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13 Rental Decorating Ideas to Make Any Space Functional and Stylish

Decorating a rental, whether it’s an apartment or a house, often comes with unique design challenges. The most obvious being you can’t make any extensive or permanent changes to your rental space.

For instance, you might not be allowed to change out light fixtures or even hang big art pieces that might be too heavy for the walls. You might also be dealing with an older apartment or home that has carpeting you can’t replace. Or maybe you have to work with funky interior architecture, like narrow hallways and mirrored closet doors you can’t swap out. Additionally, renting also often means you might want to hold off on investing in quality furniture because you plan on moving again in the near future. The list goes on.

To provide you with some inspiration and guidance, we’ve rounded up temporary decorating ideas for renters that are easy to pull off, no matter your space. Read on for our list of stylish and functional rental decor tips—which guarantee you’ll get your deposit back when you leave.

Just moved into a rental and starting from scratch? Check out our where to skimp vs splurge in a new home to kick things off. Then scroll through our apartment furniture checklist for the right pieces, and make it all work with these studio apartment layout ideas!

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1. Paint an Accent Wall to Add Depth

If your landlord lets you paint, consider painting an accent wall. It tops our list for favorite rental decorating ideas that are low lift with major impact. A little wall color can add a lot of personalities, and painting just one wall is easier to reverse when you have to re-paint your space back to the original color before moving out.

If you live in a large space, a dark wall color becomes an immediate focal point that also warms up the room. If you live in a small rental apartment that’s pressed for space, going with a softer wall color will help infuse a lighter and more airy look and feel. Also, check out our small apartment design tips for more easy ways to style up a tiny rental.

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2. Try Removable Wallpaper for a Bold (but Reversible) Statement

If painting is not an option, consider peel-and-stick wallpaper for an accent wall that brings an instant splash of color and texture to your rental. While removable wallpaper can seem daunting, there are plenty of new and improved options that are perfect for decorating a rental.

Try covering a wall with removable geometric wallpaper for a bold look. If you’re not sure wallpaper is for you, hang a large wall tapestry instead for an even more temporary solution that’s equally captivating.

blue bedroom natural texture side table sconce lamp

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3. Layer Your Lighting for a Cozier Feel

With most rentals, there’s typically just overhead lighting or sometimes none at all. Bringing in an array of different lighting is a great way to brighten as well as warm-up a rental space.

Think floor lamps, table lamps, candles, and plug-in sconces, which all make for stylish lighting that will illuminate rooms at different heights. A layered lighting mix also provides various focal points that invite the eye to explore a room. Try opting for lighting in twos, such as matching table lamps or one placed next to a floor lamp, to bring an amplified glow to bedrooms, living space corners, and seating areas.

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4. Opt for Versatile Pieces That You Can Take with You

Look for versatile pieces that can fit into different spaces and travel with you for the long haul, such as lightweight benches, ottomans, and stools. If you’re keen on having a sectional sofa, choose a modular design that can be configured as needed for your space—which will give you more flexibility than a fixed L-shaped seat.

The key is to steer away from furniture that only works in your current rental because chances are you’re going to have to upgrade or downsize when you move out—whereas you can always find a place for more compact, versatile pieces.

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5. Swap Out Hardware and Fixtures for a Small-But-Mighty Transformation

Not every rental will let you switch out the generic hardware and fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom like cabinet pulls, drawer knobs, and towel bars. But if they do, don’t hesitate.

Replacing small hardware makes for a super stylish upgrade that can add major personality to your rental apartment or home. It’s an inexpensive way to give your rental kitchen or bath a custom look that’s chic and elevated. And if you’re extra ambitious, try bringing in new light fixtures to replace the existing ones in your rental—though we recommend calling in a professional to help if there’s wiring involved!

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6. Dress Windows with Drapery for Privacy and Style

Window treatments, such as blinds and drapery, are low-lift accents that are perfect for rentals and always deliver a custom look.

Make it a point to replace those flimsy plastic blinds in your rental with roller shades or roman blinds. Hang curtains over it for a layered look that also helps to control the amount of light streaming into your space. If you have low ceilings, hanging curtains high above your windows will help make your ceilings feel taller also—a neat trick our Modsy designers love.

