The most important tip to decorate your rental home. Vaulted ceiling, open concept home. Living room in foreground, dining room and kitchen to the back.

The Most Important Tip to Decorate Your Rental Home

Posted on Posted in Homemaking

Rental homes. We love ’em, we hate ’em. And with a damage deposit looming over your head it’s hard to know how you can make a place that’s “not your home” homey. Luckily, with a little bit of creativity you can decorate your rental home and create a personalized space you can be proud of.


I’ve been mulling over this decorating issue for a couple weeks now, thinking there must be a way to personalize a rental without “ruining” the place or spending a bunch of money. And why have I been thinking these things? Well, I have to tell you, we moved again!

For the past two years of marriage, my husband Cliff and I have lived in 11 different places, soon to be 12. The latest location is (drum roll please….) Belize!

Yes, this gorgeous paradise of a place is my home for the time being!

But anyway, another move means another home, and another home means another place to decorate and make our own, because who wants to live in an impersonal space, right? Not me. I want a cozy, familiar place with personal touches that I can enjoy living in.

Isn’t it cute?! Such a cheery yellow.

Little yellow house with a big front porch with no railing. There's a bicycle leaning against the porch and it's a sunny summer day.
Here’s our cute little home!
Yellow, outside wall of house.
Bright, cheery, yellow.

Now, while our tiny, three room home is wonderful, renting in a foreign country for a short time poses some complications for my decorating efforts. Not only am I decorating, but I also don’t want to buy much since we’ll be moving out of country again, leaving behind most everything we’ve bought.

So the question is, how can you decorate your rental home without wasting a bunch of money?

Let’s dig into that question, shall we?

The Most Important Tip to Decorate Your Rental Home

When you’re looking to decorate your rental and spiff it up nice, you should ask yourself, What are the eye-sores?”. Where could you make the most impact with the least effort? What places could you work on that would improve the look and feel of your home the most?

Kitchen counter corner, sinks on the right and open counter on the left.
Before: Plain walls and unfinished corner counter.

For me, those places were the corner section of the counter (which is an unfinished slab of wood), the wall at the back of the kitchen, and the side wall above my kitchen counter. Those wall panels are the oldest in the house and though they used to be white, they are spotted and smudged with food and oil splashes, sticky remnants of tape, and general grunge. Painting would have been nice, but whatever. I had to get a little more creative.

So what I did was this: on a Saturday afternoon I decided to check out some local yard sales and see if I could find something, anything, to decorate with.

And I did!

I found a simple plastic/lace table runner, an ivory/beige crocheted table runner, and some white yarn. Very basic, but very versatile.

After humming and hawing over where I would put my decorations I finally decided to rearrange some things and pinned the crochet runner under the kitchen window, sort of like a back splash. I was amazed at how much better the kitchen looked!

How much more complete it looked.

Sure, it’s still not stellar, but that simple little improvement really makes a difference, right? And that little runner was only 50 cents so I’m pretty happy about it.

Corner counters, clear counter on the left, sinks on the right.
After: the plastic/lace runner is in the corner covering the unfinished counter and the crochet runner really cleans up the look of the counter.

Next, I put the plastic/lace runner in the corner to cover the unfinished counter. I figured that using the plastic there would make cleaning easier as well, so yay me! It even looks pretty good.

Bananas and water jug on white kitchen counter
The plastic/lace table runner really cleans up the place.   Note all the amazing, fresh bananas we get in this tropical country!

These are just two items I’ve used to decorate our place so far and I am amazed at how much of an impact these two little things have made! Sure, we still have four bare walls to deal with, but this is already an improvement and makes the place feel more homey.

It just goes to show you that if you use a little creativity, you can decorate your rental without paying a fortune for things that’ll eventually be stored in boxes, never to be used again, or thrown in the trash. You can create a homey little space for you and your family without breaking the bank.

I still plan on working on decorating my little home, but for now, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.

So when you’re wanting to decorate your rental home, the most important tip I can give you is to look for the biggest eye-sore, and then attack it. 

If you can creatively cover it up you will have made a huge impact on the feel of your home, with that one simple thing! And the satisfaction you’ll have will be priceless.

So enjoy your rental. Enjoy putting your personal touch into it and making it home.


And when you’re moved into your rental home, check out these posts on how to thoroughly clean your home so you can really settle in.

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