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Top 11 Renter Hacks for an Aesthetic Home

an apartment with a chair, plants, ambient lighting and artwork

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The rate of households living in rental properties keeps growing, and while some tenants are lucky enough to have lenient landlords who don't mind if they drill holes to put up shelves or repaint the walls, many landlords are more strict and would not hesitate to deduct money from your security deposit if you even so much as put a pin in the wall.

So, how can you create a home that feels like yours if you're renting? An important thing to focus on is improving the aesthetic of your rental. Just because you don't own the property doesn't mean you can't explore your creativity and make your space more reflective of your personality. This way, you can avoid feeling like you're living in someone else's space and truly make it your own.

In this article, we'll explore eleven options for elevating your home decor which won't put your security deposit at risk. However, it's important to note that while these hacks are designed to be damage-free, some may require permission from your landlord, as rental contracts often specify that any modifications to the property could breach the agreement. To avoid any potential conflict with your landlord, it's always best to err on the side of caution and get permission in writing first. 

Top 11 Renter Hacks for an Aesthetic Home

1: Renter-Friendly Peel-and-Stick Removable Wallpaper

green and white abstract peel and stick renter-friendly wallpaper

Image Credit: StreetWorkshop | Buy on Etsy

A saving grace for renters, peel-and-stick removable wallpaper is an easy way to instantly transform any room. Both easy to apply and remove, wallpaper has the added benefit of protecting the wall underneath from stains and marks caused by everyday living.

Ensure you closely follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying, and take extra care when removing as a rough hand could cause even removable wallpaper to cause damage to the wall surface underneath.

2: Utilise Floor Lamps

a leaning floor lamp over a couch

Image Credit: mefanshop | Buy on Etsy

One problem many renters face is problems with getting adequate light. The permanent light fixtures in many rental properties are often either dull and basic or cheap and ineffective.

Floor lamps are freestanding, so don't need any attachments, and most only require a power socket, making them ideal for maximising the light in your home. We suggest floor lamps as their height can remedy the poor quality of some built-in ceiling lights, distributing light from a high level and allowing it to spread sufficiently across the room.

3: Renter-Friendly Peel-and-Stick Removable Tiles

blue and white mosaic tiles in a kitchen removable and renter-friendly

Image Credit: TropicalWorkshop | Buy on Etsy

One thing that makes many rental kitchens and bathrooms basic and boring is the lack of tiling. The right tiles can make these spaces look expensive and professional, but many rental properties feature basic, and sometimes boring, tiles, mostly because they are the cheapest option.

Peel-and-stick removable tiles offer an effective solution that upgrades the aesthetic of your bathroom, kitchen, laundry or utility room and protects the wall surface underneath, another plus for ensuring you get your deposit back.

Always remove peel-and-stick tiles with care, contacting the manufacturer for the proper method for smooth removal.

4: Add Rugs

an orange morrocan style rug in front of a couch

Image Credit: AlfaRich | Buy on Etsy

The floors in rental spaces can often be a bit disappointing. There could be various reasons why you may wish to cover the original floor - maybe the previous tenants left stains or marks, or you simply want to add some warmth to a room with a hard floor. 

Rugs can do wonders if you've been met with an unsightly floor - not only do they bring a sense of cosiness, but they can also provide soundproofing for your downstairs neighbours and protect the floor underneath. While any rug can offer some of these benefits, large-area rugs can cover almost the entire floor, instantly transforming the atmosphere of the room with added warmth and cosiness.

5: Swap Out Your Lampshades

a rattan lampshade on a hanging ceiling pendant light

Image Credit: LuxuryLivinggGB | Buy on Etsy

The lampshades that usually come with a rental can sometimes appear bland, and more suited for a hospital waiting room - not the look to go for if you're trying to enhance the cosiness of your space. Selecting the right lampshade can help soften harsh lighting and increase the visual interest and depth of your space.

This could be made simple if your rental's ceiling lights already have clip-on lamp shades. It's just a case of swapping them out with a different lampshade that has the same attachment.

Besides simply swapping out your lampshade, there are other ways to dress up your rental's light fixtures and make them more interesting.

6: Cover Countertops with Vinyl Contact Paper

a counter top with removable vinyl peel and stick contact paper

Image Credit: jamesandcolors | Buy on Etsy

If your rental's kitchen or bathroom countertops are marked, stained or just downright ugly, there is a solution to upgrade their appearance.

Peel-and-stick contact paper is a quick and easy way to update your drab countertops and give your space a cohesive look with your personal style. It is a temporary solution that can transform the appearance of your countertops without the need for a full renovation. Just make sure you opt for contact paper that is made to be removable and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure the surface underneath remains undamaged. 

7: Disguise Ugly Features

a power perch covering an outlet topped with a diffuser and essential oils

Image Credit: StorageTheory | Buy on Etsy

While altering the appearance of your rental by adding decor is one way to upgrade its aesthetic, sometimes there are ugly but necessary, features that can hinder the appearance by simply being there.

Whether it's pipes or cables, there are plenty of renter-friendly ways to disguise them. One option is to simply arrange your furniture in front of these features, but that's not always possible, in which case you might consider using floor cable covers in situations where you can't pin cables neatly to the wall or skirting boards.

When it comes to outlets, they're another unsightly but necessary feature. While hiding them may not be possible, you could consider optimising them with something like a power perch, a solution which provides a small shelf for a simple decor item such as a small plant. These can help to camouflage the outlet and make it blend in better with the surrounding decor.

8: Vinyl Kitchen Cabinet Covers

Similarly to countertops, vinyl kitchen covers are another way to disguise the ugly or outdated cabinet doors that come with your rental. 

You can use these films to wrap around your kitchen cabinet's doors, which is an easy way to make them look more expensive. It also allows you to make changes that align with your interior design style.

Ensure you go for an option that is easily removable, and, to err on the side of caution, check with your landlord before applying.

Check out Beauty is Ageless's YouTube video above on their DIY kitchen makeover, featuring a super quick method for applying vinyl wrap to cabinet doors.

9: Lean Your Artwork

a framed poppy print leaning on top of a counter against a wall

Image Credit: BohemeStudioAVL | Buy on Etsy

This hack might seem overly simple, but it is an easy and aesthetic way to display your framed artwork, prints and photographs without needing to hang them up and risk damaging the walls of your rental. 

This is a great option if you have heavy art pieces that won't stay up on a basic adhesive hook and can achieve an artsy gallery look when you group multiple pieces together.

Leaning large framed pieces on the floor is one option, but you could also lean smaller pieces on top of console tables, sideboards, end tables or counters.

If you're concerned about the frames sliding down or being knocked over, consider attaching removable adhesive strips to secure them to the floor or surface they're resting on or placing a heavier decor item in front to keep them steady.

10: Replace Knobs and Handles

Leaf shaped cabinet handles

Most handles and knobs on kitchen cabinets, doors, or dresser drawers can be quickly replaced with something that better suits your style. This is because most handles and knobs are simply screwed in, which makes them easy to remove and replace with new ones. 

Just ensure you hold onto the original knobs or handles so you can put them back again when you move out of the rental.

11: Include Indoor Plants

multiple plants on two wooden plant stands

Image Credit: SparklingJewellers | Buy on Etsy

Another simple but effective way to uplift your rental is to include houseplants. Providing freshness and another level of dimension, implementing houseplants is a way to bring nature indoors, which can make even a stuffy top-floor apartment feel more energised.

Consider opting for a freestanding planter so you can have multiple plants in your rental without compromising space. 

Just because you're renting doesn't mean your space can't feel homey, cosy and personal. Try out some of these renter-friendly decor hacks for an affordable upgrade without risking your security deposit. Remember to check with your landlord before making any modifications, and be sure to follow the proper instructions when removing any temporary decor items to avoid unnecessary damage. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can make your rental feel like a true home.

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