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7. Pull in Area Rugs (Even Over Carpet)

The best way to cozy up any rental apartment or home is from the ground up with area rugs, particularly in frequented spaces like the living room and bedroom.

Not only are rugs a great way to cover up unsightly floors or old buildings with carpeting, they can also add a bit of padding that dampens noise. We love layering rugs in a living area (like a natural fiber rug piled with a colorful kilim) and piling more textured and fluffy rugs in the bedroom (think a cowhide topped with a sheepskin). Just remember to add rug pads to protect your floors from scuffs and keep you from tripping over your rugs!

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8. Hang (or Prop) Some Art

Just because you live in a rental doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on art. Give your walls a boost with a large colorful art piece or a gallery wall of photographs.

If you’re worried about nailing holes into your walls, use command hooks instead. Or you can skip the hanging altogether and lean your art on a bookcase or console for an equally eye-catching display that doesn’t involve any hammering and nailing.

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9. Add Life with Greenery

Whether it’s a lush and leafy indoor tree or just a collection of succulents, greenery is always the best way to bring your rental spaces to life.

They not only add color and texture, they also offer an organic touch that ushers in a happy and relaxed atmosphere in a rental. Moreover, plants and greenery can purify the air and instantly lift the mood in even the most sterile or cookie-cutter rental apartment or house.

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10. Look for Modular Furniture

Maximum flexibility is the M.O. if you live in a rental apartment or home. That means any furniture that’s designed to be easily disassembled and reconfigured is always a good idea because they make moving easier as well as let you change up your room layout as needed.

Consider a sectional or sofa that comes in separable modular pieces. This guarantees they’re easy to move and will likely fit into your rental spaces. Still, be sure to measure any narrow hallways and staircases to make sure the furniture you’re buying can fit through the doorway. Many retailers won’t accept refunds nor will they help you figure out how to get rid of the piece if it doesn’t fit into your space!

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11. Sneak in Smart Storage

So much of decorating a rental is about making it feel like a permanent home. Streamlining your visual clutter can help bring an organized look that plays up a neat, homey vibe.

Try adding a bench with hidden storage in your apartment entry or tuck away baskets and bins in bookshelves and under your bed. By keeping your rental organized and orderly, you’ll instantly set an inviting and lived-in tone in your space that feels like a forever home.

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12. Fake Some Built-Ins

One of our more ambitious rental decorating ideas is to anchor a wall with a series of low-profile bookcases that mimic built-in shelving from afar.

By lining a wall with identical bookcases, you can create room for tons of storage for books, decor, art, and display objects that show off your personality. It’s a great makeshift way to play up the look of stylish built-in shelving in a rental without actually making a dent in your space.

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13. Zone Out Your Space for Maximum Usability

Rental apartments can often feel like uninspiring empty rooms. The trick is to transform an open room into various smaller areas for different purposes, like a living space that doubles as a dining space or is zoned to incorporate a small apartment office.

Use rugs and furniture to act as room dividers between different zones and spaces. A low bookshelf is a great way to separate a living area and a workspace, while a floating sofa can double as a marker that delineates your seating area from your dining space.

Use Modsy to show your landlord the changes you want to make. Seeing it in 3D will help them visualize the impact of the changes and perhaps make them more agreeable to larger changes!

Revamp your rental apartment and home now!

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Modsy 2018 Holiday Gift Guides – Gifts For Everyone on Your List

Modsy Gift Guide

Tis the season for gifting! We all know the feeling when you find the perfect gift for that special someone on your list – a sense of pure accomplishment!

But more often than not, you might find yourself racking your brain for gift ideas and coming up empty handed. We know the feeling.

To help you “sleigh” the gift exchange this year, we rounded up some of our favorite gifts for all kinds of home owners and homebodies in one place. So no matter if your special someone just purchased a new home or is expecting a new addition, we’ve got gifts galore that are sure to delight!

Read on for this year’s Modsy gift guides for homes of all shapes and sizes!

