eco friendly flooring in herringbone pattern with arm chair and credenza

In this post, we look at some of our favorite apartment decor ideas and suggest a few to pass on. 

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Apartment decorating, especially if it’s a temporary situation, can be tricky. It’s your home, so you want it to be a comfortable place where you can relax and recharge. At the same time, if you’re not sure how long you’ll be there, or if you have a landlord with a lot of strict rules, you’ll want to be careful how much time and money you invest. 

We feel strongly that whether you’re renting a space for a for a short or long duration,  you shouldn’t have to sacrifice a feeling of home for the time you are there. The good news is, we’ve found this is entirely possible. The key to loving your home is having a space that feels both personal and comfortable and there are many ways to do this that aren’t permanent or too expensive. In this article, we’ve included some of our favorite apartment decor ideas. We’re sure there are at least a few here that can help you make your rental space feel like a home.

Our Favorite Apartment Decor Ideas

Display artwork that you love!

Having great artwork is an important way to make your rental house feel like a home. If buying artwork can feel a bit daunting, we have some tips. First, avoid the mass-marketed types of posters you remember seeing in the dorm rooms of your youth. And on this dorm room theme, just say no to thumbtacks – buy your poor artwork a proper frame or art hanger.

A great way to avoid anything too cliched is to check out platforms that sell artwork from current artists such as Minted, Etsy, and Society6. You are bound to find something that uniquely speaks to your style and you’ll be supporting a working artist in the process. 

It’s also a fun touch to display artifacts from places you’ve lived or visited. Posters and programs from memorable experiences like art shows, concerts, and sporting events can also make cool wall hangings. (and conversation pieces!)

Regardless of what you choose to hang, to show it in its best light, make sure your artwork is hung at the right height. A good rule of thumb is that the center of the piece should be about 57-60” off the ground.

Frequent thrift shops for apartment decor ideas

Every home has different quirks and details and that perfect thing you bought for your last apartment might not look quite right in your new space. If you move frequently, it can get hard on your wallet to buy new furniture and accessories each time. 

This is where thrift shops are your best friend. Checking in frequently with your local second-hand stores is a great way to find gently used furniture, vases, artwork, mirrors, and all kinds of odds and ends that will bring some character to your apartment decor. And since you haven’t invested too much in these new pieces, you won’t feel terrible passing them along if they don’t work in your next place.

If you’re not near good thrift shops or aren’t into hunting to find your treasure, an online shop might be a better fit for you. Facebook marketplace is a great source of apartment decor ideas and secondhand deals near you. US-based online retailers like Kaiyo and AptDeco can also be a great source to help you find gently preowned items at a discount from their original retail prices.

Paint! Find out if it's off the table

Do you have that unicorn landlord who will let you paint the walls in your rental? If so, take advantage! If you want to minimize your time and financial investment, look for maximum impact by focusing on the areas where you spend the most time and consider whether an accent wall or two might just be enough to bring some life to your space. A final tip, look for no VOC paint from your favorite manufacturer to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.

The wonder of peel and stick wallpaper

If you’re a lover of color and pattern, the blandness of a rental property can be a little depressing. This is where wallpaper comes in for the win. These days, peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great solution for adding personalization to apartment decor. 

We recommend focusing on a smaller space or accent wall to reduce cost and potential future repairs. While peel-in-stick wallpaper is a fantastic product, it’s not guaranteed to come off squeaky clean. Depending on the quality of the paper, how long it’s on, your climate, and how it’s applied you can have mixed results getting it off without some damage to the wall underneath. 

When it’s time to remove peel-and-stick wallpaper, your best bet is to peel it super slowly and consider adding some heat via a hair dryer. With this approach, you’ll hopefully have minimal patching before you move out.

image courtesy of James and Colors

Curtains aren't just for homeowners

There’s nothing that looks less cozy than plastic vertical blinds. And while you probably don’t want to invest in curtains for an entire home you don’t own, strategic investments can go a long way. 

