30 Apartment Decorating Ideas Guaranteed to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home

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Whether you're decorating a new apartment or looking to breathe new life into your existing digs, it's always a good time to level up your surroundings. Redecorating offers you the chance to take some design risks, solve issues that have been bugging you for a while, and make your space function even better.


As anyone who has ever rented can tell you, however, when you live in an apartment your home improvement projects are somewhat limited to temporary (read: reversible) changes. Unless, of course, you have a really cool landlord who is willing to let you make permanent adjustments.

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But despite the hurdles of apartment decorating, you can still have plenty of fun with a rental space. Little changes will make a big impact, and for size reasons, it's easier to make an apartment feel cozy than it is an entire house. And though some people view apartment living as temporary, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make it feel homey while you're there.

"When you're renting, invest in things you can take with you to any home: beautiful rugs, light fixtures, mirrors, art," says Nicole Alexander, founder and principal designer of Siren Betty Design. "If you're going to buy an expensive sofa, chair, or dresser, make sure it's of a reasonable size so that it could easily work in your next home."

Ready to get started? Scroll ahead for 30 creative apartment decorating ideas that will help you beautify your humble abode.


30 Apartment Decorating Ideas

1. Reflect light with mirrors.

Allow us to let you in on a little interior design secret: Mirrors can help make small spaces appear brighter and larger than they really are, since they reflect light. This trick is especially helpful in a dimly lit rooms, which apartments are notorious for having. Not to mention mirrors are highly versatile — they come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, styles, and finishes. Plus, they look good in any room of the house.


One quick and easy way to add a bit of personality and a pop of color to your apartment is with artwork. Consider a gallery wall to fill that blank space above your sofa. Nowadays, there is a plethora of sources, like Society6, where you can get eye-catching and unique prints without breaking the bank.



3. Hang curtains as room dividers.

Privacy can be hard to come by in a small apartment, especially if you live in a studio or loft. Using a curtain as a room divider (even if it's just around your bed) is an easy and splurge-free way to divide your space. For an added bonus, try layering sheer white curtains to create an ethereal effect.


4. Welcome greenery.

Lush foliage is an easy apartment decorating idea that will instantly add visual interest, texture, and color. The most important thing to keep in mind is whether or not you have enough natural light in your apartment for plants, but if you do, add a few or go all out with an indoor jungle. They're sure to add some life to your home.


5. Go way up high with wrap-around shelving.

Have you ever stopped to think about all of the unused space near the ceiling? There's a lot of it! Don't let it go to waste — fill it with wrap-around bookshelves. Positioning the shelves just below the ceiling draws the eyes up and makes the room seem taller, while the continuous line created by wrapping the shelving around the room makes it seem larger. Plus, you get those pesky space-eating books out of the way, and you don't have to take up valuable floor space with a bookcase.



6. Delineate space with an area rug.

In an open apartment layout, such as a studio or loft, area rugs are a great way to designate boundaries between two areas. With the help of color, pattern, and texture, they act as subtle yet effective transitions from one spot to the next. Plus, they add a soft, cozy layer your feet will appreciate.


7. Keep it organized.

One of the secrets to successful apartment decorating is finding creative and stylish ways to stay organized. We know this doesn't sound like the sexiest idea, but decluttering your space is half the battle. Then, you can bring in organizers like this coat and shoe rack ladder, which will keep your entryway looking its best.


8. Get creative with pegboards.

The secret weapon of savvy, creative apartment-dwellers, the the pegboard has tons of unexpected uses. It's both affordable and spatially economical, and it's adjustable to boot. Rearrange the shelves (or nix them all together and just use pegs) any time you want to switch things up. We really like the trio that Mandi from Vintage Revivals employed in this living room makeover.


9. Don't forget about the corners.

When decorating an apartment, there isn't a square inch to waste. Use all of the available space, including the corners. Follow the lead of this bedroom nook by Angela Lewis, and turn to a pair of potted plants and a standing mirror to effortlessly dress up your space.

10. Have fun with wall decals.

Here's a plant that doesn't need sun or water ​‌and‌​ doesn't take up a single inch of precious square footage. You can pick up this verdant wall decal from BLIK. DIY projects don't get much easier than this, after all. (Pro tip: You can customize the decal to your heart's content using a pair of scissors.)

11. Add dimension with textured throw pillows.

Want a quick and easy way to dress up your sofa, bed, and lounge chairs? Enter accent pillows. These plush cushions are oh-so handy and come in a plethora of different sizes, textures, colors, and patterns. They can instantly add depth, dimension, and personality to any room they're displayed in. Warning: Once you buy one pillow, you might find it hard to stop.


12. Carve out space for dining.

Apartments often don't have a separate dining room, but that doesn't mean you can't create one. With a little creative space-planning, it's entirely possible to carve out enough room for a petite table and a couple of chairs. This tiny setup, complete with a round area rug, is a picture-perfect example.

