7 Decorating Tips for First Time Renters

Best Apartment Decorating Ideas

When you’re renting for the first time, finances are often tight and can prevent you from going all out on home furnishings and decorations. This might leave you wondering, “so what should I do then, I want a place that feels like home!” Well we’ve put together a list of some great home decorating tips for new renters to help with that.

1. Go for color
A lot of apartments or rental homes come with white or beige walls, since these are neutral and can suit any kind of person. First, check with your landlord if this is an option, but in some circumstances, you may not be able to change them, even if they look old and worn. So, brighten each room by going for color when selecting furniture and decorative pieces. Even deep hues like dark navy and brown used as color schemes can make a bland white room feel richer and more comforting. Try to avoid gray and black. Also, if you can’t paint your walls, you can always paint your furniture instead.

2. Let there be light!
Does your new place come with adequate lighting already? If so, great, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some additions of your own. Stylish or unique-looking lamps (and lanterns!) and can really warm up a room, but whatever you do, avoid any urges to put up Christmas tree lights along the wall or ceiling (especially if you’re out of college). These look great during the holidays, and they work very well as outdoor light accents, but in your living room they just look tacky and cheap. Some landlords also believe them to be fire hazards.

3. Fill emptiness with a rug
A lot of people forget the floor when they think about decorating, even though the floor is a big, empty space! A great rug instantly warms up any room, and they can also easily cover up stains and unsightly spots on the floor.

4. Use your wall space
You may not be able to paint or paper your walls (check with your landlord or your lease agreement on that), but nearly always you will be able to hang things. Express yourself with photos, paintings and posters (frame them unless you like the “dorm room” look), although the occasional decorative design piece will give your place that unique something. Don’t throw too much stuff too close together in one wall area, though. Stores and galleries may be able to get away with this, but in the home it almost always appears too cluttered and claustrophobic.

5. Unleash your green thumb
You shouldn’t turn your place into a greenhouse, but having a few plants really adds a fresh feeling to any space. While you can have a plant or vase of flowers in the middle of your coffee table or dining table, plants shouldn’t necessarily be the focal point of a room. Use them to accent larger pieces by putting them on end tables and windowsills.

6. Dress up old furniture
If this is your first place, chances are you may still be saving to afford your dream furniture. Or perhaps your current furniture was even left there by the previous tenants. Don’t despair though if they’re everything you’re hoping for. Couch/chair covers come in all different styles and colors, and they are much cheaper than buying new furniture. If you’re crafty, you can even make them yourself. Putting some plants that compliment the fabric or other artistic accents on top of tables also helps, as does a neatly folded afghan or other blanket on the back of a couch.

It is worth mentioning, however, that you can often find great, cost-friendly stuff at thrift, vintage and discount furniture stores. Sometimes people just want to get rid of things because they’re moving or simply wanted a new table, and the furniture they drop off at these shops may not look that old at all. A lot of it may actually be neat vintage furniture you can accent your home with.

7. Don’t go overboard with vintage
But on that note—vintage stuff certainly looks cool and unique, but not when it’s all over the place. Unless you actually want your place looking like a thrift shop, limit the vintage items to only 1-2 per room—and that’s if they’re small. If you have a couple of 60s-style chairs or a big folding screen that makes you long for colonial times, you really don’t need much more in that room in terms of vintage.

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