10 DIY Ideas To Add Personality To Your Apartment or Rental

About 30% of Iowa housing units are renter-occupied. If you’re one of those renters, you’re probably looking for easy and inexpensive ways to decorate your apartment or rental home—without violating the terms of the lease. Below, you’ll find 10 ways to bring more color, warmth, and personality in your space. All of our tips are beginner level and intended to be easy on your wallet as well as your free time.

Before you begin…

The amount of freedom you can take with decorating a rental department depends on the terms of your lease, as well as your relationship with your landlord or management company. Some may not mind if you paint or add shelves to the wall, for example, as long as you return the space to its original condition before you leave. Others may not want you to change anything. So read your lease carefully and talk to your landlord if you have questions.


Decorating with plants

Houseplants have become a big decorating trend in recent years, with stores popping up exclusively devoted to selling plants and accessories, along with offering educational workshops and advice. For example, Art Terrarium is known as “Des Moines’ Houseplant Store.” Adding plants to your space is an instant and relatively inexpensive way to add warmth and a connection to nature to your space. They can also provide the enjoyment of taking care of something with a lot less maintenance than a pet would demand.


In addition to houseplants, consider an herb garden for your kitchen windowsill or outdoor space if you have one. Of course, any plants you keep outside in spring and summer will need to be brought inside before the first frost if you want to keep them alive. Not sure where to start? Succulents are generally pretty easy to care for if you’re a beginner. Also check out this list of “7 Plants That Look Great in Any Home” for additional ideas.
Houseplants are an easy way to decorate


Large rugs

Small “area rugs” are out. Regardless the size of your living room, a rug that covers most of the floor space will enlarge even the tiniest of rooms. A large rug will also help cover up any ugly flooring (hard or carpeted) that came with your apartment.


Floor-to-ceiling curtains

A large rug isn’t the only way to enlarge a space. Hanging your curtain rods as high as possible will make your ceilings look higher, which also makes the room itself seem bigger. Just make sure you buy long-enough curtains to reach the ground—anything shorter than that may seem sloppy.


Give old furniture a face-lift

Whether your apartment is furnished with hand-me-downs from family members and/or thrift-store finds, chances are you have more than one scratched or dated-looking item. Simple DIY fixes include painting, adding new hardware, and/or a fresh coat of wood stain. 


Create an accent wall

Add a pop of color to a room with an accent wall. You can use removable wallpaper or even paint if you get permission from the landlord first.


Gallery wall without holes

Look for “no damage wall hangers” to create the gallery wall of your dreams without leaving a bunch of holes you’ll have to spackle and paint over when you move out.
Removable wallpaper is a renter's best friend


Play with textures

Layer colorful rugs over larger jute rugs, add velvet or faux fur throw pillows, blankets, etc., to add texture and color to any space. You can even switch these items out with each season to refresh your space.


Tile stickers

Dealing with outdated bath or kitchen tile and countertops? Tile stickers can add a modern flourish to older square tile. “Instant granite” stickers can also modernize countertops in the kitchen or bathroom.


Fancy light switch covers

Add a little flourish to each room by simply unscrewing the standard-issue light switch and replacing it with a prettier one. You can also use washi tape to add color and creativity to your existing plain white light switches.


Decorate behind your kitchen sink

If you don’t have a dishwasher, you’re going to spend time each day at the kitchen sink. Don’t have a window to look out of? You can still make the space cute and inspiring by adding a framed art print or poster, photo canvas, wall planters with air plants in them, or a cool mirror, especially one that looks like a windowpane!


Protect your stuff with renters insurance!

Once you take the time to decorate your space, the last thing you want is to lose anything to theft or damage. Renters insurance* protects you, your family and friends, and your personal possessions from risk. And the best part of all is that coverage doesn’t have to be expensive. To learn more, call us at (866) 907-4242 or request a quote online. And if/when you’re ready to buy your own place, our friendly mortgage lenders will be happy to help!
Let LSB insurance help you find the right coverage


Lincoln Savings Bank
Equal Housing Lender


*Insurance products are Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency.