How to transform your rented apartment and make it more homely

Do you know the feeling when your rented apartment doesn’t feel like home? Perhaps it’s because people don’t think it’s worth the effort to decorate a short-term rented apartment. However, you don’t have to make a great renovation, as there are some simple ideas that will help you turn your apartment into your dream place to live.

What do you want to achieve at the end?

First of all, think about the result. What do you associate with home? What makes you feel comfortable and cosy? Browse the internet to get an idea of your dream apartment; save the pictures you like on Instagram or Pinterest. If you have no clue about matching the colours or introducing details in the interior, this would be the right place to start.

Think about the aspects of your personality that you want to reflect in your apartment. Imagine your friends coming over and understanding that this place is truly yours.

Say no to clutter

Get rid of the things you don’t need and like. I know, it’s difficult to throw away “useful” stuff. But what are the chances that you will really need it? When your old T-shirt has not been worn for a year, you probably won’t wear it ever again.

If you have too much stuff and avoid sorting things out, you may divide them into categories: clothes and shoes first, then household chemicals, and so on. This approach will prevent you from spending too much time at once and feeling overwhelmed by a bunch of junk found in drawers.

Also, once you’ve done the sorting out, try not to accumulate more things again. Consciousness and minimalism are becoming more and more popular, and this is a positive trend that can help you spend less money and free space in your apartment, plus it’s definitely more eco-friendly. Less is more.

Organise your space

kraetuertherapieAvoiding clutter doesn’t mean you have to live with one spoon and sleep without a pillow, so you’re going to have some stuff anyway. Having an organisation system can help you to keep your things in order and clean the apartment easier and faster. Box containers and baskets are suitable for small things such as jewellery or stationery, while jars look so much nicer than cereal boxes or plastic bags in the kitchen. It especially works well with open shelves.

Light up the room!

downloadLighting can change a room a lot. Brighten up the room by adding more light sources where you need them most. It can be a desk lamp or a floor lamp, which can help you to read more often in the evenings and to take better pictures. Good lighting can also create a certain mood. Play with colour temperature: warm lights can make the space cosier, while cold lights create more of a productive work atmosphere. Stillorgan Decor Centre might be the place where you find your perfect lighting, as well as other useful renovation stuff like paint or curtains. Other stores include Hicken Lighting and Bright Lights.

Dress up walls

Changing the walls can change drastically the entire room. You can paint your walls, but you should ask your landlord or landlady about that before you make drastic changes to your rented apartment. Most of them are okay if you paint it back to “rental neutral” at the end. Or, you can use removable paper, which is fast and easy to get rid of.

The problem is, removable wallpaper is not always the cheapest option, and there’s a limited choice in Ireland. It’s best that you order it online, for example, on Etsy.

If you don’t feel like painting or wallpapering, decorate a plain wall simply as hanging a picture, a map or a mirror. Another beautiful idea is to create a collage with the photos of your family and friends, and this project will also remind you that you’re not alone.

Bright and soft textures

vorhangAnother thing that can change the room instantly is textile, though we don’t think about them too often: curtains, blanket, pillowcases, a duvet cover, and so on. Small decorative pillows can improve the look of a boring sofa, and they can also be used as a support for the spine. Choose the textures and colours you like. You can even create a seasonal textile set: light linen or cotton for spring and summer, and heavier and darker fabrics for fall and winter.

Give new life to old furniture

living room 2569325 1280Apart from buying furniture in IKEA, you may want to search for hidden gems in vintage shops or at a flea market. This one is for those who have enough enthusiasm to work a bit on reviving an old piece of furniture. It might be a lot cheaper, though you’re not likely to find anything shiny and polished. Your task will be to give it a new life. While buying, you should rather look for quality wood, good stuffing and no serious cracks. Some cool antiques and decorative furniture can be found in Clifford Antiques & Fireplaces in Dublin City Centre. There’s also a huge second-hand furniture warehouse called the Age Action Showroom in Cherry Orchard (it’s closed now due to the pandemic but may open soon).

Add green to your home

cactus 4205889 1920 1024x674 1There’s no need to persuade anyone that plants purify the air and improve the interior. If you’ve never had a plant before, give it a try: maybe your apartment will turn into an indoor garden. If you’ve already killed a couple of plants (we won’t tell anyone), perhaps you should consider houseplants that are more adaptable and easy to grow, for example, a monstera or a snake plant. By the way, a large houseplant can hide a hole or a tear in wallpaper.

Accessories: finishing touch

download 1 1Now it’s time for details! But be careful: you don’t want to clutter your space, so put only those things that would contribute to the overall mood of the room and the apartment. There isn’t even any need to buy anything fancy. For example, just draw a picture (an abstract one would be okay) and put it in a frame, which you can also thrift and paint with gold. Or use an empty wine bottle as a holder for a taper candle.

Even if your rented apartment is only for a couple of years, don’t think of it as temporary and unworthy of the time and effort; it’s the whole two years of your life! Consider it to be the place where you want to be productive, inspired and happy.

Kamila Mushkina
Kamila Mushkina


  1. thanks for this great article! took note of some useful tips:)

  2. That is great advice. Definitely following idea with art in frames and plants. And they are easy to move, if you are switching places!

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