13. Pay attention to the hallway.

With so much attention being paid to larger areas like the living room and bedroom, the hallway is often an afterthought. But this little thoroughfare deserves some consideration. You don't have to do anything extensive, but consider hanging a few pieces of art and throwing down a runner.

14. Choose a cohesive color scheme.

Stick to a color palette throughout your apartment for a cohesive finish, especially if you're working with an open layout. For instance, in this studio apartment belonging to Keys Smith, the dining area, with its white table and gray chairs, echoes the colors of the sofa and sideboard seen in the living room. Even the bed linens and headboard complement the neutral scheme.

15. Opt for a petite nightstand.

One of the downsides to apartment living is that you often have to make do with a small bedroom. This calls for furniture pieces that are proportionate. Take, for example, the space-efficient nightstand tucked in snugly between the bed and the sofa in this apartment belonging to Karst Rauhé, featured on Jojotastic. Bonus points for the midcentury flair.

16. Choose multipurpose pieces.

As you sift through design ideas for your living room, you might be fixated on traditional coffee tables. Instead, we propose the route that Courtney Michaels took in her boho-inspired space: using a large, tufted ottoman as an alternative table. It also works as a footrest and additional seating in a pinch.

17. Put the walls to work.

Sure, you could fill your limited wall space with artwork. Or, you could use it for functional shelving à la Kyle Krieger. Go with a ladder-style solution to display an assortment of books, candles, and houseplants. Add a couple of floating shelves for good measure.

18. Go for light, neutral paint colors.

Darker colors tend to make spaces appear closed-off, while lighter colors create a sense of openness. Pick a soft, neutral tone for your walls to make your apartment feel bigger. This studio by Gravity Home keeps everything light and bright for a spacious look.

19. Try vertical gardening.

If square footage is at a premium and you don't have room on the floor for potted plants, consider a vertical garden — it's a relatively easy DIY project if you're up for the challenge. This one by Jessica Welling Interiors uses simple wood planks and terra cotta pots to allow all the green leaves to take center stage.

20. Swap your bar for a bar cart.

Not only are bar carts a space-efficient (and portable!) way to organize libations, but they also come in a variety of styles. Plus, they're versatile: Use them to serve your guests (and yourself) snacks and meals as well as drinks. This bar cart adds both function and flair thanks to its bright colors and visual appeal.

21. Hang floor-to-ceiling curtains to create the illusion of height.

Curtains that flow from the ceiling all the way down to the floor have a lengthening effect. These extra-long window treatments do the trick of drawing the eye upward, creating the appearance of height. To make the most of the optical illusion, choose curtains that have some color so they really pop.

22. Skip the headboard.

Headboards, especially big, tufted ones, can take up a surprising amount of space. So skip them altogether, as demonstrated in this bedroom. A simple mirror or piece of art above the bed and a couple pillows are all you need.

23. Display only your favorite objects.

When working with an apartment, you'll likely need to adhere to the "less is more" philosophy. In other words, be ‌very‌ picky with your decor choices. Keep to a tight color palette and display only the items you cherish the most, like the carefully chosen accents in this petite kitchen.

24. Choose light fixtures carefully.

Overhead lighting choices are critical to making a small apartment appear bright, cheerful, and spacious. The lighter in color your fixtures are, the brighter the room will appear, so go for glass fixtures, bare bulbs, or neutral shades. We love the organic shape of the pendant in this breakfast nook styled by Zoe Feldman Design.

25. Use a shelving unit that doubles as wall art.

Shelves don't have to be boring. The large unit in this apartment by Caitlin McCarthy Design combines open shelves with cabinets, in both wood and metallic finishes. It provides a display area that not only lets trinkets shine but also serves as an art piece in its own right.

26. Look for furniture with storage space.

If there's one thing an apartment can never have too much of, it's storage space. To add a little more, go for a multipurpose bed like this one from West Elm. Use the drawers for out-of-season clothes, extra linens, or anything else you'd like to keep out of sight.

27. Add a floor lamp.

One of the quickest ways to make an apartment feel more like home is to stop using the overhead lights, or supplement them with additional sources. To make a big design statement, pick an unusual floor lamp, like the sculptural one in this living space designed by Greg Natale. The spherical shape beautifully offsets the angular pattern of the area rug.

28. Upgrade your trash can.

Who says garbage has to be ugly? Pick up an aesthetically pleasing trash can like the one in this room by Erin Gates Design for a fun pop. Its orange hue perfectly coordinates with the chair and desk lamps, bringing the whole desk nook together. Try the same trick in a bathroom or bedroom.

29. Keep tools off your countertop.

The clean lines of the magnetic knife rack in the kitchen designed by Studio MRS keep tools within reach and free up precious countertop space. More streamlined than a knife block and more accessible than a drawer, this handy device is perfect for small spaces. Plus, they'll work for any metal object, including whisks and tongs.

30. Play with color.

Although white walls and light hues will make your apartment look the most spacious, that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to color. One way to bring it back? Through accents like throw pillows, chair cushions, vases, and dishware — even appliances like the bubblegum pink fridge in this space by Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design.



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