12 decorating ideas for a rented home

With more of us renting than ever before, easy to achieve decorating and design ideas are a must-have. We've come up with easy, affordable and quick transformations your landlord will love

TODO alt text

Living in a rented flat or house needn't mean you're doomed to endure the landlord's dodgy taste in decor. Many, with consultation, will allow you to decorate, especially if what you do either improves the quality of their accommodation (not hard, right?) or is easily reversible. Plus, there are tons of ways to personalise your abode that won't need permission at all.

So why not make your rented house feel like a home with these clever design ideas?

1. Invest in eye-catching pendant shades

Every room deserves a focal point, and you can create that in even a bland, boxy space with gorgeous light fittings that, of course, you can remove and take with you when you move. 

This Polly pendant shade in grey is from Made.

Find out how to design living room lighting to make your space feel cosy.

Dining table with pendant light above by Made

(Image: © Made)

2. Put up a mural (temporarily)

A mural adds wow factor quickly and newer designs can not only be sized to fit your space exactly but also simply peeled off when you leave your rental for your forever home (fingers crossed). 

The Lovell Johns world political rustic map wall mural, from £42 per m2, Wallsauce. 

Check out the tons more wall mural design ideas for your whole home.

World map mural by Wallsauce

(Image: © Wallsauce)

3. Use removable tape to create cool designs on walls and floors

The latest craze from Japan, removable tape can be cleverly used to create eye-catching designs or simple edgings. Use it on kitchen cabinets and bedroom wardrobes, too, for an instant update, or on canvases to create artwork.

Haru stuck-on design tapes, from £11 per roll, Nitto.

Love this look? Be inspired by these colour block paint ideas, too.

Haru tape decorating hallway walls by Nitto

(Image: © Nitto)

4. Create privacy (and interest) with window film

Whether your rental bedroom or bathroom overlooks a shared garden, an ugly view or a busy street, window film is a super-affordable way to create instant privacy, but interest, too, without having to invest in window dressings. 

Yachts pattern window film, from £45 per m2, Purlfrost

See more wonderful window film ideas in our design gallery.

Bathroom window with window film by Purlfrost

(Image: © Purlfrost)

Want to hang a pictures and artwork without damaging the walls? You can easily do it with Command Strips, which stick the pictures firmly to the wall, but can be peeled off easily when you leave. 

Set of five botanical poster prints gallery set, £40, Mode Prints. Command Strips available at Amazon.

Find how to create your own gallery wall – and be inspired by our photo and picture display ideas.

Gallery wall in bedroom with pictures by Mode Prints

(Image: © Mode Prints)

6. Jazz up a bedroom with wall stickers

Whether you want to give a child's bedroom a personal touch or lift the decor in your own bedroom, kitchen or living space, wall stickers are a great option: maximum impact at minimum cost and effort, plus many can be easily removed.

Yellow and grey polka dot wall stickers, £20 for 78, Koko Kids.

Look out more lovely wall stickers in our design gallery.

Kid's bedroom with wall stickers

(Image: © Koko Kids)

7. Have loose covers made for a sofa

Stuck with someone else's sofa? Want to buy a new one, but not till you move to somewhere more permanent? So why not have a cover made up for your landlord's sofa? It'll be worthwhile if you're planning to stay for a year or more.

Rosendal pure washed pure linen cover in silver grey, £529, fits Ikea’s Klippan 2 seater sofa, Bemz

Rather spend the cash now on a new sofa? We've rounded up the best of the best sofas for under £500.

Sofa covers over sofa in living room by Bemz

(Image: © Bemz)

8. Give tatty kitchen units a new lease of life

Vinyl murals aren't limited to walls – you can use them to give dated, flat-fronted kitchen cabinets a new lease of life quickly and easily.

Watermelon slices seamless pattern on white polka dots background, £118 for 300 x 80cm, other sizes available, Pixers. 

Or perhaps your landlord will happily let you paint kitchen cabinets to give them a new lease of life?

Kitchen cabinet decorated with stickers by Pixers

(Image: © Pixers)

9. Add colour and texture with blinds

In rooms where you don't want to put window film, simple blinds are the next most affordable option. Choose ones with a strong pattern to liven up the otherwise (inevitably) plain decor.

Orla Kiely rosebud orange Roman blinds, from £68.45 for a made to measure blind, English Blinds. 

Buy the best blinds at the cheapest prices for your rental property with the help of our buyer's guide.

Blinds in a living room by Orla Kiely for English Blinds

(Image: © Orla Kiely for English Blinds)

10. Layer rugs to hide an unsightly floor

If you're doomed to live with an unattractive carpet, perhaps floorboards that have seen better days or you simply want to liven up a plain floorcovering with something with a bit of personality, rugs are the way to go.

Django multi-coloured stripe rug (left), 140cm x 200cm, Ferguson large orange and black flat weave rug (right), 170cm x 240cm, both £250, Habitat. 

Don't miss our selection of the best rugs for your living room.

Rugs in a living room by Habitat

(Image: © Habitat)

11. House plants – to bring life, colour and texture

House plants are a no-brainer for rental properties – they add tons of personality and can really make a space feel like home quickly. 

All products shown, Ikea.

What do you need? House plant maintenance tips or house plant display ideas? We've got both...

wire rack with house plants displayed in kitchen by ikea

(Image: © Ikea)

12. Great storage... really great storage...

Rental flats tend not to come with fabulous storage that's tailored just to your needs. But why buy wardrobes and bulky pieces of furniture that might not fit in your next pad? Instead, look for items that are handsome but transitory, that can be upcycled, hacked or personalised to give your rental home a unique look that's all your own. 

We love this Ikea hack, where a plain Ivar cabinet (£45) becomes something a little special, with the addition of legs and cut-outs for handles.

Pssst! We've got whole sections devoted to storage and to small spaces – check them out for more ideas.

Ivar cabinet hack by Ikea in a bedroom

(Image: © Ikea)

More stuff you'll love: