Decorating a Rental on a Budget

Having a strict budget and renting a home can make decorating extra challenging. Here are some decorating ideas to make your home feel special even if you are renting and have limited funds.

Quick and Easy ways to Decorate a Rental to make it your Own

Decorating a Rental on a Budget. I have to be honest and say that going from owning a home to renting has been a struggle. The rental home is smaller so that makes it even more difficult, plus I sold about half of my furniture before the move to fit everything into the rental. I ended up with stuff I wasn’t sure I really wanted and it didn’t go together well. The rest of the house wasn’t too bad but the living room was a mess. After feeling sorry for myself I decided to do something about it. It was time to give my living room a makeover for a minimal cost.

Let’s take a look at the before. Don’t judge, or do. It was pretty bad! As you can see nothing really went together. It was basically just a hodge podge of furniture I had left over from the move. This room is also very small for a living room but I wanted to make sure we had enough sitting space for our family and guests.

Living room before

Sale and Free Items: I wanted to get a longer sofa with smaller arms to fit in the same area but offer more seating. I found this newly reupholstered sofa on our local facebook sale site for $125. It was a great price and doubled our seating. Searching on facebook and yard sales might be a little more time consuming but you can save hundreds of dollars. Next, I gathered pillows from around the house that would look great on the sofa and give it a little color. All of these were free since I already had them. Since they were purchased a while ago I don’t know if they’re still available but here are the stores from left to right: Ross, Home Goods, Deseret Book, Home Goods, Ross.

Decorating a Rental pillows and sofa

Temporary Flooring: Even though I can’t change the horrible carpet in this house I can cover it up. The Mohawk Home Woodbridge Napa Medallion Rug was the inspiration for the rest of the living room and pulls it all together so beautifully. Even if you’re not in a rental, a rug is the perfect piece to give your room a finished look. Since I don’t have much pattern in the room I decided to choose a patterned rug. That made it easy to pull colors from the rug to incorporate into the room. If you’re decorating a room from scratch I would recommend starting with the rug.

Decorating a Rental patterned rug

Add Paint: Even if you can’t paint the walls there are many other things that can be painted. I purchased these chairs a few years and had them in my bedroom for a while. They were yellow and while I didn’t mind the color it wasn’t the look I was going for in this room. Painting them the right color and adding the cushions made them fit perfectly in this space. Because they have an open back they don’t seem as big and bulky as the chairs they replaced, even though the seating size is about the same. You can see the before and after of the chairs in this post. Take a look, it’s a great transformation. One of the chairs that used to be here is now in the family room and the other one was donated. These chairs were only $15 each plus the $8 cushions and a can of spray paint. They’re one of my favorite pieces of furniture now. I’m not sure I’ll even buy new again.

Decorating a Rental rug and painted chairs

I also painted this small coffee table. It was my husband’s grandpa’s table and it was in rough shape. While I wouldn’t usually choose a table this small, I love that it’s from family and I wanted to keep it. Because the room is so small it’s not too bad. This was the first piece of furniture I painted with chalk paint and I love how it turned out.

Decorating a Rental rug and table

Vertical Space: This sounds crazy but we’re not allowed to put nail holes in the walls. Vertical space is so important in decorating so I have a few things I’ve done to make it possible without one single nail hole. I use command hooks when possible, but our walls are rough so sometimes they don’t like to stay up if the object is too heavy. I also prop things against the wall. I used bookcases in this area to hide the biggest, ugliest mirror that we weren’t allowed to remove. The mirror still showed a little above the bookcases so I added a chalkboard and map to the top and now the whole thing is hidden. This reminds me that I need to add something to the chalkboard.

Decorating a Rental bookcase

Color: I chose the colors for the living room based on the rug. It helps that these are my favorite colors and I already had pillows and some furniture in these colors. It’s easy to find rugs that will fit a variety of colors and decorating styles. That’s why I like to start with the rug and build the room around it. You can also just pick your favorite colors and build the room around them.

Decorating a Rental rug in living room

Remember how this space used to look? Quite the transformation, don’t you think? I love how much brighter the space is now. It’s so much more inviting and since it’s now my style I feel more at home in my own space. I feel like this represents our family so much better now.

Decorating a Rental ideas

Like I said before you don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate and design your home to represent you and your family. Even if you own your home you can use these ideas to decorate easily and inexpensively.

Decorating a Rental living room space

I can’t believe what a huge difference these little changes have made. A rental can easily feel like home if you just give it a little love.

Decorating a Rental new rug and furniture

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Clearissa April 19, 2016, 3:58 pm

    Love what you’ve done here. I’ve moved quite a lot and when your life if fluid, you have to learn to make wine out of grapes. 🙂 That is the total premise of my blog and my passion. I am no longer moving every 3 -5 years but I still like to make wine out of grapes. I love what you’ve done.

  • Chris April 19, 2016, 7:33 pm

    Such a great job!! It looks fantastic

  • Erin Spain April 22, 2016, 10:44 am

    These are all great ideas! We rented for a while before we bought our home and it was always a challenge to make it feel like home. Love this post!

  • Stacy Risenmay April 22, 2016, 3:48 pm

    I love the colors! Such a beautiful space 🙂

  • Amy Anderson April 25, 2016, 5:41 pm

    I love everything about it – that rug, those chairs . . . that shade of blue is so rich and gorgeous!

  • condo blues April 26, 2016, 1:51 pm

    We did a lot with large area rugs in our rental too.

  • Holly May 8, 2016, 11:09 am

    Leanne, this is awesome! Love the repainted chairs, of course I loved them before too!

  • zoyoyayep January 10, 2017, 10:22 pm

    I’m so excited to have this idea today!! Get some attractive, affordable and friendly decorating tips from you. Thanks for your great share, Love this.

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm January 21, 2020, 10:06 am

    These are all awesome tips! We’ve made the decision for our family to strictly rent and not buy, and invest our money in other ways, but it means we’ve spent a lot of time in homes that aren’t ours, and we’ve done lots of these things over the years to make our rentals our own, and we’ve always enjoyed them more because of it!

  • March 9, 2020, 1:42 am

    Your home decor was fabulous plus I really enjoyed your photography! Loved joining you on this tour! Once you’ve invested your time and effort into sprucing up your rental, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected. Get an online renter’s insurance quote today and protect your family.

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