Modsy Gift GuidesGifts for New Homeowners

Welcome home! If someone you know just purchased a new home, you’re in luck. Not only does this mean a housewarming party in your near future, it also makes gifting that much easier. Peek some of our favorite gifts for new homeowners below!

Shop Gifts for New Homeowners

1. Cookbook Stand

Now that they finally have a kitchen of their own (and – hopefully – a dining room to go with it) help them make the most of it with a cookbook stand. Hopefully they’ll take the subtle hint and invite you over for a home-cooked meal!

2. Ceramic Vase with Olive Spray

Historically a symbol of peace, extend a faux olive branch to your new homeowners this holiday. Complete with a matching ceramic vase, this is the perfect way to instantly warm up any new home.

3. Oil Splatter Lacquer Tray

Like a piece of art, but for their coffee table. This splatter tray is perfect for serving cocktails, organizing magazines, and even for serving breakfast in bed.

4. Ona Large Pitcher

Sleek and stylish, you might mistake this pitcher as a work of art on loan from the MoMA. New homeowners will love serving drinks in this statement pitcher. You can even suggest they use it as a vase for an extra eclectic touch!

5. Velvet Throw Pillows

New homes often take a while before they feel fully designed. Gift these plush velvet pillows to any new homeowner in your life and watch as they instantly polish up any space.

6. Cozy Up Doormat

Nothing says welcome home like a doormat! The perfect housewarming gift, this Cozy Up doormat is both stylish and functional.

7. Fold Gold Serving Platter

Serve up a pop of texture with this gold hammered tray. The raised edges make for easy set down/pick up and add a distinctly eclectic touch.

8. Cocktail Glasses

Help your new homeowners ease into their place by gifting them these sophisticated and stylish cocktail glasses. A step above your usual glassware, the textured stem makes these an instant favorite for 5 o’clock drinks any time.

9. Modsy Design Package

Living out of boxes is certainly no fun. If your new homeowner friend needs a little help cracking the design of their new pad, a Modsy Design Package might be the perfect solution. Shop our gift cards here!

Modsy Gift GuidesGifts for Empty Nesters

On the other hand, you might know some folks whose kids have flown the coop and are now looking at a new phase of their life as empty nesters. Aside from rethinking their entire home (and turning those extra bedrooms into home gyms) help your empty nester celebrate this new phase of their life with some of our favorite gifts below!

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1. Man Ray Chess Set

Based on the original design by Dada-Surrealist artist Man Ray, this chess set is the perfect gift for lovers of modern art and design. Each piece in the set is comprised of an abstract geometric form, making this both a game and a work of art!

2. Acropolis Bookends

Marble bookends wrapped in gold foil are the perfect addition to any bibliophile’s collection. Empty nesters can use them as simple decor or to hold your old photo albums.

3. Wall Frame Triptych

What do you get the parent who doesn’t want anything? Framed photos of yourself always do the trick! This trio has room to house photos of the whole family.

4. Salon Black Tray

Add a little French bistro flair to your empty nesters’ home. With its unique caned surface, this serving tray is sure to spice up any interior.

5. Large Brass Bowl

You really can’t go wrong with a beautiful decorative bowl. Especially this brass number that sports a gorgeously antiqued exterior.

6. Brass Candle Wick Trimmer

Leave it to the empty nesters to have all the bits, bobbles, and gadgets that take a simple house into a well-collected home. This brass candle wick trimmer is the perfect piece to not only extend the life of their new favorite soy wax candle, but also looks pretty sophisticated on the coffee table.

7. Empoli Tall Rectangular Vase

Now that the kids are out of the house, your empty nesters can feel free to display beautiful and fragile ceramics anywhere they like! This handcrafted vase is the perfect addition to a credenza or fireplace mantle.

8. Islay Whiskey Set

You don’t have to love whiskey to add this gorgeous whiskey set to your living room (although it certainly helps). Featuring a decanter, two tumblers, a serving jug, and walnut accessories, this whiskey set is the perfect addition to any empty nesters’ home bar.

