5 Creative Ways to Decorate an Apartment Rental on a Budget

Decorate an Apartment Rental on a Budget

So you’ve rented the perfect apartment. Congratulations! You’re living the dream — on your own, completely independent, sipping cornflakes in your undies without a care in the world. But you look around at your apartment decor — sadly, it’s dull, uninspiring, like a college dorm room on move-in day. Where’s the spice?

Decorating an apartment rental can be challenging — especially on a budget. When you rent an apartment, you’re usually stuck with the existing wall, floor, and cabinet furnishings. You might not be able to paint. And let’s face it, most apartment rental spaces are generic and dull.

The good news is with a little creativity and just a touch of mojo, you can create a satisfying, comfy, even dreamy living space without breaking the bank. Here are 5 affordable ways to decorate an apartment on a budget.


Go Green with Plants


Plants bring a splash of life to any room — especially on dull gray days. We know what you’re thinking: You’ll murder it from pure neglect. But don’t worry, many plants like cacti or succulents like aloe vera practically take care of themselves. Good Housekeeping recommends easy-to-grow plants like pothos, jade, and yucca. You can even purchase an air plant on Amazon and skip the potting soil.


Don’t Forget the Rugs


Apartment Rental RugsNo, you don’t need to fork over $1,000 on a rug that could hang in the Cleveland Museum of Art on loan from the Met. Decorate your apartment with affordable indoor/outdoor rugs that look great, or as the Dude says, “Really tie the room together.” There’s been a trend lately of people creating outdoor space that’s more of an extension of the indoors. This has led to affordable outdoor rugs that could fit in a living room and nobody would bat an eye. The beauty of these rugs is they are highly durable and great for pets. They clean up well — a super-smart choice if you like to throw parties or eat spaghetti in the living room.



Space Out Your Apartment with a Large Mirror


Apartment living can be snug. Mirrors are a great way to open the space and provide a roomier feel. Floor-length mirrors provide the spaciest looks. We suggest positioning the mirror opposite a window. This will reflect the most light to brighten and add further dimension to the space. You can browse local flea markets, Craigslist or hit up sites like OfferUp, LetGo, or Freecycle to find mirrors to decorate your apartment rental on a budget.


Buy Used Furniture & Give It a Makeover


New furniture is an expensive money hole. After paying a deposit and first month’s rent on your new apartment, who can afford it? The trick is to buy used from either thrift stores, yard sales, or local Facebook sale pages. You can easily give used furniture a facelift with a paint job, a hardware upgrade, or a carpentry retrofit. This way you can decorate your apartment on a budget and create a beautiful space without breaking the bank.


Painting Furniture for Apartment Rental


Be Creative with Wall Art


You might not be able to paint the walls, but you can add a splash of personality with creative wall art. Even if you aren’t artistic, affordable or free wall art is easy to DIY. Frame posters of reproductions of your favorite artists. A creative postcard behind a frame can look like real art. You could also frame coordinating colors of pretty fabric, creative scrapbook cutouts, magazine clippings. 

Wall decals are inexpensive and won’t mess up your walls — most remove easily. You can even apply decals to furniture and tile. For a more affordable approach, removable, adhesive shelf liner can really enliven a space.

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