You’ve found the perfect apartment to rent and can see the potential for it to be a great space but your landlord’s rules are making it impossible to make the space feel like your own. No drilling holes in the walls. No repainting. No changing up the awful colored carpet in your living room. It can be a frustrating process when all you really want to do is make it feel like home without losing your deposit!

With the help of our #mywestelm gallery, and some top tips from our home stylists, we’ve pulled together the ultimate renter’s guide to decorating and how you can style the space within the confines of your landlord’s house rules!

1. Storage, storage, storage

Renter's Guide to Decorating | west elm

“It’s rare to move in to a rental with storage. Adding multipurpose pieces (like this Industrial Modular Storage) will give you room to hide away clutter, display art work and store books for example. It’s an easy way to make it feel like home!”

2. Let there be light!

Renter's Guide To Decorating  | west elm

“Lighting fixtures (like this chandelier)are super easy to switch out for an instant transformation. Replacing an outdated or conventional fixture with something more stylish and modern is a quick and cost-effective way to refresh a rental space.”

3. Rugs help eliminate an all-white space.

Renter's Guide to Decorating | west elm

“Rugs are a great way to cover up ugly floors – especially rentals with carpet! As it’s a rented space, pick out a rug that is neutral enough for it to work in whatever space you might move on to next. (The Souk rug is a great example).”

4. Can’t hang art? Rest it!

Renter's Guide to Decorating

“Most rentals will allow you to hang art on the proviso that you patch up any holes made in the walls before you move out. To avoid this hassle, resting your art work on side tables (like this Modern buffet), desks or shelves is a great alternative. It’s super easy to switch up if you get bored of it too!”

5. Plants make great masks!

Renter's Guide to Decorating | west elm

“A rented apartment often means there’s a lot of white wall space. Plants are a great way to mask white space, especially if you don’t have enough furniture to fill the space. Be sure to mix up the sizes and types of plants. It’s a great way to add some greenery especially in apartments that don’t have garden space! The plants next to this Mid-Century Media unit are a great example!”

6. Add some color with pillows.

Renter's Guide to Decorating | west elm

“Colorful pillows and throws whether scattered/draped on a bed or sofa, are a great way to inject some color and personality into a rented space. Mix up sizes, textures and colors for a winning style!”

What are you top tips for decorating a rental space?

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jefffery mills

September 10, 2015

inspired design


September 20, 2015

Thank you – great pieces and so inspiring


March 24, 2016

I try to respect the space and decorate around whatever unconventional features may be present within my apartment. For example, in my previous apartment, I had only ONE closet. Imagine a NYC girl with only one closet to work with. I ordered a wine rack that I used to store my towels since I didn’t have an actual linen closet. The couch I had offered storage compartments underneath it so I was able to store out of season clothes and linen. It’s all about making the limited (again because I live in NYC) amount of space you have, FUNCTIONAL!

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