8 renter-friendly small space DIYs — design experts say these are so easy to do

Our design pros love using these renter-friendly small space DIYs to zhuzh up spaces

Renter-friendly small space DIYs are so useful. Here are three pictures - one of shelves, one of a white couch, and one of a wooden TV unit
(Image credit: Funky Chunky Furniture Co. / Dekoria GmbH / Coastal Villas LTD)

If you're not afraid of a little elbow grease, renter-friendly small space DIYs are worth a try. No matter if you're a beginner, we've got you covered with ideas you can easily do.

We've spoken with interior designers and DIY pros who love getting creative in small spaces to find out what dreamy ways you can add sparkle with clever crafts. Elevating furniture for more space and transforming surfaces with peel-and-stick tiles are just a couple of tricks they use.

You don't need to spend a lot to add stunning small space interior design ideas. In fact, the ones you create yourself will give you a home you can be proud of.

Renter-friendly small space DIYs you can do with ease

From ways to make your small room look bigger, to clever hacks for concealing unsightly pieces, our experts have got you covered with useful tips.

Where our experts have suggested any specific products you need for DIYing, we've also found matching buys.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Lift up your bed or couch

A white living room with a white couch, wooden dining table, and jute rug

(Image credit: Dekoria GmbH)

Big bulky furniture pieces like beds and couches can take up a lot of room, leaving not much room for small space storage solutions. That is unless you try this trick.

“You can elevate your bed or sofa slightly and incorporate sliding storage bins or drawers, effectively turning that unused space into discreet storage for shoes, linens, or seasonal items,” says Raf Michalowski, interior designer and founder of Meble Furniture.

Raf Michaelowski, Interior designer and founder of Meble Furniture
Raf Michalowski

Raf Michalowski is an interior designer with plenty of DIY know-how. He is also the founder of Meble Furniture, which is one of the largest leading furniture retailers within North America.

All you need for this are heavy-duty riser blocks, which you can either build yourself from leftover wood or get from a store (such as these Annkut Furniture Risers from Amazon).

From here, lift your furniture piece, place these around the edges of where it normally sits, and place it back. Boom — you’ve created discreet storage space.

2. Hang up shelves with adhesive strips

Two wooden wall shelves with candles, frames, and vases on them

(Image credit: Funky Chunky Furniture Co.)

Utilizing vertical space is one of our top tips for smaller homes. As a renter, you may be thinking you can’t do this — but we’ve got you covered with a magic tip.

“Save space and don't drill into walls by using floating shelves that attach to the wall with sticking adhesive strips,” says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York. He regularly designs rental spaces with custom solutions.

Our favorite adhesive strips have to be these damage-free Command Strips on Amazon, as they’re super strong and will leave your walls intact.

Artem adds shelves are perfect for use in showing ornaments, books, or your best indoor plants.  You can create your own shelves by cutting down wooden planks to size, sanding them down, and painting them in gorgeous small space paint colors.

3. Create a gallery wall to distract from sockets

A beige wall with three wall art prints, with one being hung up by a person with a gray shirt

(Image credit: Desenio)

One of the most annoying things about living in a rental has to be not being able to change fittings such as sockets. Why are they all in such random spots, right?

“I like to add gallery walls to hide strangely placed sockets, as you can either hang photo frames on sockets you aren’t using, or hang multiple pictures to distract from them,” says Tommy Mello, home improvement expert and founder of A1 Garage Door Service.

A picture of Tommy Mello, a man with short brown hair wearing a white shirt
Tommy Mello

Tommy Mello is a a home improvement and DIY expert, and the founder of A1 Garage Door Service, a $100M+ home service business and home service industry leader. As well as garages, he's a pro at renovating different areas of the home with DIY solutions.

Choosing gorgeous, eye-catching prints will not only draw attention away from sockets, but will also elevate the decor in your desired room.

4. Liven up walls with peel-and-stick wallpaper

A purple bedroom with a plant, nightstand, and white bed

(Image credit: Victoria Sanders)

While your contract may say no paint, we bet it doesn’t say anything about not using the best peel-and-stick wallpaper

Artem explains, “Enliven your walls with indoor wallpaper that is easy to install and remove. This is a good method to create textures or patterns without the obligation of regular wallpaper.”

You could do this as just an accent wall for a subtle pop or even cover the whole area for maximum impact.

5. Hide wires with baskets

A wooden TV stand with three baskets with a TV above it

(Image credit: Coastal Villas LTD)

Unfortunately, there is no way to make wires look good — which is why we’re loving this way of hiding them.

Tommy says, “One of my top tips for unattractive wires and cables is adding a basket on top of them.”

You can do this by cutting out a slot on either end of the basket, so the wire can easily fit through. 

If you don’t have a basket to hand, these Honey-Can-Do baskets on Amazon would work perfectly. It's especially effective for hiding cables on TV stands, making the whole unit look sleek and sophisticated.

6. Add pizazz with peel-and-stick tiles

A kitchen with a marble splashback, green cabinets, and a kitchen island

(Image credit: Wilsonart)

You might not be able to add heavy tiles, but peel-and-stick tile ideas can still have a similar effect on your small kitchen or small bathroom splashback.

Artem explains, “You can create a reinvention of your kitchen’s backsplash and bathroom floor using peel-and-stick tiles.”

“They are easy to install and take off which makes them ideal for renters who want to improve their space temporarily,” he adds.

We've got these Nexus Peel and Stick Tiles from Amazon in our baskets, which will make any small space look luxe affordably.

7. Cover up your radiator

A white radiator cover with a plant and candles on top of it

(Image credit: MY Furniture)

There’s nothing like an old, several-times-painted run-down radiator to ruin the look of a perfectly good rental. 

“Instead, you can DIY your own cover out of wood, aluminum, or particle board to hide old metal radiators, and give your room an elevated, built-in shelf look,” says Amanda Wiss, design expert and founder of Urban Staging and Urban Clarity.

A picture of Amanda Wiss, a woman wearing a purple top in front of gray shelves
Amanda Wiss

Amanda Wiss is a design expert and founder of Urban Clarity, a home organizing company. She is also the founder of home staging studio Urban Staging, whose design-savvy team gets homes market ready. She's great at finding clever tricks to do this, including DIY solutions.

She adds, “When you move out, just slip the cover off and your landlord will never know.”

8. Change up your doorknobs and cabinet pulls

A white drawer with a gold knob, with a gold plant pot and monkey decoration on top of it

(Image credit: Melody Maison)

They say the devil is always in the detail, and by adding chic touches to your doors and drawers, you’ll be able to make them look ultra-refined without having to spend too much.

Amanda explains, “If you’re not a fan of your standard issue doorknobs and cabinet pulls, visit your local hardware store for alternatives. These can be switched out and stored in a safe place for when you move out and put them back.”

For cabinets we love these vintage-vibe Aobite Cabinet Pulls on Amazon, while for door knobs these glitzy CLCTK Glass Door Knobs are Amazon's Choice.

If you aren’t confident doing this and don’t want to upset your landlord, you could always learn how to upcycle a furniture piece and add swish additions to it instead.

Even in a rental, just a couple of quick DIY solutions can raise the game of how it looks.

Raf finishes by saying, “Small spaces present a canvas for inventive DIY solutions which seamlessly blend style and function.”

If you’re looking for even more crafty inspiration, we also recommend these pro-approved small living room DIY ideas for making this room more inviting. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.