How To Decorate A Rental On The Cheap

Many rental properties are drab and neutral in their décor. This is often boring and uninspiring for most people. Even though a landlord might not allow you to change anything or make upgrades yourself, you can decorate an apartment or other rental unit to make it your own without breaking the bank. 

Check out the decorating ideas below that’ll take your rental from drab to fab-u-lous! 

The Walls

Your landlord may not allow you to paint the walls, but that doesn’t mean you can’t transform them into works of art themselves. 

DIY artwork is easy and cheap to make, and you don’t need to be Vincent Van Goh to create something beautiful. 

Another option is wall decals. This fun and easy to install wall décor comes in a variety of designs that stick to and remove from the wall without leaving any residue behind. Put them up when you move in and take them down when you move out. No muss, no fuss!

Other design elements like curtains (yes, on the wall) and mirrors can bring color and light into your space, which adds personality and interest to the room. You can even hang a curtain panel from the ceiling as a divider if you so desire. 

On the Floor

Throw rugs not only add interest and beauty to a room, but they also help protect the floor, which protects your security deposit, too. Add throw rugs throughout your rental to define areas and tie the décor together. 

The Windows

Rental windows often already have window coverings, but if you’d like to add your own personality to this feature on the cheap, get yourself some fusible bonding web and work up some DIY window coverings yourself. Just don’t forget to switch back to the original window coverings when you move out. 


You’re probably limited as to the light fixtures in your apartment, but if there is one that isn’t working properly, ask your landlord to fix or replace it. He may even reimburse you for doing it yourself. 

With that said, proper lighting can turn a drab space into a bright, cheery one, so think in layers when it comes to lighting. Overhead lighting is a must, but lamps can add a warm glow for ambiance. Also, don’t neglect task lighting or accent lighting to highlight artwork or other interesting aspects in a room. 


One of the easiest and cheapest ways to add interest and personality to your space is with accessories. Throw pillows, Knick knacks, etc. can add color without you having to spend a lot of money. Visit your local thrift stores and garage sales to find gently used and often fabulous items to accessorize your space. 

Just because you rent doesn’t mean you have to live in a drab, uninspired apartment. Follow the tips above to take your rental from drab to fab without breaking the bank or your lease.