9. Marble Tray

Pure and simple, this marble tray is a classic and beautiful addition to any home. Your empty nesters can serve up a gorgeous charcuterie board, keep remotes corralled on the coffee table, or keep the sugar and cream close by for their morning coffee.

Modsy Gift GuidesGifts for Renters

The best gifts for renters are usually small, easy to move, and functional. Please don’t gift your renter friends a new marble coffee table – they probably can’t take it with them to their next place and that will just be awkward for the both of you. Instead, consider one of these gifts from our Renter Gift Guide below!

Shop Gifts for Renters

1. White Sand Hour Glass

Looking for a cute (but functional) piece of decor for your renter? Try an hourglass. These guys are fun, compact, and kind of useful. Easy to pack up, your renter won’t have to stress about moving it from place to place with them in the future.

2. Faux Green Echeveria

One of the biggest takeaways from our 2018 Trend Report? Plants are in! And not just any plants – faux foliage is trending big time. We love this faux succulent arrangement to bring some greenery to your renter’s abode, without the stress of caring for a real plant.

3. Amber and Cardamom Soy Candle

The best way to add a little ambiance to any interior is with a scented candle. This soy number from CB2 is equal parts spicy and woody. It comes in a cute ceramic vessel to boot, making it useful even after all the wax is gone.

4. Black Band Floor Basket

Often times storage is at a premium in rented apartments. Baskets are a great place to stash excess clutter, and we love the minimal style and sturdy construction of this floor basket.

5. Mantis Wall Sconce

When it comes to added lighting, a plug-in sconce is a renter’s best friend. The Mantis sconce features a 360 degree swivel and is a great way to save floor space in small apartments.

6. Bermuda Pouf

Not only did this pouf make our best seller list, it is also one of the most versatile pieces of decor out there. Use it as an extra seat, a foot rest, or even topped with a tray as a side table in a pinch. Renters are sure to love this pouf!

7. Smeg Retro Electric Kettle

If your renter can still recall their collage days with ease, this electric kettle will be a welcome upgrade to an old standby. Perfect for making a cup of tea (or even top ramen in a pinch), this retro kettle also looks good doing it.

8. Chemex Coffee Maker

One of the simplest ways to brew coffee, the Chemex also yields a delicious result. A staple for all instagrammable kitchens, your renter can also use their new Chemex as a vase for beautiful flower arrangements in a pinch!

9. Faux Mohair Faux Sherpa Throw

Help your renter stay cozy year-round with this faux sherpa throw. It’s an ultra plush upgrade that features a minimal plaid pattern for extra style.

Modsy Gift GuidesGifts for Expecting Parents

Soon-to-be parents on your gift list? When it comes to babies and nurseries, it can be extra tricky to find the right gift as many key purchases are highly personal. Our gift guide features a few tried and true gift ideas as well as some outside the box options you may not have thought of.

Shop Gifts for Expecting Parents

1. Round Belly Baskets

Help your expecting giftees conquer clutter in a cute way with these baskets. The natural and white colors pair perfectly with any nursery theme and can still be used years from now in a toddler room or even the living space.

2. Matte Black Picture Frames

You really can’t go wrong with a nice set of frames to help expecting parents put their precious memories on display. These matte black options can be hung or propped and go with any style of decor.

3. Nespresso

Because sleep will no longer be their friend. Give your expecting parents the gift of an easy-to-make espresso to help them get through the long days after the sleepless nights.

4. Emily & Meritt Star Ceiling Mobile

This magical mobile is the perfect gift to crown any crib. Perfect for boys, girls, and gender-neutral nurseries alike, it’s a gift that they’ll be sure to use.

5. Faux Mohair Sherpa Throw

Help your expecting parents stay super cozy with this faux sherpa throw. It’s an ultra plush upgrade that can be tossed in the wash for easy cleaning.

6. Kids Books

You can’t go wrong with some cute and classic kid books. These are just a few of our picks, filled with amazing illustrations to delight parents and kiddos alike!

7. Nuuk Sheepskin Throw

So soft and plush, you may decide to keep this throw for yourself. Like snuggling into a cloud, this is sure to make a fantastic backdrop for all the adorable baby photos soon to come!