12 Renter-Friendly Interior Design Tips and Trends

Rental home living doesn't mean your interior design has to be on hold—here are 12 renter-friendly interior design tips and the latest trends to try now!

Published on
June 26, 2024
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12 Renter-Friendly Interior Design Tips and Trends


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Rental homes almost always have some limitations in how you can customize them to your liking. This can make it seem difficult to make a place feel like your home as a renter. However, you shouldn’t feel limited in your interior design choices. There are multiple ways to help make your rental place feel more like yours. With minor interior design changes, you can get your rental feeling like a home in no time. Here are a few interior design tips and 2024 trends for renters to try:

  1. Window Treatments: Adding curtains is an easy, temporary way to customize your rental home without much effort. Curtains are also a practical approach to styling your home, as they will also provide more privacy and help keep the heat out on hot summer days. Play with different colors, textures, and lengths to make the space yours! For an updated look try earth tones or tonal color-blocking paired with eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton or hemp (Kueber, 2024).

  1. Play with Ambient Lighting: Lighting plays a significant role in how a room looks and feels. Bright, white overhead lighting can make a space feel cold and sterile, while yellow lighting can bring warmth to a space but also change how other colors are perceived. If you don’t want an extreme effect, aim for neutral lighting. However, the lighting options don’t stop there—go for mood lighting by adding strip lights, lamps, fairy lights, candles, cabinet and closet lighting, or wall sconces. This year’s latest lighting trend is vintage lighting; look for vintage lamps at thrift stores or estate sales (Taylor, 2024). Whether you go for neutral or colorful lighting or add mood lighting to your space—the options are endless! 

  1. Decorate the Walls: Bare walls are often the number one culprit for renters not feeling at home. Hang some of your favorite artwork, photos of family and friends, posters, and a mirror, and your rental will begin feeling more like home in no time. Go a step further by giving a room an accent wall. To create an accent wall, create a gallery wall with a collection of framed art, photos, and posters—or, go for a mirror gallery wall if that’s your style! For a natural, curated gallery wall mix different size frames and arrange them unevenly (Bowen, n.d.

  1. Infuse a Few Cohesive Design Elements: If your design style feels all over the place or you don’t know where to start, select a few cohesive design elements to help narrow down a specific interior style. Even if you prefer maximalist designs to minimalism, following an interior design guide can ensure your home design elements remain cohesive. Start by determining your color palette and style inspirations; be as specific as necessary to coordinate a cohesive home.

  1. Mix and Match: Once you have defined your style elements, you can truly begin! To make your space feel like a home, select a variety of colors and textures within your chosen style. Incorporate different shades of the same color, or even add a wild card with a pop of color outside your palette. Or, make your space feel 3D and lived-in with multiple textures for visual interest. Texture is often overlooked during the design process, however, adding multiple textures can really elevate a space. Try adding wood, knit, boucle, suede, velvet, linen, cotton, or metal—the options are endless!

  1. Upgrade to Smart Tech: Living in a rental home doesn’t mean you’re limited to living with the outdated devices that come with the place. Nowadays, almost any home can be upgraded with smart technology of some kind. Upgrade any home devices including, doorbell cameras, light bulbs, smart locks, and thermostats. With smart tech, you can connect nearly any household function to your smartphone and control your home without stepping a foot inside. Change the temperature, turn on lights, or monitor your home from your fingertips. Often, these smart upgrades are eco-friendly, saving the environment and keeping extra cash in your wallet!

  1. Carpet Layering: Who said only one carpet per room was the ideal? Layering carpets is a great way to add visual dimension to your home. Play with different colors, designs, shapes, sizes, and styles in one room to create a look that is uniquely yours! Carpet layering is also another example of adding visual interest with texture—try layering a large, neutral rug with a smaller, printed rug with contrasting textures. Carpet layering can even minimize less appealing flooring; you may have to live with the rental units’ floors, but that doesn’t mean you have to look at them every day!

  1. Maximize Storage Space: Sometimes, the culprit to all your problems is the clutter in your home. Random stationary, toys, and clothes without a designated spot in your house can seriously affect the functionality of your home, as well as its visual appearance. Rental homes are not typically known for their large storage spaces; if you’re tight on storage space, you’ll need to maximize your options. To maximize storage space, try adding more shelving to utilize wall space, create dual-space rooms, and select smaller furniture to maximize space.

  1. Thrift Unique Pieces: Have you found the same home decor or furniture as yours in someone else’s home? This is a common experience for anyone who sources their home items from Ikea or any other department store. While there is nothing wrong with buying furniture from these places, it may be the reason your rental doesn’t feel like a home. For one-of-a-kind home decor and furniture, stop by the thrift store next time you’re in need of something! You never know what treasures you can find at the thrift store—plus, you’re guaranteed to save money and give life to secondhand home items.

  1. Freshen Up with Plants: Plant owners already know this one, but for everyone else—plants can liven up any space in your home! Plants add a visual element of greenery and can even serve as an air purifier in the home. Whether you have a green thumb or not, there’s guaranteed to be a plant for everyone. Cacti and succulents are very low-maintenance plants, requiring bright, indirect light and little watering. Don’t forget to research kid and pet-friendly plants to ensure all plants brought home are non-toxic for all occupants.

  1. Paint or Stain Furniture: Updating your furniture is a great way to change the style of your home to fit your current lifestyle. Instead of purchasing brand-new furniture, consider painting or staining furniture you already own. If your style changes often or you just enjoy trying new interior design trends, opting for DIY furniture projects can save you money and prevent good furniture from going unused. Take it a step further by switching out drawer knobs and changing the upholstery of your furniture for a look that is uniquely yours!

  1. Minimize Unappealing Features: When living in a rental house, whether it’s a little dated or not, sometimes there are just some features of the unit that don’t mesh with your design style—if this sounds like you, not all is lost. You may not be able to remove a feature in your rental, like pink bathroom tiles, but you can always combat how much they stand out. Instead of a clear or neutral shower curtain, go for something bold and keep it closed whenever you can. Don’t like the flooring or carpet in your unit? Add large rugs everywhere! Just because your current home isn’t your dream house doesn’t mean you can’t apply a temporary makeover!

It can be easy to get caught up in the latest design trends and compare your home to the perfectly curated interior design photos online, but remember—these photos are often unrealistic. They’re either staged homes or, they are simply snapshots from a small moment in time when a home looked pleasing. Your home is meant to be lived in, to provide you sanctuary, and to act as an extension of yourself. Keep this in mind when decorating your home—and don’t forget to enjoy the process!

For more information on home maintenance, design, or sustainability, visit our blog!


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