different types of wall hangings can create, and be sure to think about where and how high to hang them. Remember that wall hangings interact with furniture placements, too, so your customization options are endless.

Temporary investments that look permanent

As a renter, you probably can’t add a tile backsplash or new wallpaper to your space. Or can you?

While you may not be able to add “real” tile or wallpaper, temporary faux-tile backsplashes and temporary wallpaper are two great examples of the sorts of renter-friendly improvements you can make to a space that look, to the naked eye, as permanent as the “real” thing, In many cases, these solutions are just as functional. For all intents and purposes, then, you really can add a tile backsplash. You just have to use removable tile squares or adhesive-panels.

Work with your landlord

Communication is key. There are ways to work around limits to your power as a renter, but you may not have to. That tile backsplash or fresh coat of paint may be just what your landlord needs to make their space look more modern and maintained. So reach out and discuss potential improvements with your landlord. You may be pleasantly surprised by what they are willing to do.

While renters are limited to superficial renovations, there is still much that can be done to customize a space. Whether it’s attention to decor and design or temporary fixes like stick-on backsplashes, these small steps can help your rental feel more like your home. Also, it may be worthwhile to discuss renovations with your landlord, as chances are, if something is outdated, they might want to tackle the issue themselves to help maintain the property.

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