How To Update Your Rental In 6 Easy Steps

I receive a lot of mails from people who love the inspiration on My Scandinavian Home (thank you!) - but feel it's not always possible to incorporate the ideas into a rental space. I hear you! Having lived in rental apartments myself in the past (including some lovely ones, but also one very run down rental flat in London - where I spent some VERY happy years!) - I understand the limitations first hand. Depending on the landlord - you're pretty stuck with the architectural layout, floor, wall colour etc. But don't feel deterred - there are so many simple, budget friendly, reversible ways to transform even the darkest, dingiest of living spaces into a beautiful haven - no drills in sight! Here are 6 simple updates to get your started:

1. Let there be light! Strategically placed mirrors are ideal for reflecting natural light into dark corners and will make your rental space feel bigger. Avoid drilling into the wall by propping larger mirrors against the wall (a simple DIY stand as seen below might come in handy).

2. Get a handle on it: You might not be able to do anything about the overall colour, but you can add a personal touch to your kitchen, bathroom and other storage by swapping out the handles (try IKEA). Remember to save the original handles so you can swap them back when you move out.

3. Drape love: Not keen on the colour of your walls - or dealing with some very unsightly storage units?! Curtains (like the ones below by Gotain) are a beautiful, budget friendly way to add warmth, texture and personality to your rental while hiding a multitude of sins (including woodchip)! Plus if you have noisy neighbours (or you like to bliss out to your own tunes late at night) they act as a great sound absorber too!

4. Plant life: the 'urban jungle' movement has taken off big time in the past few years with green shoots springing up in homes all over the world! And it's perfect for rental spaces too. Plants add colour, vibrancy and freshness. Think about going big with a tree or creating a plant cluster with a selection of your favourite shrubs. See my ultimate guide to indoor climbers and hanging plants.  

5.  For the love of rugs! The floor can be a bit of a lottery when it comes to rental spaces - and it's unlikely you're going to want to rip up a plastic laminate in favour of a wood floor or wall-to-wall carpet as a gift to your landlord (no matter how tempting!). If you're floor is less than desirable look out for rugs that cover as much as the room as possible, or layer them up to create a pretty, soft mosaic. They'll help your living space feel more cosy, block-out drafts and work as a great sound dampener too. 

6. Going up! Don't under estimate the power of the ceiling! My London rental had a slightly yellow- tinged ceiling thanks to the previous tenants who were smokers and I remember staring up at it at night! If only I had thought about draping a canopy above my bed! Not only do swathes of fabric add that hygge feel but you can also pick out a colour and texture you love for a simple yet impactful update to the room! 

I hope you find some of these ideas helpful! 

Please feel free to weigh in with your own - I'd love to hear your ideas, tips and tricks! 


Thank you to Felicia Alm for all the help putting this post together! 


  1. Thank you for these tips, I have been living in a rental loft for many years and it can be difficult to make updates. Really appreciate this!


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