The 7 Smartest Renter Design Ideas We’ve Seen So Far This Year

published Jul 5, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

Decorating a rental is never easy. You can’t call a contractor when you hit a design snafu, and you have the limitations of your lease and landlord—i.e. no painting, no drilled holes in the wall, and so forth—to keep in mind.

Luckily, our house tours are brimming with renter-friendly setups that make decorating a breeze. From IKEA hacks to floating storage solutions and more, here are the most clever design ideas we’ve seen in recent house tours. 

Credit: Laura Steffan

A Suspension Rod to Hang Plants

Dreaming of a gorgeous hanging plant but don’t want to create any holes in your ceiling? Take a cue from Ansley Givhan’s New Orleans rental and use a suspension rod to hang your houseplants up without leaving damage behind.  

Credit: Minette Hand

Propped-Up Artwork

No drilling allowed in your rental? No problem. Framed artwork looks just as nice propped up against a wall as it does hanging, just like we saw in Sara Barge, Shelby Goodwin, and Stephanie Gutierrez’s Austin, Texas rental home.

Floating Storage

If you’re not working with a ton of storage space in your tiny rental, then we have the solution for you. Mount a handful of self-adhesive hooks onto an empty wall to score some damage-free storage opportunity in seconds, just like we saw in Apartment Therapy editor Adrienne Breaux’s New Orleans rental.

Maximized Vertical Space

Faux Built-Ins

In desperate need of some built-in storage space for your rental, but stuck with a strict landlord? A commanding storage cabinet with pretty hardware—like the BILLY Bookcase with upgraded handles we saw in Madison Hope Veitch’s British Columbia rental home—offers almost as much storage potential as a wall of built-ins, but won’t cost you your security deposit.

Credit: Minette Hand

Statement Walls

Bored with your white box of a rental but don’t want to have to eventually repaint the whole place? Paint a single wall in your rental in a bold color (that you can easily paint over) to liven up a monotone room, like we saw in Simone and Mimi McGurl’s NYC rental. And if you aren’t allowed to paint, just use removable wallpaper instead.

Credit: Minette Hand

Space Dividing Rugs

Searching for a goof-proof way to carve out a distinct lounge area in your open-layout rental home? A well-placed area rug, like the one we spotted in Madison Malone Kircher’s 350-square foot Brooklyn rental, helps divide a living room from a sleeping zone in style.

Credit: Melanie Hillier

Low-Lying Furniture FTW

Never underestimate the power of low-profile furniture when decorating a tiny rental home. When you can’t physically create more room in your rental, opt for compact, small-space savvy furnishings, like the stackable-IKEA-bed-turned-couch we spotted in Melanie Hillier’s Toronto living room, to create the illusion of more space.