Apartment Decorating: A How-To Guide For New Renters

Updated January 13, 2022
No Comments

Moving into a new apartment is full of exciting opportunities. You get to check out the fun areas in your new neighborhood, meet new neighbors, and perhaps the most exciting part: decorate.

The way you decorate your new apartment plays a huge factor in making it feel like home. You don’t want to feel like you’re living in an impersonal space where other people have lived before. Instead, you want to feel like your apartment is the best place to return to after a long day.

Relaxed smiling asian woman sitting on sofa after apartment decorating

Since you’ll be renting your apartment, there are certain things you’ll need to check with your landlord before implementing, such as painting or using nails. But your furniture, layout, and color scheme can carry the bulk of the decorating. The following decorating tips and tricks for each room in your apartment are sure to bring your living space to life.

Overall Decoration Ideas

When you first walk into your empty new apartment, it will likely feel a bit impersonal. But not every feature needs to remain untouched. Typically, landlords will allow you to change out decor (like paint colors or hardware) as long as you return it to its original state before you move out.

Lighting Fixtures

You might not be a fan of the generic ceiling lighting fixtures throughout your apartment. Installing a replacement overhead light fixture can completely transform a room. Just be sure to store the original ceiling fixtures in a safe place so that you can switch them back before you move out!

Bigos CTA graphic

It’s also a great idea to aim for two different light sources in each room. You can add dimension by incorporating:

  • Floor lamps
  • Table lamps
  • Wall sconces
  • Under-cabinet battery-powered lights

apartment decorating with two lighting fixtures


Perhaps your apartment is painted yellow, green, or a color you don’t prefer. Or, maybe white walls aren’t your thing, and you want to add some color! Be sure to check with your property manager before you paint the walls or cabinets.

Your property manager may give you permission to paint the walls as long as you return them to their original color when your lease is up. If you’re lucky, they may permit you to paint with no obligation.

However, if there are conditions to painting the walls, be sure to follow through. Otherwise, you may end up with a hefty fine upon move-out.

Young woman painting her wall with roller brush while apartment decorating


Window treatments make for fantastic apartment decorating ideas. Bare windows can make your space feel unfinished. Add dimension to your different rooms by adding complementary curtains and a curtain rod. Even sheer white curtains can make the room feel light and airy.

Decorate the Entryway

The entryway often gets overlooked when it comes to apartment decorating. But why not take full advantage of the first area you and your guests see every time you enter your apartment?

Catch-All Table

When you enter your apartment with grocery bags, mail, packages, or your laptop bag, you immediately want to free up your hands. A narrow table in your entryway can act as a catch-all for coffee travel mugs, mail, keys, and more.

By keeping the table or cabinet small and narrow you avoid making the area feel overcrowded. A table with drawers or shelves is an added bonus.

Shoe Storage

You want to be able to access your shoes in the entryway for times when you’re rushing out the door. It is also ideal to be able to take off your shoes right when you enter your apartment.

Instead of leaving your shoes scattered on the floor, opt for a stylish shoe storage piece. You can usually find benches or storage ottomans that have enough room for multiple pairs of shoes. Consider placing a rug underneath to catch mud or snow.


Wall mirrors make great additions to entryways. As you put on your shoes and coat, you can take one last look in the mirror to make sure everything looks put together before you leave. Additionally, mirrors add dimension to small spaces and make them seem larger. Try a trendy circular shape mirror!

Wall Hooks

If you like to have a place to store your keys, purse, or umbrellas, consider adding wall hooks in your entryway. Hooks will help keep your catch-all table free of too much clutter. If your property manager doesn’t allow you to drill holes in the wall, you can find plenty of stylish adhesive wall hooks at most hardware and department stores.

Make the Living Room Feel Like Home

Most people spend the majority of their time in the living room. Turn your empty living room into a cozy haven with these decorations.

Couch and Chairs

The couch is the main character of the living room. It’s where you will spend time watching movies, chatting with friends, and reading books. Be sure to select a nice-quality sofa that matches the color scheme you’ve chosen.

If you can’t afford a brand new couch, you can shop for one secondhand or utilize online marketplaces to get a good deal. Many people give away nice sofas for free or cheap when they move, and if you’re willing to pick it up and bring it into your apartment, you could snag a great deal.

The same goes for reclining or decorative chairs. If you have the space, consider incorporating a small two-seater couch or individual cushioned chairs.

modern living room couch and chairs apartment decorating ideas

Coffee Table

If you’re someone who likes to rest your feet, eat meals in the living room, or just have a place to set things down, then don’t overlook a coffee table. Even a very simple coffee table can tie a room together.

Another option that accomplishes a similar goal is a storage ottoman. You can store blankets and pillows in an ottoman while utilizing it as a place to put your feet up.


In apartments with hardwood floors, area rugs are essential for the living room. You can find beautiful patterns on 8 x 10 rugs that will complement your color scheme and tie the whole room together. An area rug will make the room feel more warm and cozy.

TV Stand

Televisions are often the focal point of living rooms, as people gather to watch movies, shows, and live events. When you look at the TV, you don’t want to be staring at an unattractive TV stand.

Look for a simple and appealing TV stand to hold any video games, DVDs, and remote controls. Even if you wall-mount your TV, a TV cabinet underneath will complete the design.

Wall Art

No room is complete without wall art, especially the living room. Once you’ve chosen the color scheme for all your furniture, look for wall art that is complementary to your aesthetic.

You can find fantastic art at local art fairs, thrift stores, or through online sellers. Many times, you can purchase and download a piece of artwork online and print it yourself in whatever size you want. This route is great if you want to create a gallery wall.

You can also fill the empty space on your walls with floating shelves. Use these shelves to hold picture frames, books, or decorative objects. Avoid putting nails in the wall with sturdy Command Picture Hanging Strips.

apartment decorating wall art above entryway table

Spruce Up the Kitchen

Since kitchens are so functional, it can be easy to overlook decorating them. However, rental kitchens offer lots of potential.

Table and Chairs

If your kitchen pairs as your dining room, you will need a nice table and chairs set. Depending on how many people live in your apartment, you can opt for two or four chairs. You can also choose between dining-height, bar-height, and counter-height tables.

Storage Carts

Some smaller apartments lack counter and cabinet space in the kitchens. You can achieve extra kitchen counter space with a kitchen storage cart. This handy piece of furniture gives you room to place a microwave on top and store pots, pans, or dishware in the cabinet.

Make the Bedroom Cozy

Last but certainly not least, you can make your bedroom into a restful haven with the right decorations. When it comes to bedroom decorating ideas, simple pieces go a long way.

Bed Frame

While wire bed frames are typically the most affordable, opting for a different type of bed frame can make your bedroom feel stylish and complete. Different types of bed frames include:

  • Platform
  • Loft
  • Canopy
  • Ottoman
  • Mid-century modern

Comforter and Pillows

Your bed’s comforter and pillows set the tone of the entire room. Do you want a sleek, plain white comforter? Or are you more drawn to a colorful pattern? Perhaps you want to incorporate earth tones like terracotta and olive green.

No matter what color scheme or vibe you want in your bedroom, the comforter is a main player in the design. Look for throw pillows with various textures to add dimension.

bedroom with cozy comforter and pillows


If you have enough space, nightstands are great additions to any bedroom. One or two side tables next to your bed adds a cohesive layer. Not to mention, they’re incredibly practical! Store a bedside lamp, your glasses, a good book, and anything else you like to keep within reach.

Closet Organizers or Dressers

If you have a large enough closet, you can utilize closet organizers to keep your space clean and tidy. However, if your closet is on the smaller side, you may need a dresser.

A simple, modern dresser can add a nice focal point to your bedroom beyond its practical nature. You can even try refurbishing an old dresser from a thrift store by painting it and adding new hardware.

Turn an Empty Apartment Into Your Dream Home

We hope you’re able to take these apartment decorating ideas and create a welcoming home that fits your personality. When you first move into an apartment, it can take some time to gather furniture, especially if you’re on the hunt for a good bargain. Don’t give up even when it seems like there is a lot of work to do to complete your vision. It will be worth it in the end!

Are you eager to decorate but haven’t found the perfect apartment yet? Bigos has you covered. Reach out to us today, and we’ll schedule a time for you to tour your future home.

Check out our Properties     
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to toolbar