How to Brighten Up a Rented Home

Many renters would agree that one of the biggest downfalls to living in a rented property is the limitations on what you can do to the interior.

Landlords will often have a long list of no-no’s, including not painting or hanging anything on the walls.

This can make rentals feel a little soulless, which is the last thing you want when you need a space to feel like home.

The good news is that there are plenty of handy hacks for brightening up a rented home and breathing in a little life without breaking your landlords rules.

Let’s talk through some top decor tips for rentals together with CIA Landlord Insurance.

Enhance Your Lighting

Lighting is everything when creating a mood, atmosphere and adding a bit of dimension to a property – and a comforting mood and atmosphere will instantly make a rental feel more snug and welcoming.

Image: Cult Furniture

Incorporate statement table or floor lamps where possible, particularly in the areas where you kick back and relax such as your sofa and bedroom. Lower wattage bulbs will give you that lazy, evening glow that will help you wind down and chill.

It’s also a good idea to layer up your lighting.

Combine lamps with bright spotlights, comforting candles and even twinkling fairy lights to make sure that your space is illuminated and radiant.

Go Green With Plants

Image: Sweetpea and Willow

It’s no secret that plants and flowers are the best way to breath some much needed life into a rented home.

Not only do they look cool and contemporary, but they will literally improve the air quality in your space.

You can really have fun with your flower and plant collection, experimenting with different colours, textures and quirky vases and pots to accessorise.

IKEA has a great collection of low maintenance plants for really reasonable prices.

Incorporate White

The chances are that the walls and flooring in your rented house will already be a neutral shade.

If they are white, then that’s great – it’s the perfect blank canvas to add a splash of your favourite colours and accessories too.

If your walls aren’t already white, then it’s worth asking your landlord if you can paint them. After all, how much more neutral can you get than white?

It’s the best colour to make a space feel bright, clear and airy.

It’s always worth finding out what your landlord will and won’t allow in terms of freshening up a property. They might be more open to changes than you think as you’re probably saving them a job.


Image: Loaf

Glossy, reflective surfaces will make a room feel bigger and brighter because they maximise the effect of lighting.

If you are into your metallics such as golds, silvers and coppers then incorporate them where you can in your appliances, storage and knick-knacks.

Alongside that, mirrors are a great go-to option for adding in a few reflective surfaces to the home.

Wall mounting is often a no-no in rentals but there’s nothing stopping you from propping mirrors up against walls instead.

Incorporate a tall free standing mirror in the bedroom, or prop a wall mirror up on a mantlepiece or a bookshelf to inject that all important dimension.

Cushions, Rugs & Throws

Image: Swoon Editions

Cushions, rugs and throws are the kind of little touches that work wonders in a tired looking property.

If you’re not a fan of the flooring in your rental, invest in some beautiful big rugs. That way, you can cover it up whilst embellishing a room with your own personal taste and style.

Similarly, if you aren’t a fan of the sofa in your rental, disguise it with the cosiest, most textured throws and cushions that you can find. With a cosy living space, you’ll look forward to coming home and getting comfy at the end of the day.

If you live in a rented property, how do you brighten it up and make it feel like home?


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Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram


  1. IRchitect
    August 9, 2019 / 4:28 pm

    Yep, definitely it’s quite different something you own vs. something you rent. Investing in things you’ll be able to pack and take with you is the best strategy.
    Thanks for the great advice!

  2. Joanne
    January 29, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    Hi. You have some great tips and ideas here, thank you. My daughter rents and she uses spring loaded tension rods at the windows from which she hangs light weight muslin curtains for privacy which I also thought was a good idea too.

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