No Brainer Design Ideas that Won’t Ruin Your Rental

Shannon Quinn - November 6, 2022
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Organizing your home can simultaneously elevate the style of the space, even if it’s a rental. Credit: Shutterstock

 Get Organized 

Most of you out there are looking for “design” hacks. But if your home is cluttered and unorganized, it’s almost impossible to do anything to fix the space. One of the most important things you need to do before starting a renovation project in your rental is to get organized. This will most likely require you to buy storage bins, containers, boxes, and maybe even new furniture to accomplish what you need. But once you get the organization done, your life will be so much better. We promise. When you’re done reading this post, check out our article called “My Mom is a Professional Organizer. This is What She Taught Me.”

The beautiful baskets help to hide away unsightly storage, even in the kitchen pantry. Credit: Love Property

Use Decorative Baskets for Storage

In the last bullet point, we suggested getting your rental organized if you want to improve on its design. A great tip for hiding away your clutter is to use baskets for storage. Baskets can look very chic, and are often timeless when you style a home. There are people out there who put baskets in their house that are completely empty, just because they love the style. But if they can double as storage, why not? Baskets come in all shapes and sizes. And they are available almost anywhere, especially in places like Target, Home Goods, and The Container Store. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

A large mirror helps make a small space feel bigger. Credit: Remodelista

Lean a Large Mirror on the Floor

A great hack for making a room feel bigger is to install a large mirror. But hanging a large mirror can be tricky, especially in a rental. You don’t want to put too many holes in the wall and potentially cause damage. That’s why it’s a great option to actually buy a large vertical mirror and have it leaning on the floor. It helps to reflect the room around it, which gives the illusion of your space being bigger. And it works great if you want to take an “outfit of the day” picture for Instagram. You may need to secure the mirror to make sure it doesn’t fall or slip. But if you buy a high-quality, hefty mirror, it most likely will want to stay in place.  (via The DIY Playbook)

Even rolling clothing racks can look stylish in the right context. Credit: Shutterstock

Use Clothing Racks for Extra Storage

Depending on your rental, you might not have a closet in every bedroom. Many people would opt for a dresser, and that’s great. But I’ve met people who had so many clothes, they actually bought multiple dressers for each bedroom. It made the room feel a lot smaller, and cluttered. So a design hack you might want to consider is getting a clothing rack. This is especially important for the ladies out there who need to hang things like dresses that don’t work so well when they’re folded up. Just keep in mind that when it comes to clothing racks, you get what you pay for. Cheap $15 metal racks from Walmart might hold a few things, but only if they’re light. Heavier items like coats will cause the rack to collapse. So always try to invest in high quality. (via The Spruce)

Believe it or not, this is a fake fireplace that was custom built for this space. Credit: Twelve on Main

Consider Buying a Faux Fireplace 

Cuddling up in front of a fireplace is a truly magical experience. But it’s incredibly rare to find a fireplace in a rental. And even if you’re lucky enough to have one in an older building somewhere like New York City, it might be a fire hazard for you to even try using the old fireplace. So the obvious solution to make your fireplace dreams come true is to buy a fake one. These cost a few hundred dollars, but some of them actually look very real. They work sort of like electric heaters. So they will still emit heat and look like fire, without actually being a safety risk for your rental.  (via The Spruce)

This colorful accent rug makes a huge statement in this bedroom. Credit: House Beautiful

Buy an Accent Rug (Or Two)

Never underestimate the power of a good accent rug. These can bring a pop of color and style to your space. Sometimes, people will actually lay an accent rug on top of the existing rug in their apartment, just because they don’t like the style of what their landlord put there. In most rental properties, a landlord will go for some kind of basic beige carpeting in the living room. But by laying a rug on top of it, you can transform the look of a room. Just be careful with this, because sometimes layering carpets can be a tripping hazard. This works best if you can find a rug that fits into the square footage of the room, or at least goes well under the furniture. And if the apartment has hardwood floors, even better. That’s even more reason for you to get accent rugs. (via Apartment Therapy)

This simple rolling rack and curtain helps give privacy too the bedroom area of a studio apartment. Credit: Remodelista

Use a Rolling Rack and Curtain for Extra Privacy

If you live in a studio apartment, you already know how difficult it can sometimes be to have your bed in the center of everything. And since you’re in a rental, you can’t exactly build a wall to divide your bedroom space. We already suggested building a bookshelf to give yourself some privacy. But if you don’t want more furniture, consider using a privacy curtain instead. All you need is a rolling rack, and a curtain to hang on hooks. You might want to opt for a cloth shower curtain, since this will be easy to hang on the rod. This is very easy to assemble and disassemble when you’re getting ready to move. And it’s also relatively inexpensive, so you don’t need to feel guilty if you get rid of it before moving into your new place that hopefully has more space. (via Style Caster)

Credit: Architectural Digest

Hang a Tapestry

Just like string lights, some people might shy away from the idea of hanging a tapestry, because it reminds them of a college dorm. But when it’s done correctly, styling with a tapestry can truly elevate how your space looks. It’s also a much easier way to add a design to a wall, compared to wallpapering. All you need to do is tack up the fabric tapestry to the wall, and you’re ready to go. Some of my favorite examples I’ve seen are a huge mandala in my friend’s spare bedroom that she uses as her meditation space. Then there are some stunning examples of tapestries that look like murals or paintings on the wall. Check them out in the link below. (via Architectural Digest)

This accent wall was made using plus-sign decals. Credit: Shutterstock

Paint an Accent Wall

Earlier on this list, we already mentioned how it’s good to keep lighter colored walls, because it makes a space feel bigger. But if you truly have your heart set on a specific color, try an accent wall first. This is a great way to introduce color to a room without totally overpowering it. Accent walls don’t have to be just solid colors, either. You could paint patterns on the walls like polka dots, geometric shapes, stenciled shapes, and so much more. On top of that, it makes it a lot easier for you to paint over when you’re getting ready to move. (via Apartment Therapy)

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