Interior Design Tricks for Renters

It’s always exciting to move. A pain yes, but once the bulk of the boxes have safely arrived in your new space, there’s a feeling of possibility that needs to be relished. What will this new home see you through in the months and years ahead? And how will you make this space your home?

This last question leads to how to go about decorating your rental unit. Figuring out the light and flow of the space and how you’ll make it your own through design is exciting but can be a conundrum.

For renters, there’s often a hesitancy to mark the walls whether with paint or nails to hang art (and sometimes per your lease it’s just not allowed). Here are some design tricks for renters so you too can have a fabulous space without all the commitment.

Temporary Wallpaper

decorating a rental

Image via House and Home

A stylish renter’s dream come true is temporary wallpaper, I say. That dramatic accent wall or quirky powder room can be yours, after all. This goes up like a sticker, comes down like a sticker, but can look like an exposed brick wall! Easy peasy. Montreal designer EazyWallz creates peel and sticks murals like the wall pictured, but you can also get custom murals printed. They are reusable and water and humidity-proof.

Displaying Art Without Holes in the Wall

how to decorate an apartment

Image via BHG

rental decorating

Large-scale art and mirrors look effortlessly chic propped against walls.

For smaller pieces, try grouping frames of art and photos together. Display with some stacking overlap either directly from the floor or from low-height furniture (really any surface works, but you risk them falling and breaking if they’re unsecured high up). I love the stacked look, which invites guests to leaf through your pieces, giving them more attention than they’d likely get hung on the wall.

Swapping out light fixtures

So many rental units simply don’t have great lighting. I get it; it’s easier to find something utilitarian that will ‘go’ with a range of design aesthetics. But swap out that bug death bed of a fixture for something special; you’ll be glad you did (carefully storing the original for replacement on move-out of course).

The Wonders of Washi Tape


Image via Homed It

If you’re a bit of a crafter or DIY-er, this idea may be for you. Create an accent wall without a drop of paint by using patterned or bold coloured washi tape. With the same consistency as painter’s or masking tape, there will be no damage to walls once your pattern comes down.

Washi tape is also fabulous for creating picture frames right on your walls.

Add Colour Through Furniture 

rental decor

Via Apartment Therapy

And if none of this is for you, but the white walls feel uninspired nonetheless, add colour by incorporating bright and bold furniture. You can paint inexpensive wood furniture you buy at vintage shops or IKEA or get pieces reupholstered.

Tried and true for pops of colour: toss around some throw pillows in stand-out patterns, cool materials, and bright hues.

Home Accessories

Displaying your treasures, big and small, is the last decorative element that makes a house a home. They’re like the jewelry to your fashion; they make a statement about who you are. They’re personal in a way wall colour can’t be. To edit your collection and display your favourite pieces.

Good luck settling in. Have fun personalizing your space!

Sabine Ghali
Sabine Ghali
Helping real estate investors build wealth over time

Sabine Ghali, Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, Award Winning Real Estate Broker and an Entrepreneur at heart. Sabine is on a mission to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Gulf News, among many others.