Tips for Renters

We rented for 7 years before we were able to buy this house. It was hard being a DIY kind of girl and not being able to do much. But I learned a few things from that experience that I thought I would share today.

The first thing is (in my opinion) the most important.

*Invest in the things you CAN take with you.

When we lived in Las Vegas and were renting, my husband was in school and we didn’t have a ton of money. Our hand me down couch literally broke in half and had splintered wood sticking out of  it. We decided to take the plunge and buy a nice couch. We used our tax return and bough a leather couch. It was on sale but it was still a good chunk of change for college students. We had a couple little boys at that point so I wanted something that would be easy to clean.

I have never regretted buying it. We have owned it for almost 9 years. It is brown so it has matched all the different color schemes I have gone through.

invest in a good couch

I also bought a lot of accessories, lighting, picture frames, and rugs while we rented. Most of which I still use today.

Can’t Paint Your Walls?

After living with white walls for the 2 years I was in dorms at college and the 7 years we rented after getting married I was determined to have color on all my walls when we bought this house. I LOVE color! But while we rented I made up for the fact that the walls were white by adding art, photographs, and even fabric to the walls. I wish I had more pictures of my apartments. I didn’t blog then so I didn’t have much reason to take shots of just my house. I also had colorful pillows and painted side tables and other smaller furniture. Pretty much anything other than the walls and the main furniture pieces were COLOR.

As far as the walls go, you can add fabric as a temporary wallpaper or add vinyl that removes easily when it is time to move. A large colorful print or piece of art and take up a lot of the wall making the whiteness less noticeable. One thing I always did was have a large gallery wall of pictures that took up almost the whole wall.

Can’t make nail holes in the wall?

In college they handed out putty to all of us so we could hang things on the wall without making holes. I have bought and used putty ever since. Even though I now own my home, I sometimes change my mind often enough that I would rather just used a blob of putty instead of making holes. I also use it on the bottom two corners of pictures to keep them moving when bumped.

putty to save your walls from holes

Not enough storage?

There are books written about all the creative things you can do to increase your storage. I will just highlight a few.

Buy furniture that does double duty. A side table or coffee table that opens with storage, a bed that has drawers, or a bench that holds shoes.

Go vertical. Hang shelves all the way up the wall or put peg board in closets or on the back of a door. Take advantage of the wall space!

Conceal your crap in decorative boxes, baskets, drawers, etc. An organized space feels bigger!

I don’t rent anymore but I have a small home so I have to take advantage of these tips. Here are just some of the things I have done for more storage:

storage ideas!

Another hard thing about renting back when we were renters, was feeling like we had the best deal that also met our needs. We went by word of mouth back then. I am sure we missed out on some awesome apartments. I wanted to let you renters know that has introduced a new Rental App. Oh how technology has made things so simple :)

All right, now excuse me for a sec while I hop onto my colorfully spray painted soapbox that doubles as toy storage….

Don’t wait to decorate just because you are renting. Please. Make your space your own! You should love your space even if it is temporary. Here is a quote from one of my posts last year.

printable resized

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  1. Dina says

    Yes, it is little bit “lazy” for me to decorate my rent house because I always think that this place is temporarily only while I do not enjoy too much the house because I do not like the way of its interior design.

  2. says

    This is super helpful! We have rented since we got married almost four years ago, and will probably be renting for several more years since my husband is in medical school. I’ve struggled with trying to make our space into a home instead of just a house, but these tips are great! I love the idea of getting pieces you will use that will be able to be used in lots of color schemes. Thanks!

  3. says

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!!
    Having moved late August and going directly to work, it took awhile to even feel like decorating. My other obstacle is having dark paneling in the mobile so trying to lighten the rooms has been a challenge. Interestingly enough I have been geting things decoarted this past week with simple ideas that are easily removed for a future move. This is the only way I can resist the urge to remodel this rental!

  4. Renata says

    I remember a decorator on T.V. several years ago that used to say “It’s just paint! You can always paint over when you get ready to move!” I started renting about 6 years ago, I have been in three different houses in that time, and have painted all of them. I love color and found that I just didn’t want to live without color on my walls, so I was willing to do the extra work. I know it seems like a waste of money, painting only to repaint everything white again, but I was willing to do spend the money to love the space I was in. As it turns out, I haven’t had to repaint any of them, I let my landlords know what I was doing ahead of time, and since I don’t use dark or screaming bright colors, they were actually happy with the color choices and told me I could just leave them! I am once again getting ready to move( my husband’s job keeps us moving), and this time I will be painting, but I don’t mind. I have had two years in a space that I have loved!

  5. JOAN says

    I finally used putty after dealing with wobbly pictures one too many days. The only problem was when I would remove the pictures, the putty would stick to the frame and tear the drywall. Has this happened to you? I have recently repainted and am now nervous to hang anything up. Do you have any pointers?

    • Stacy says

      What brand do you use? I know there is some heavy duty stuff out there and regular. I have never had any issues with it sticking tot he wall or the frame. Maybe try another brand and use less?

  6. Amber says

    In the collage of pictures there is one of your kitchen and there is the white metal wall organizer from ikea. I noticed you had them numbered. Is that just for cute? The reason I ask is I hung one to keep mail organized but it’s in a very visual place. I was thinking I should number it instead of labeling it. I also saw some frames above it in your picture…is that part of it? Thanks!! Random I know ;)

  7. says

    I can understand how boring and difficult is to live in a rented house. I also had the problem of storage and I was not able to understand that where to store all the belongings. I am glad that you have shared this helpful information for renter because now days many people prefer to rent a home and in this situation your tips gonna very-very helpful for them.

  8. says

    Hi Stacy! These are some great tips, considering I’m currently living in dorm with some tough rules which make decorating limited.

    Just two questions about the putty as I’m hearing about it for the first time believe it or not.
    1) How much load can it handle?
    2) Does it dry away after a while?

  9. Nicole stanley says

    Being a tenant, I am limited to make changes to my rooms..we have been renting for a more than year now and sometimes I get bored with the outdated look. These are some great tips to add color to our space… I will definitely consider some of these tips to make it more appealing and fresh.

  10. Emily says

    I love this! My husband and I are newly married and I have had so much fun decorating our rental home. We are proud of the fact that we never bought anything from a furniture store! Everything is from garage sales, thrift stores, and hand-me-downs.

  11. says

    Hi, I live in a very small1 bedroom apartment small being the operative word here 500 sq. feet. I live on the 11th floor and face west, I live in Colorado and our mountains are west, I have an awesome view, especially when it snows, I also live close to a lake and have a great view of it as well. I live in a senior facility, where my rent is cheap I will be here till I’m carried out in a box, and I am making my little place my space They are remodeling our apts. I will get new carpet, new counter tops in bath and kitchen they are going to remove the carpeting in my lil dining room, and put new lino down, which I will love because its so hard to keep carpet clean right next to the kitchen. I am proud of my little place and am consistently rearrainging things, I am now into Shabby Chic so I have lots of lace around and find ideas on the internet and your web sight. Thanks a lot!! My meaning is I wouldn’t give up my view for a larger space, I am making do with my LIL home!!

  12. Nikki says

    I just stumbled on this post on Pinterest and what originally caught me eye is those wooden storage shelves you have in the picture. Where did you find these treasures!? I am an interior designer and as well as an apartment renter. These are perfect for my design schemes. Please share <3