10 Ways to Decorate Your Rental Space

Rental space with peelable wallpaper designed by Jaclyn Genovese of Spaces by Jacflash

Jaclyn Says…

As the rental market in North America’s urban centres continues to thrive, many of us are looking for quick fixes that don’t put a dent in our wallets… or our landlord’s walls. Just because some of us don’t own our home doesn’t mean we don’t want it to feel like home! Many of us have experienced the misery of living in an out-dated space; while you can’t do any major renovations in a rental, numerous things can be done to make your apartment more enjoyable to live in.

Refinish an old, out-dated ceramic sink

Porcelain sinks last many years, but over time the surface wears and you can be left with a grimy-looking bathroom if not properly cared for. Rather than removing and installing a new sink, refinishing the ceramic is a great way to restore and freshen up your bathroom.

Update old countertops with instant granite countertop film

Transform your countertops or any flat surface into Italian marble with instant granite. This film contains two-millimetre thick Polyvinyl Chloride, and with a powerful adhesive coating it installs to any smooth surface. It is scratch resistant, cleans with any multipurpose cleaner, and doesn’t show fingerprints. It looks just like higher grade marble, and is easily removable with heat once your lease is up.

Apply smart tiles backsplash adhesive

Stained or old-fashioned tiles in the bathroom and/or kitchen are another common element of a rental home. If you are stuck with tired tiles but don’t want to spend the money or effort installing new ones, try adding removable tile decals. Much like wall stickers, these self-adhesive, water-resistant decals are specifically sized and designed to cover bathroom and kitchen tile.

Freshen up grimy grout with a grout colorant

Speaking of restroom restoration, freshening up your tile’s grout can have a major effect on, what should be, your favourite room of the house. Try adding black grout on old, dull tiles for a touch of drama or re-staining your grout in a bright white to make it look clean and renewed.

Faux brick walls in bedroom design by Jaclyn Genovese of Spaces by Jacflash
Faux brick wall | Design by Spaces by Jacflash

Fake a brick wall

Use thin bricks (1/2 inch) to create an old New York City apartment vibe. Another option is to apply brick wallpaper, which is less permanent and lower in cost. Either way, a “brick wall” will add character, style and rawness to your space.

Change your fixtures

Updating your shower head and faucets is a quick and easy way to revamp your bathroom from scummy to swanky. Swapping out cookie-cutter door handles and pulls will add elements of surprise, personality and flare to your rental.

Before and after updating the door handles design by Jaclyn Genovese of Spaces by Jacflash
Before and after updating the hardware | Design by Spaces by Jacflash

Layer area rugs to cover ugly, damaged or dated floors

Cover excessive wear, stains and dents with area rugs. Begin with one large area rug and layer with a smaller rug (or two!) of a different texture and/or shape so the masking of your floor looks deliberate and characterful.

Rugs layered in bedroom design by Jaclyn Genovese of Spaces by Jacflash
Layering rugs | Design by Spaces by Jacflash

Decorate by combining new with old

If you don’t have a considerable budget for furniture, combining used, antique pieces with new, modern ones will achieve an upscale and eclectic look without the exorbitant price tag. With the vastness of the Internet and websites like Letgo, Craigslist, OfferUp and Chairish, there are many avenues to acquire lightly used or antique furniture on a budget.   

I have some sure-fire tips for scoring second-hand furniture online. Search for “marble” pieces to reveal high-end looking gems that add sophistication to any space. Buy side chairs or benches that are easy and inexpensive to re-upholster (i.e. just the seat cushions need to be recovered). Find accessories like lamps, mirrors and light pendants second-hand. Items with a lot of fibres or textiles like rugs, curtains, and throw pillows are best to buy new.

Mixing new and old in living room design by Jaclyn Genovese of Spaces by Jacflash
Mixing new and old | Design by Spaces by Jacflash

Removable wallpaper

When it comes to peel and stick wallpaper, there are endless prints to choose from. Removable wallpaper is easy to install, makes zero mess and can peel off and be taken wherever you end up next!  


Though this is the most obvious one, the easiest way to give your rental home a facelift is with a fresh paint job… if your landlord will allow it!

Final thoughts

Interested in refreshing or creating a space? You know who to call 😉