One of the best places to consider is replacing a set of vertical blinds covering a door in a main room. Your options may be determined by whether or not the blinds are hung above or inside the doorframe, but some landlords may be willing to remove the blinds and store them until you move out – it’s worth asking! If removing them is not a possibility and the blinds are mounted inside the door frame, hanging curtains above the frame may mask them and make them less visible. 

Apartment decor ideas for your books

While hardcore bibliophiles may find this apartment decor idea blasphemous, there’s no reason the books on your shelves can’t become part of your apartment decor. Organizing by color can make an otherwise normal shelf of books stand out and look styled and fun. One of the most popular methods is organizing the books by color, to create a cheerful rainbow effect.

Mirrors are always a good apartment decor idea

A strategically placed mirror can be a great way to maximize light and add a feeling of spaciousness to your apartment. While a full wall of mirrors was fairly common in apartments of a certain era, we encourage accent mirrors as a more current approach. Great places for an accent mirror include above a fireplace, near an entryway, or in a grouping of small framed pieces. 

One of our favorite apartment decor ideas: add some greenery

Nothing makes a space feel more cozy than a little something green. If you don’t have a particularly green thumb, don’t worry – there are plenty of plants that are easy to keep alive. A few of our favorites include succulents, snake plants, and spider plants. Just be sure to make sure whatever plant you select is safe if accidentally ingested by any pets or small child in your home.

If you’re still not sure, we encourage you to visit your local garden shop for apartment decor ideas. Local shops can often provide you with individualized advice about what plants will work for your situation. 

Check out our full article for more plant-related apartment decor inspiration!

Add some beautiful color with florals

Image courtesy of Tesh Paper Flowers

There’s just something about having fresh flowers that makes a home feel sunny and inviting. If buying fresh flowers every week isn’t in the budget, there are still lots of great options. such as:

  • Add an orchid to your space. They are stunning and long-lasting – if you take good care of them, they will bloom year after year.
  • Go handmade. This is another one-time investment with a big impact. While having faux greenery can be dicey, we love bringing in something handmade like crepe paper or felt flowers. This protea is from one of our favorite artisans. 
  • Forage. If you have access to a growing area, there can be lots of great options you can forage outdoors. Flowering branches, hydrangeas, and lilacs can all be amazing options. (just don’t snag them from a private yard without permission!)

Accent lighting

 Is there anything worse than overhead lighting? It can be tempting to rely on the lighting fixtures already in your apartment, but investing in an attractive accent and floor lamps can make a space look more put together and create a warm atmosphere. And since accent lamps are in the category of apartment decor that you can take with you, you can reuse them for years to come.


Keep things organized

It’s not as exciting as some of the other recommendations, but reducing clutter will make your apartment decor look sharp. The Marie Kondo method has worked well for many in taming their clutter and helping them enjoy the decor they already have. 

If like many of us, you struggle to keep your clutter to a minimum, explore ways to stylishly organize so that your junk is out of sight. One of our favorite sources of organization inspiration is The Home Edit. They offer great tips for getting just about any space into shape – just flipping through the pages will get you excited to organize.

Look for a statement rug

Rugs are often an afterthought but they shouldn’t be! A rug can serve as the base for your room design, pulling it all together. Rather than being the last thing selected, a rug can be a statement piece that is easy to move from room to room or home to home. 

If you’re struggling to picture how a particular rug will look in your space, creating a mood board can be a great way to get a preview of all of the elements of your room together on a smaller scale. While professionals often use custom software programs, that might be overkill for your needs. Collaging your own photos and/or online images into a blank page in Powerpoint or Canva can quickly help you better visualize how things will look when they’re in your space and give you more apartment decor ideas.

Color: a key element in apartment decorating

The use of color is one of the most significant ways to influence your overall apartment decor. And the great news is that there are many ways to use color as a way to personalize your home regardless of whether you own it or not. 

Add a pop

Adding a pop of color is a smart way to personalize your apartment decor. By incorporating vibrant hues or soothing tones strategically, you can significantly change the way your space feels. Some colorful apartment decor ideas include an accent wall if your lease allows it or through accent pillows, a bold piece of artwork, or a beautiful rug. 

