This Hidden Amazon Section Is Full of Rental-Friendly Design Hacks That Are Perfect for Small Spaces

updated Sep 12, 2019
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Living in a rental apartment can come with many challenges. There never seems to be enough space or light, and forget about painting the bathroom purple—or painting any room at all! But where others see limitations, Amazon sees endless possibilities. In fact, the retail giant has a whole hidden section devoted to design hacks that are specifically geared toward helping renters make the most of their space. The Rental Hacks section addresses some of the most common problems that renters of small homes face—um, what’s a dining room?—and offers simple solutions, plus a selection of products you can shop to get your glow-up going.

Below are some of our favorite design tips from Amazon’s Rental Hacks section, along with items we think will make any rental feel more like a home.

1. Try removable wallpaper if you’re not allowed to paint.

Living with bland, white walls can be a major downer, but many landlords forbid renters from painting. Amazon recommends using removable wallpaper to add some color and character to your space—without making a permanent change. We love that it’s an affordable and easy fix, can be removed when it’s time to move, and there are a ton of options available. We’re particularly partial to the leafy pattern above.

2. Create a dining nook with a table and storage ottomans.

Finding an apartment with a designated dining room isn’t always possible. Does that mean dinner on your couch or bed every night? Nope, not on Amazon’s watch. The retailer recommends taking a small table (choose from round, square, and drop-leaf options) and creating a dining nook. For seating, you could go for these modern dining chairs, but we love Amazon’s idea of using storage ottomans that can also hold linens.

3. Optimize your entryway.

If you don’t have space for a coat rack or console in your entryway—or if you just don’t have an entryway—there are still plenty of options for holding everyday essentials like mail, keys, and jackets. Amazon recommends thinking vertical: Hang a mail holder or multi-pocket magazine storage organizer on the door for keeping envelopes and notepads, add wall hooks for holding coats and handbags, or use a floating shelf for placing small items like your phone and wallet.

4. Find outdoor space inside.

The mental and health benefits of having house plants are endless, and lack of outdoor space shouldn’t stop you from indulging your green thumb. Amazon suggests propping small planters and window boxes wherever you have natural light—think bookshelves, side tables, or even a free window sill. Invest in cute garden tools such as this mint green set that you can proudly hang or display in your kitchen.

5. Think beyond track and canned lighting.

When it comes to rentals, you need to be bright about your lighting choices. Track and canned lighting sometimes just aren’t enough, and floor lamps can eat up precious square footage. Amazon recommends pendants and sconces to keep your space well lit. If you need focused lighting for a reading nook or corridor, choose a wall-mounted fixture. To light up a wider space, go with a pendant fixture. Brilliant!

6. Layer dated wall-to-wall carpet with a stylish area rug.

Thought it can be cozy, wall-to-wall carpet can also instantly make your apartment seem dated. And let’s not even talk about how tricky it is to keep it clean. Amazon’s solution? Layer it up with area rugs. From muted and classic options to fun patterns, rugs are an easy way to add character to your space. And if you spill something? Simply throw it in the wash or send it to the cleaners—no need to worry about which piece of furniture will work best to cover up the stains.

7. Be creative about kitchen storage.

Cabinet and counter space is usually at a minimum in most rentals, which means small kitchens can quickly become cluttered. Amazon’s answer is to display fruit in hanging baskets and use clear storage containers for staples like flour, coffee, and pasta. We also like this expandable kitchen shelf for organizing dinnerware and this tiered Lazy Susan for easy access to spices.