These Easy Decorating Ideas Will Make Styling Your Rental a Total Breeze

Figuring out how to style a small rental can be a major challenge for anyone. Without a ton of room to play around with — and with limitations on what you can and can't do to elements like walls and cabinetry — bringing your sense of style to these spaces can take some extra creativity and flexibility. Fortunately, there are plenty of design tips that can help you make the most of your small space and even make your rental feel bigger and breezier!

"When you can't make more space, you can always employ some apartment design ideas that make it look like you have more space," Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at online interior-design service Modsy, told POPSUGAR. Whether you're moving into a new place or looking to spruce up your current home, these tips can help you personalize your rental using small changes that make a big impact.


Make the Most of Vertical Space

"You may not have a lot of square footage in your space, but you can make the absolute most of it by going vertical," Wood said. One easy idea? Bookcases — both typical and unusual!

"Bookcases make use of your space vertically so you can maximize storage while minimizing use of floor space," she explained. "Try swapping your nightstand or side table for a bookcase. Even consider finding a bookcase with a built-in desk option."


Add Mirrors

Mirrors are a timeless trick for making a small space seem bigger, and they are nonpermanent installations that are perfect for rentals.

"For small, darker spaces in particular, mirrors reflect even the smallest bit of light to help a room appear larger and brighter," Wood explained. "If you've got a smaller space, consider adding a mirror to a wall or corner to help brighten it up. You'll notice the difference immensely."


Freshen a Wall With Removable Wallpaper

Living in a rental typically means that the usual sprucing-up option of a fresh coat of paint isn't an option. The affordable and easy alternative: peel-and-stick removable wallpaper. Whether you're covering a whole room or just an accent wall, it's a great way to make a big — but temporary — impact.

"Removable wallpaper is my favorite affordable way to upgrade the aura of a room," Wood shared. "It can add a pop of color and showcase your personal style in a bold way."


Don't Opt For Opaque Furniture

"Opting for pieces made of glass or acrylic is a great way to trick the eye into thinking your space is larger than it is," Wood said. That doesn't mean you have to go full-on Lucite land, though; just one or two pieces will make a big difference. "Skip the bulky wooden coffee table in favor of a glass or acrylic option," Wood said. "It'll make your space look more open and airy, which in turn will help it feel larger."


Find Alternative Storage Options

In a small rental, you may find yourself with only one closet and not much room for extra storage. But a lack of storage doesn't have to be a deal-breaker.

"Look for beds that come with storage or have space underneath to place storage bins," Wood suggested, along with the more-typical option of adding stylish bookshelves. "I love finding cool baskets or closed storage boxes for hiding messes, my dog's 50,000 toys, and things you don't need on display."


Avoid Low-to-the-Ground Furniture

Making small spaces feel bigger is often about tricking the eye, and leaving some visual space is one big way to make everything feel lighter and airier.

"Nothing makes a small space look even smaller like a bulky sofa plopped right on the floor," Wood explained. "Instead, try using furniture that sits high up off the floor to make your small space look roomier. Pieces with long, tapered legs are a perfect choice."


Add Window Treatments

Though you won't want to invest in serious window treatments while in a short-term rental, there are several options you can try that are affordable and polished, and — most importantly — can come with you to your next place.

"Window treatments, such as shades and drapes, are little luxuries that make mornings more serene," Wood explained. "Drapes are a great way to add a bit of softness and can easily be taken down and moved to your next place." You can look for sheer drapes, heavier opaque pieces, or layer both for a day-to-night look.


Make the Most of Lighting

"If you're looking for small-space design ideas involving lighting, wall sconces are the way to go," Wood said. "These types of fixtures light up your home without wasting valuable floor space or table surface area, unlike a chunkier table lamp." Additionally, there are tons of cool sconce options that easily plug into a wall outlet, so you don't have to worry about wiring, which Wood noted is a sigh of relief for renters.


Swap Your Hardware

Even the DIY-challenged among us can tackle this project: swapping out the standard-issue knobs on cabinets and drawers with something more your style. Just don't toss the old knobs, Wood reminded us. Keep them in the back of a drawer and swap them back before you move out so you can take your own knobs to your new place!