Pick your palette

Image courtesy of EDeisgn by Nish

Regardless of if it’s a rented or owned space, having a cohesive color scheme always makes a home look more pulled together. Narrowing in on colors that work well together in apartment decor doesn’t have to be hard. Online sites like Pinterest and Houzz can help you zero in on the colors that feel right to you. 

There are also interior designers who will share colors they’ve paired along with the names and numbers so you can order them from your local paint supplier. Designers like EDsign by Nish make it easy to flip through their pre-matched colors and see what feels right to you. 

Embrace neutrals in your apartment decor

If you’re not ready to commit to a set of colors in your apartment decor, or simply prefer a more versatile aesthetic, neutrals can be your friend! The important thing is to use neutrals thoughtfully so that the final design still has visual interest. A few key ways to make sure your neutral room isn’t boring include:

Pay attention to texture. By varying the textures in your apartment decor, you’ll create subtle depth and keep things interesting. The great news is that natural, eco-friendly materials like jute, hemp, rattan, bamboo and many more can be perfect choices in a neutral design.

Embrace pattern play. Choosing neutral colors doesn’t necessarily mean pattern is off the table. Curtains, throw pillows, and rugs can all incorporate neutral patterns that will help bring your space to life.

Make a statement: Include statement furniture and accessories in your apartment decor that catch the eye. This could be a unique lighting fixture, an intricately designed mirror, or a bold piece of artwork. These elements can become conversation starters and add personality to your space.

Consider your entryway

A welcoming entryway can set the tone for guests in your home. Resist the urge to let your entryway become an overrun catchall for umbrellas, bags, and shoes and instead make sure that the design of this space is as thoughtful as the rest of your home. This is a great place to bring in a personal touch or some seasonal decor.

If your entryway is like many and also needs to serve as a functional storage space, there’s no reason it still can’t be welcoming and attractive. The clever use of a bench with built-in storage, an unobtrusive shoe organizer, or an accent table with drawers can all be solutions for storage that still look polished

Accommodating pets in your apartment decor

If you have pets, finding a way to camouflage their accessories in your rental space is key. A wall hook for leashes and collars and stylish baskets and bins for toys is a great start. 

When it comes to your feline family members, we urge you to resist the temptation to make a boxy cat tower a central focal point in your home. There are so many subtle and stylish options that can make you and your cat happy. A few of our favorites include:



Selecting some multitasking decor can make a huge difference.

If you have a smaller space, making sure everything in it is as functional as possible is key. A few of our favorite hardworking apartment decor ideas include:

Storage ottoman

Image courtesy of Wholestory Co

A storage ottoman can help you keep all kinds of clutter out of sight. From toys to throw blankets, a tasteful storage ottoman can be a lifesaver in a busy living room. 

Decorative baskets

 Decorative baskets can be an attractive solution for so many situations. From extra toilet paper storage in a powder room to a place to stow throw blankets, baskets can be both practical and decorative.

Vintage chest

 A vintage chest or trunk can double as a coffee table, bench, or window seat. As a bonus, an antique chest can be a great way to bring a little character into your apartment decor.

Removable decals are quick, easy, and removable!

Removable decals can be a great baby step in your apartment decor if you’re not quite ready to jump into the world of peel and stick wallpaper. While they are a particular favorite of ours as a way to add some fun to a child’s room, there are many options for more grown-up spaces, too. 

We particularly love Ash & Olive Co because of the eco-friendliness of their products. Their products are GREENGUARD certified, made from recycled products, and are reusable!

When using decals in general, we recommend you do a test spot on your wall before fully committing, to make sure they are compatible with your particular wall type. Keep in mind that if left up for multiple years, they may require a little extra coaxing to get off the wall without taking paint off paint, too. We’ve found using a hairdryer to heat up the adhesive before pulling the decal off to be a successful way to remove them without leaving a mark.

When you can, opt for real furniture.

Especially if you’re not in your forever home, it’s tempting to buy cheap, flat packed furniture, but we urge you to reconsider. There are so many great deals to be found at thrift shops and places like Facebook Marketplace, there’s no need to resort to fast furniture. Plus, you can often find higher quality, secondhand pieces that will make your place feel more like a home.

For more ideas on buying secondhand furniture, check out our full article!

Interesting accessories can high showcase your personality.

Finding treasures that speak to your personality and interests is a universal way to make any space more personal. Some of our favorite places to find interesting objects are thrift and antique stores. Great potential finds include vintage typewriters and cameras, colorful planters, vintage art, and unique toys and collectibles.

Look at your keepsakes for apartment decor ideas.  The whole point of decorating your space is to make it someplace that reflects your life, style, and values. In light of this, it’s only natural to incorporate personal items such as family photographs, heirlooms, or souvenirs from travels. These items add character and warmth to the space and will make it a place that is uniquely special to you.

Apartment decor ideas we recommend against

Extensive shelving​

Built-ins are gorgeous, but not great for an apartment unless they were already there when you moved in. Creating custom built-ins is almost always a big project that require an investment of time, materials, and potentially someone else’s labor. Think twice before embarking on a shelving project in your apartment decor and see if there might not be another solution for your needs.

Wall murals and stenciling

 We love a good wall mural or stenciling project. Unless you know you’re going to be in your space for a good chunk of time and have the permission of your landlord, these are two projects we’d suggest postponing in your apartment decor. Both types of art can be stunning in the right situation but can also be a major investment of time and money. If you’re going to do such a resource-intensive project, you’ll want to be sure that it is something you’ll get to enjoy to the fullest.

Fast furniture

You may be wondering, what is fast furniture exactly? Fast furniture refers to inexpensive furniture that is mass-produced quickly to meet demand for trendy designs at low prices. 

Fast furniture often sacrifices quality and durability for cost and speed of production. Since it’s low quality, it may not last long and can quickly end up in a landfill – a bad deal for you and for the planet. There are many better options for finding apartment furniture, that urge you to consider.

Wrapping up our apartment decor ideas

In conclusion, transforming your apartment into a space that reflects your personality and style doesn't have to break the bank. By incorporating elements such as quality furniture pieces, creative storage solutions, personalized artwork, and greenery, you can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere that feels like home. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, any apartment can be a stylish and functional oasis that you'll love coming home to every day. Happy decorating!

FAQs on Apartment Decor Ideas

How to decorate an apartment on a budget?

How to decorate an apartment on a budget?

The great news is that it might not be as hard as you think to come up with apartment decor ideas on a budget. And, even better, some of the most wallet-friendly apartment decorating ideas are also eco-friendly, as well. These include:

  • Looking for second-hand furniture from thrift shops, online marketplaces, or from friends and family. Browsing through vintage shops and online sites can be a great place to get apartment decor ideas.
  • Keeping your space clutter-free is a great way to make it look more put together and it requires actually buying less stuff!
  • Flower power – Adding some colorful florals to your space. For long-lasting impact, look for potted flowers like violets or orchids. 

What are some apartment decor ideas for men?

There’s no reason that decor has to be gendered. That said, if you’re looking for apartment decor ideas that are of a more traditionally masculine style, we’ve got plenty. Some include:

  • Look for vintage industrial accents – There’s something a little bit more rugged about an industrial decorating style that gives off a more masculine energy. Some places to start include using reclaimed wood, metal accents, and repurposed furniture like steel lockers and coffee carts. For more information on this style, visit our article on interior design styles!
  • Show off your hobbies – If you're not totally comfortable in the realm of decorating, think of it more as an opportunity to showcase the things that are important to you. This could be a photograph you took, a souvenir from a special trip, or memorabilia from a favorite sport or team.
  • Don’t be afraid of some plant life – Plants are always appropriate! You can't go wrong with a Fiddle Leaf Fig or Snake Plant. 

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